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Sessions next to testify

WASHINGTON – US Attorney General Jeff Sessions will testify tomorrow before the Senate Intelligence Committee where he will face questions over his meetings with Russian officials during last year’s presidential election campaign.

SESSIONS (AP)

SESSIONS (AP)

Sessions, a longtime senator before being tapped by US President Donald Trump as the nation’s top law officer, announced the decision in a letter Saturday in which he referred to remarks made by fired Federal Bureau of Investigation Director James Comey in the same forum.

‘‘In light of reports regarding Mr. Comey’s recent testimony before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, it is important that I have an opportunity to address these matters,’’ the letter stated.

‘‘The Senate Intelligence Committee is the most appropriate forum for such matters, as it has been conducting an investigation and has access to relevant, classified information,’’ Sessions added.

Sessions had been due to appear before the Senate Appropriations Committee tomorrow about the Justice Department’s budget for 2018, but said the switch of hearing was necessary as it had become clear he would be questioned about Russia.

‘‘Some members have publicly stated their intention to focus their questions on issues related to the investigation into Russian interference into Russian interference in the 2016 election,’’ his letter said.

Comey delivered a scathing testimony Thursday at the highly anticipated Senate hearing, saying Trump sought to derail a probe into onetime national security advisor Michael Flynn.

Comey branded the President a liar and said he believed he was fired over his handling of the FBI probe into Russian election meddling, allegations that Trump denied on Friday.

Sessions, among the earliest high-profile backers of Trump’s election campaign, failed to disclose meetings with Russian officials during his January confirmation hearing.

On March 1, The Washington Post reported that he met twice with the Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak during the campaign.

The following day, Sessions recused himself from the Russia probe.

Comey – who Trump sacked as FBI chief last month – told the Senate panel he had thought Sessions would recuse himself from the Russia probe earlier than he did, for undisclosed reasons that are classified.

Pressed on the Attorney General’s ‘‘interactions with the Russians or his behavior with regard to the investigation,’’ Comey said Sessions ‘‘was very close to and inevitably going to recuse himself for a variety of reasons.’’

‘‘We also were aware of facts that I can’t discuss in an open setting that would make his continued engagement in a Russia-related investigation problematic,’’ Comey said. (AFP)

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