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Sessions denies being influenced by Trump to investigate Hillary Clinton

Sessions denies being influenced by Trump to investigate Hillary Clinton

"And why did the Justice Department put a gag order on the informant?" Yet he recused himself in March from overseeing the Justice Department's investigation into potential coordination between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin after acknowledging two previously undisclosed encounters with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak.

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions acknowledged on Tuesday he was aware of contact between Donald Trump's election campaign and Russian intermediaries, again modifying a previous statement about the extent of connections to Moscow.

Sessions has previously told Congress he was unaware of any Trump campaign contacts with Russian Federation, leading Democrats on Tuesday to accuse him of lying under oath.

It was not the first time that Sessions, who was a senior Trump campaign aide and Republican senator, has revised his comments about contact between the campaign and Russian Federation.

"Virtually every Clinton-related matter that President Trump complains about has been well-litigated, carefully examined and completely debunked", Conyers said. "I can not overemphasize the danger this perspective poses to this republic".

The US Attorney General has asked senior staff to recommend whether to appoint a special counsel to look into Clinton Foundation dealings and an Obama-era uranium deal. "Each of those are pretty special, factual situations", Sessions said, "and we will use the proper standards".

"A President can not improperly influence an investigation", Sessions said. Having Trump's own deputies at the DOJ handle it means that any adverse finding about Hillary will be dismissed by the left as Trump running a banana-republic Justice Department that's carrying out his political vendettas. "And that would be wrong", he told lawmakers today. "And I have not been improperly influenced and would not be improperly influenced".

But it's hard to avoid the perception of presidential influence.

The panel's investigation into Russian meddling has been stalled for weeks amid disputes between Republicans and Democrats.

On Nov. 3, after Sen.

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Sessions faced tough questioning from committee Democrats on Tuesday.

That prompted an angry backlash from Sessions.

"I'm really not involved with the Justice Department". "But, honestly, they should be looking at the Democrats".

Sessions answered by trying to give context: "When I became United States Attorney in 1981, and drugs were being used widely, over a period of years, it became unfashionable, unpopular, and... it was seen as such that good people didn't use marijuana".

The president may be a little less disappointed now.

The deal, approved under the Obama administration, gave Russian Federation control of some 20 percent of US uranium extraction capability.

The Justice Department informed members of the House Judiciary Committee on Monday that it has directed senior federal prosecutors to evaluate "certain issues" surrounding the Uranium One deal, the Clinton Foundation and other matters. So it's possible Sessions' recusal from the topic will stand.

But the court documents, and Papadopoulos' guilty plea for lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation over his contacts with Russian officials, put new focus on Sessions' earlier testimony.

"Whataboutism" is now dangerously close to becoming U.S. Justice Department policy.