By Debbie Lord, Cox Media Group National Content Desk
June 12, 2017
U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions will appear Tuesday at a public hearing before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence to testify in the investigation into Russian tampering in the 2016 presidential election.
"The Attorney General has requested that this hearing be public," Justice Department spokesman Sarah Isgur Flores said. "He believes it is important for the American people to hear the truth directly from him and looks forward to answering the committee's questions tomorrow."
Sessions’ hearing comes less than a week after fired FBI Director James Comey testified before the same committee.
Sessions had been scheduled to appear Tuesday before the Senate Appropriations Committee to review funding for the Justice Department, which he heads. Over the weekend, Sessions requested that he be allowed to appear before the Intelligence Committee instead. It wasn't until mid-morning Monday that it was announced that the hearing would be public.
"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 in the appropriate forum," wrote Sessions. "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."
On Wednesday, Comey released his planned opening statement to the committee which included his request of Sessions that the attorney general "prevent any future direct communication" between himself and Trump. The request came, according to Comey, after a Feb. 14 Oval Office meeting in which Comey alleges the president asked everyone, including Sessions to leave the room.
Once they had left, Comey said, Trump said he hoped that Comey could see his way to “letting go” of the investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn’s ties with the Russian government. Trump has denied that he said that.
People familiar with Comey’s testimony in a second, closed hearing on Thursday, said the former director told the intelligence committee that Sessions may have had a third, undisclosed interaction with Russia's ambassador to the United States, Sergey Kislyak.
Sessions recused himself on March 2 from the Justice Department's probe into interference by the Russians in the election. Flynn was fired by Trump on February 13. Comey was fired by Trump on May 9.
Here’s how you can watch the coverage of the hearing.
What time: The hearing begins at 2:30 p.m. ET.
What channel: CSPAN, CNN, MSNBC and Fox News will be broadcasting the hearing live. Check back here for updates about which networks will be carrying the testimony live.
Will it be live streamed: CSPAN will live stream the testimony at C-Span.org.
Who is on the Senate Intelligence Committee:
Republicans Richard Burr, North Carolina (Committee chairman) James Risch, Idaho Marco Rubio, Florida Susan Collins, Maine Roy Blunt, Missouri James Lankford, Oklahoma Tom Cotton, Arkansas John Cornyn, Texas
Democrats Mark Warner, Virginia (ranking member) Dianne Feinstein, California Ron Wyden, Oregon Martin Heinrich, New Mexico Angus King, Maine Joe Manchin, West Virginia Kamala Harris, California
What to expect: Sessions will be asked about his ties to Kislyak. He met with Kislyak twice while he was a U.S. senator. According to sources, Comey said he met with Kislyak a third time. He will also likely be asked if he knows of any ties between anyone in Trump's campaign who may have coordinated with the Russians, and if there is any suggestion of obstruction of justice by the president following the firing of national security adviser Michael Flynn.