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US Attorney-General next to be scrutinised

Sessions to address Senate Intelligence Committee tomorrow

WASHINGTON Mr Jeff Sessions, a long-time senator until US President Donald Trump picked him as Attorney-General, is headed to Congress this week to face a grilling about his Russian interactions.

Mr Sessions, who was one of the earliest high-profile backers of Mr Trump's campaign, appears before his former colleagues tomorrow, days after an explosive testimony by ousted Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) director James Comey that raised concerns about whether Mr Sessions helped subvert the ongoing Russia investigations.

"This is going to prompt a lot of questions for him," the panel's top Democrat, Senator Patrick Leahy, told AFP, particularly on what role Mr Sessions played in Mr Comey's firing last month.

The Senate Appropriations Committee had called in Mr Session to testify about budget issues. But on Saturday, after senators made clear they would zero in on his connections to Russia, Mr Sessions shifted his plan, opting to address the Senate Intelligence Committee.

"In light of reports regarding Mr Comey's recent testimony... it is important that I have an opportunity to address these matters," Mr Sessions said.

With reports circulating that the President had been clashing with Mr Sessions, who had apparently offered to resign, the White House declined last week to say if Mr Trump maintains confidence in Mr Sessions.

BOMBSHELL

In a stunning and intriguing moment, Mr Comey dropped a bombshell about why he and other top FBI officials concluded that Mr Sessions was going to recuse himself from the probe even before he finally did so.

"We also were aware of facts that I cannot discuss in an open setting that would make his continued engagement in a Russia-related investigation problematic," Mr Comey said.

During Mr Sessions' January confirmation hearing, he failed to disclose the two meetings he held with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak during the campaign.

The following day, Mr Sessions recused himself from the Russia probe. Several top Democrats demanded he resign, but Mr Sessions refused.

With Mr Sessions already under fire for failing to disclose the two meetings, CNN reported last week that investigators are looking into a possible third meeting with Mr Kislyak.

Despite his recusal, Mr Sessions signed a letter last month recommending Mr Trump remove Mr Comey, who was overseeing the probe into Russian election meddling and the possible Russia-Trump nexus.

Lawmakers and critics have expressed concern about any possible role by Mr Sessions in either sacking Mr Comey or in subverting the ongoing investigation by the FBI.

"There remain a number of questions about his own interactions with the Russians," Republican Senator Susan Collins told CNN. - AFP

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