Jeff Sessions Faces Congress Amid New Russia Probe Details

President Donald Trump himself has repeatedly used social media to urge the Justice Department to investigate the deal, including in a series of Twitter posts this month in which he lamented not having more direct influence over the affairs of the law enforcement agency.

Sessions also said on Tuesday he did not challenge a statement by another campaign foreign policy adviser, Carter Page, that he told Sessions in a brief encounter that he was about to leave for Moscow.

Papadopoulos, who pled guilty to lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation about his contacts with Russia, told the Trump campaign meeting that he had connections with Moscow and could help arrange a meeting between Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin, according to court documents.

"I do now recall the March 2016 meeting at Trump Hotel that Mr. Papadopoulos attended, but I have no clear recollection of the details of what he said at that meeting", Sessions said.

"I believe that I wanted to make clear that he wasn't authorized to represent the campaign with the Russian government, or any other foreign government, for that matter", he testified.

Sessions responded to these revelations by insisting that he'd met with Ambassador Sergey Kislyak in his capacity as USA senator (not as a Trump surrogate), and that they did not discuss the 2016 election.

Sessions faced tough questioning from committee Democrats on Tuesday.

"I would say it is improper to influence - ah - it would be - a president can not improperly influence and investigation, and I have not been improperly influenced and would not be improperly influenced", Sessions continued.

"I hope the attorney general can provide some clarification on this problem in his remarks today", Conyers said. On Monday, Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd responded to a request by House Judiciary Republicans for a new special counsel in a letter that said senior Justice Department prosecutors would evaluate the matter.

The letter to House Judiciary Committee Chair Bob Goodlatte - a response to two earlier letters from August and September - noted that the prosecutors will "report directly to the Attorney General and the Deputy Attorney General, as appropriate" with recommendations as to whether investigations "should be opened", "require further resources", or "merit the appointment of a Special Counsel".

"You clearly understand that the department you lead must have the confidence of the American people, even when your decisions are not always well received", Goodlatte said.

Under pressure, Sessions recused himself from the Russian Federation investigation.

After the hearing, news reports emerged showing that Sessions had himself met with Russian ambassador Sergei Kislyak at least twice in 2016.

Sessions testified at the Senate Judiciary Committee last month, and testified that he had no knowledge of any contacts between the Trump campaign and Russian Federation.

Sessions testified that he now remembers the meeting Papadopoulos, but his memory about conversations is limited.

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