Judiciary Dems want Sessions to testify on Russia conversations

A pair of Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee are pushing for Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsWyden presses FBI for information on inflated encryption figures ‘Whatever’ isn’t an option for immigrant children Comey blasts Trump's FBI claims: 'How will Republicans explain this to their grandchildren?' MORE to come back before the panel to discuss his meetings with a Russian official.

Sen. Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinHouse easily passes prison reform bill backed by Trump This week: House GOP regroups after farm bill failure Overnight Health Care — Sponsored by PCMA — Trump hits federally funded clinics with new abortion restrictions MORE (Ill.), the No. 2 Senate Democrat, and Sen. Richard Blumenthal (Conn.) said separately on Thursday that they believe the former Alabama senator should appear to explain his previous comments.

"Attorney General Jeff Sessions ... has to be brought back to the Judiciary committee to answer the questions that he cut off," Blumenthal told MSNBC.

Sessions announced during a press conference on Thursday that he would recuse himself from any investigations related to Russia's connection to Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpDems seek to chip away at Trump’s economic record Trump to sign directive to reform commercial space regulations Trump on collision course with Congress on ZTE MORE's presidential campaign.

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He also noted that he would be sending a letter to the Judiciary Committee to "explain this comment for the record."

But Blumenthal argued that a written letter isn't sufficient because "it is not under oath. It is not subject to questioning."

"[And] If it not a credible explanation, he will have to resign," Blumenthal said.

The Washington Post reported Wednesday evening that Sessions spoke to Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak during the presidential campaign, then denied having contact with Russian officials under oath during his confirmation hearing.

Durbin added on Thursday that Sessions's decision to recuse himself is "essential" but that he also believed Sessions needed to testify under oath about the matter.

Asked if he's spoken with Sen. Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinFormer US attorneys urge support for Trump nominee The Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by PhRMA — Republicans see some daylight in midterm polling Senate panel clears bill to bolster probes of foreign investment deals MORE (Calif.), the top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, Durbin added: "We've made a number of requests. I'll talk to her about how to formalize that, if necessary."

Democrats, in the minority on both the committee and in the Senate, hold limited sway to get Sessions to reappear or force an independent commission to look into any talks between the Trump campaign and Russia.

Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyFormer US attorneys urge support for Trump nominee Dem leaders request bipartisan meeting on Russia probe Overnight Health Care — Sponsored by PCMA — House passes 'right to try' drug bill | Trump moves to restrict abortion referrals MORE called Grassley's decision to recuse himself the "right thing" and dismissed talks amongst some Democrats for Sessions to resign as "nonsense."

The Iowa Republican added he was glad Sessions was sending the committee a letter but didn't signal that he would recall the former GOP senator to testify.

"I appreciate that he will be sending a letter to the committee, as I asked him to do, to clear up any confusion regarding his testimony so we can put this issue to bed once and for all," Grassley said.