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 SessionsOvernight Health Care: Supreme Court nomination reignites abortion fight in states | Trump urges Sessions to sue opioid makers | FDA approves first generic version of EpiPen Connect Beltway to America to get federal criminal justice reform done Dems urge tech companies to remove 3D-gun blueprints MORE to come back before the panel to discuss his meetings with a Russian official.

Sen. Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinGOP leader criticizes Republican senators for not showing up to work Dems seize on Kavanaugh emails to question role in terrorism response Trump gives thumbs up to prison sentencing reform bill at pivotal meeting 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 TrumpNFL players stand in tunnel during anthem, extending protests 12 former top intel officials blast Trump's move to revoke Brennan's security clearance NYT: Omarosa believed to have as many as 200 tapes 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 FeinsteinDems urge tech companies to remove 3D-gun blueprints Progressives fume as Dems meet with Brett Kavanaugh GOP lawmaker calls on FBI to provide more info on former Feinstein staffer 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 GrassleyConnect Beltway to America to get federal criminal justice reform done Schumer to meet with Kavanaugh on Tuesday Dems threaten to sue for Kavanaugh records 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.