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 SessionsGraham backs bill to protect Mueller Democrats in murky legal water with Whitaker lawsuits Whitaker’s past business dealings under scrutiny MORE to come back before the panel to discuss his meetings with a Russian official.

Sen. Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinSenate GOP readies for leadership reshuffle Durbin: Republicans are making it 'as hard as possible' to vote GOP Rep. Rodney Davis wins reelection in Illinois 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 TrumpDeath toll in Northern California wildfire rises to 48: authorities Graham backs bill to protect Mueller Denham loses GOP seat in California MORE's presidential campaign.

ADVERTISEMENT

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 FeinsteinDemocrats in murky legal water with Whitaker lawsuits Pavlich: Where is Brett Kavanaugh’s apology? Feinstein requests Senate hearings with Whitaker, Sessions 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 GrassleyPavlich: Where is Brett Kavanaugh’s apology? Grassley defends acting AG against calls for recusal Feinstein requests Senate hearings with Whitaker, Sessions 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.