Senate Dem: Comey model a ‘good first step’ for Sessions testimony

Sen. Christopher CoonsChris Andrew CoonsThe Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - Biden's public moment of frustration Russia announces military exercises amid standoff with US, NATO over Ukraine Democrats say change to filibuster just a matter of time MORE (D-Del.) Monday said he thinks following the model of former FBI Director James Comey's testimony last week would be a "good first step" for Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsPress: For Trump endorsement: The more sordid, the better Those predicting Facebook's demise are blowing smoke If bitcoin is 'digital gold,' it should be taxed like gold MORE.

Coons was asked during an interview on CNN's "New Day" why Sessions wouldn't just "follow the James Comey model" and go before the Senate Intelligence Committee this week in both an open and closed hearing.

"That's a good first step," Coons said.

ADVERTISEMENT

"That is a good way for the same senators who ask questions of former FBI Director Comey to be able to ask follow-up questions of Attorney General Sessions."

But he added that the Judiciary Committee has the "oversight responsibility for the Department of Justice."

"It is the Judiciary Committee that has more former prosecutors and more lawyers on it, more folks familiar with what happens in the Justice Department than any other committee in the Senate," Coons, a member of the Judiciary panel, said.

Sessions is expected to testify this week before the Senate Intelligence Committee, but the committee has not yet said whether the hearing will be open or closed.

Sessions was originally supposed to testify in front of House and Senate Appropriations subcommittees this week, but said in a statement he will send a deputy to that hearing instead.

Coons said on Monday he thinks Sessions may be "trying to have his testimony be shielded from the American people."

"And I don't think that's appropriate," he said.

"I don't think that on an issue as important as whether or not the attorney general is acting outside the scope of his recusal, whether he misled our committee, the Judiciary Committee, about a third meeting with the Russian ambassador, that shouldn't be held in secret."