Durbin on Sessions testimony: Hard to see how he could continue to serve

Durbin on Sessions testimony: Hard to see how he could continue to serve
© Greg Nash

Sen. Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinGOP's Kennedy sends warning shot to Trump nominee Menashi Senate Democrats block government spending bill Kavanaugh impeachment push hits Capitol buzz saw MORE (D-Ill.), the No. 2 Democrat in the Senate, cast doubt on Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsPelosi: Lewandowski should have been held in contempt 'right then and there' Democrats bicker over strategy on impeachment McCabe says he would 'absolutely not' cut a deal with prosecutors MORE future at the Justice Department on Tuesday, after the top law enforcement official repeatedly declined to answer lawmakers' questions during a congressional hearing.

"In his first few weeks in office as the nation's highest-ranking legal authority, Attorney General Sessions has recused himself from the investigation of Russian interference in our election, recommended the dismissal of the Director of the FBI, reportedly offered his resignation to the President, and refused to answer questions from the Senate Intelligence Committee," Durbin said in a statement. "It is hard to see how he can continue to serve."

In a hearing before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday, Sessions forcefully denied that he had any involvement with or knowledge of alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia in the 2016 election.

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But the attorney general also refused to answer senators' questions about his conversations with President Trump, including whether he spoke with the president about the FBI's ongoing investigation into Russian efforts to meddle in the election and possible coordination between the Trump campaign and Moscow.

The hearing, at times, grew tense, as Democrats hammered Sessions over his refusal to talk about his interactions and communications with Trump. 

The attorney general came under fire in February amid revelations that he had met twice with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak during Trump's 2016 campaign when Sessions was a high-profile surrogate for the real estate mogul.

He recused himself from the Justice Department's Russia probe in March. But the parameters of his recusal reemerged as an issue of controversy last month after Trump abruptly fired Comey, citing the recommendations of Sessions and his deputy Rod Rosenstein.

Sessions also faced repeated questioning on Tuesday about whether he met with Kislyak a third time last year at a Washington, D.C. hotel during Trump's first foreign policy speech.

"I do not have any recollection of meeting or talking to the Russian ambassador or any other Russian official," Sessions said. "If any brief interaction occurred in passing with Russian ambassador, I do not remember."