Attorney general Jeff Sessions’ testimony has concluded. Here’s what we learned:
- Sessions vehemently denied any collusion with Russian entities in disrupting the American election. He said the accusations were scurrilous “appalling” and amounted to a “detestable lie.”
- Sessions repeatedly said he could not reveal whether he spoke with Donald Trump about the Russia inquiry. The two did discuss the firing of Comey, however, which Trump has said came about because of Trump’s displeasure at the handling of the Russia inquiry.
- Sessions said he was right to sign a letter recommending the firing of James Comey despite his recusal from the Russia inquiry. Sessions characterized the Russian inquiry as one of thousands of investigations that an attorney general might step away from while still maintaining a leadership role in major business.
- Sessions testified that he believed even before he was confirmed that Comey needed to be fired. Sessions spoke at the time with current deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein about it.
- Sessions stopped short of backing Comey in Comey’s description of a strange Oval Office scene in which Comey said Trump asked Sessions and others to leave the room before discussing Michael Flynn with Comey. Sessions said people “filtered out” but he would not say whether Trump ordered him to leave.
- While Sessions said it was entirely appropriate for a president to have a direct conversation with an FBI director, he suggested it was inappropriate for Comey to update Trump on the Russia inquiry without running it by his superiors.