Jeff Sessions testifies: What to expect from Tuesday's Senate Intelligence Committee hearing

Is it too cynical to suggest that Attorney General Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III must have decided on a plausible set of lies, evasions, and half-truths about Donald Trump and Russian Federation and obstruction of justice and his own contacts with Russian Federation?

United States Attorney General Jeff Sessions, a central figure in the investigation into connections between the Donald Trump presidential campaign and Russian Federation, will tell his side of the story in open, public testimony to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence this week - and even though the U.S. Justice Department claims that Sessions himself requested that his testimony be public rather than behind close doors like many Intelligence Committee hearings, according to a report on Monday, Sessions may remain tight-lipped anyway.

Sessions later amended his statement to say he did meet with Kislyak "a couple" of times, and in tomorrow's testimony he is expected to say that he mistakenly didn't think of those meetings when he first answered the question posed to him before the Senate.

To return to my opening question with another rhetorical question, is it even possible to be too cynical about anything in Donald Trump's orbit?

Senate Democrats have raised the possibility that Sessions and Kislyak could have met there, though Justice Department officials say there were no private encounters or side meetings.

Of special interest will be Comey's assertion that he told Sessions after the meeting that he never again wanted to be left alone with the president. The Justice Department has denied that, saying Sessions stressed to Comey the need to be careful about following appropriate policies.

Diane Marie Amann, a law professor at University of Georgia, agreed with Spicer that invoking privilege was possible: "It depends on the questions that are asked", she said.

But Sessions, who recommended in a signed memo that Comey be fired, may end up claiming executive privilege as a means of limiting the breadth of his testimony.

After Mr. Sessions recused himself, he still signed off on Mr. Comey's firing, which Mr. Trump admitted in an NBC interview was motivated at least in part by "this Russian Federation thing".

Attorney General Jeff Sessions' testimony to the Senate Intelligence committee Tuesday will be open to the public.

"When I talked to him and said, 'You have to be between me and the president, and that's incredibly important, ' and I forget my exact words, I passed along the president's message about the importance of aggressively pursuing leaks of classified information, which is a goal I share", Comey said.

Sessions recused himself from the Russian Federation probe the next day.

During his confirmation hearing, Sessions said he "did not have communications with the Russians" during the campaign.

Sessions defended his meetings with Kislyak, saying these happened when he was a U.S. Senator. Are you aware of any White House tapes that exist? While Sessions used to frequently answer questions from reporters after public appearances discussing his criminal justice initiatives, he stopped in late April, just before Comey was dismissed.

Sessions on Saturday said he would appear before the intelligence committee, which has been doing its own investigation into Russian contacts with the Trump campaign.

Ian Prior, a Justice Department spokesman, disputed that account and said that Sessions replied to Comey and said he "wanted to ensure that he and his Federal Bureau of Investigation staff were following proper communications protocol with the White House".

According to Comey's testimony, the others in the room, all of whom were asked to leave before the Flynn conversation, included Vice President Mike Pence; Gina Haspel, the deputy director of the CIA; Nicholas J. Rasmussen, the director of the National Counterterrorism Center, and retired Marine Gen. John F. Kelly, now the secretary of Homeland Security.