Democratic senators appeared surprised when Attorney General Jeff Sessions said he has never been interviewed in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s “Russia investigation” as he testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee Wednesday.
Sessions gave little to the Democrats who were trying to bring allegations of “collusion” and “obstruction of justice” as Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) put it, back into the public eye as the “Russia story” continues to slip into obscurity.
Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) asked Sessions about the still floundering “Russia probe” by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, asking him, “have you been interviewed or have you been requested to be interviewed by the special counsel either in connection with Director Comey’s firing, the Russia investigation, or your own contact with Russian officials?”
Sessions, at first, demurred, saying, “You’ll have to ask the special counsel that.”
When Leahy insisted, however, Session began to look more pleased and invited the questioning. “Well, I’d be pleased to answer that,” he told Leahy, chuckling and smiling as he considered his response, “I’m not sure I should without clearing that with the special counsel.”
“What do you think?” Sessions added after a pause, appearing to egg Leahy on in his line of questioning, before finally answering, “No.”
Things got even more heated when Sen. Blumenthal challenged Sessions answer.
After Sessions again tried to get Blumenthal to ask the special counsel’s office, Blumenthal tested Sessions’s answer. “The fact of the matter is he has contacted you, isn’t that a fact?” he asked pointedly.
“I’m not aware of it,” was Sessions’s answer.
“You’re not aware that the special counsel has contacted your office?” Blumenthal continued, incredulous, suggesting strongly he somehow knew such a request had, in fact, been made.
“How do you know who the special counsel is contacting? I’m a bit curious,” Sessions asked in reply.
Increasingly agitated, Blumenthal tried again. “I’m asking you the question has your office been contacted to request an interview with you by the special counsel? That’s a yes or no question,” he said.
“I don’t think so,” was all he could get from Sessions, who added, after another round back and forth, “I am perfectly willing to answer to the special counsel in any way.”
After yet another exchange, Sessions told Blumenthal, “Well you seem to know, so I don’t want to come in here and be trapped if you know something I don’t know.”
After the hearing, a Department of Justice spokesperson categorically denied the Attorney General has been contacted for an interview by the Special Counsels office, calling Blumenthal’s claim simply “not true.”