Speed Reads

sessions hearing

Watch Sen. Kamala Harris expertly corner Jeff Sessions over his refusal to answer questions

Attorney General Jeff Sessions testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday, where he faced questions regarding the ongoing investigation into potential collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian interference in last year's presidential election. Sessions was specifically questioned about his role in President Trump's abrupt firing of former FBI Director James Comey last month, including the memo he delivered to the president the day before Comey's dismissal.

Sessions repeatedly declined to answer questions about his conversations with Trump, saying he was not invoking executive privilege, but maintaining nonetheless that he was protecting Trump's "constitutional right" by not answering questions the president has not had a "chance to review." He also cited a vague "longstanding policy" at the Department of Justice that apparently precludes publicly discussing conversations officials have had with the president.

That answer didn't sit well with California Sen. Kamala Harris (D), the state's former attorney general and a former prosecutor, who pressed Sessions to name the DOJ rule he was referring to. When Sessions could not offer a name, Harris asked whether the supposed rule was in writing, and Sessions said, "I think so." Harris then pounced: "So did you not consult it before you came before this committee, knowing we would ask you questions about that? ... Did you not ask your staff to show you the policy that would be the basis for your refusing to answer the majority of questions that have been asked of you?"

"We talked about it," Sessions answered, after a brief uproar in the chamber. Watch below, starting at the 2:26 mark. Kimberly Alters