BREAKING NEWS 11/14/17: Attorney General Jeff Sessions testifies before House Judiciary Committee


GREEN, WE BEGIN THIS HOUR, WITH JEFF SESSIONS, EXPECTED TO FACE TOUGH QUESTIONS ABOUT HIS CONTACTS WITH RUSSIAN OFFICIALS DURING THE 2016 CAMPAIGN AND LIKELY BE ASKED ABOUT COURT DOCUMENTS AND TESTIMONY SHOWING HE KNEW ABOUT MEETINGS BETWEEN TRUMP CAMPAIGN AIDES AND RUSSIAN INTERESTS THAT NEWLY RELEASED INFORMATION CONTRADICTED PREVIOUS TESTIMONY FROM THE ATTORNEY GENERAL

FOR A PREVIEW LET US BRING IN ED O'KEEFFE, AND ZEKE MILLER, A CBSN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR, AND A WHITE HOUSE REPORTER FOR THE ASSOCIATED PRESS THANK YOU FOR JOINING US ZEKE, WE'RE GOING TO START WITH YOU LET'S TALK ABOUT WHAT WE HAVE LEARNED SO FAR SINCE THE LAST TIME SESSIONS HAS TESTIFIED IN FRONT OF A COMMITTEE AND WHERE YOU THINK THE FOCUS OF THESE QUESTIONS WILL BE? >> WELL, OBVIOUSLY THE BIGGEST DEVELOPMENT IS THAT GEORGE úPAP THEN SORT OF WHAT CAME OUT OF THAT, THE REVELATIONS OF THAT MEETING IN TRUMP TOWER WITH THE TRUMP FOREIGN POLICY TEAM AND WHAT THEY DISCUSSED AND WHAT THEY DID HE DID IN TERMS OF BROKERING A MEETING BETWEEN THE PRESIDENT AND VLADIMIR PUTIN, AND IN TERMS OF WHAT WAS SESSIONS RESPONSE TO THAT, AND SESSIONS DISMISSED IT OUT OF HAND, BUT ALL OF THOSE SORTS OF DETAILS, SEEM TO CONTRADICT WHAT SESSIONS TOLD CONGRESS BACK IN JANUARY WHEN HE SORT OF CAME INTO THE JOB SO THAT SORT OF HIGH ON THE LIST AND SORT OF COLORED ON THAT AS WELL

WE HAVE SEEN THE LATEST DETAILS AROUND URANIUM ONE, IN TERMS OF A SPECIAL COUNSEL THERE, NEW REVELATIONS ON MULTIPLE FRONTS THAT THE ATTORNEY GENERAL IS GOING TO BE CONFRONTED WITH WHEN HE TESTIFIES SHORTLY >> YEAH, ED, THERE'S ALSO REVELATIONS FROM CARTER PAGE AS WELL, AND OF COURSE WHAT WE HEARD, WHAT ZEKEM MENTIONED ABOUT GEORGE PAPADOPOULOS SAYING HE TOLD CANDIDATE TRUMP AND JEFF SESSIONS THAT THERE'S A POSSIBILITY FOR A MEETING THAT HE COULD BROKER IT SOMETHING THAT JEFF SESSIONS NEVER BROUGHT UP BEFORE SO TELL ME, WHAT DO YOU THINK THE NATURE OF THE QUESTIONS WILL BE LIKE DURING THIS SESSION? >> THEY'RE GOING TO ASK ALL OF THOSE POINTS, THEY'RE GOING TO BRING THEM UP CERTAINLY, AND IF RECENT HISTORY IS A GUIDE, ANNE-MARIE GREEN, SESSIONS WILL BAT THEM AWAY

I HAVE RECUSED MYSELF FROM THIS, CAN'T GET INTO IT HAPPY TO HAVE YOU ASK ME, BUT I CAN'T ANSWER THOSE QUESTIONS, AND HE'LL FACE QUESTIONS ABOUT THAT HE'S ALSO GOING TO FACE QUESTIONS ABOUT REPORTS HE'S CONSIDERING A SECOND SPECIAL COUNSEL TO INVESTIGATE THE CLINTON FOUNDATION AND ITS TIES TO THE CANADIAN FIRM THAT HAD SOLD MINING RIGHTS TO A RUSSIAN ENERGY ENTITY THIS WOULD BE FULFILLING THE REQUEST BOB GOODLAD OF VIRGINIA AND OTHERS WHO HAVE BEEN PUSHING FOR A SPECIAL COUNSEL WHO HAVE BEEN ASKED TO INVESTIGATE CLINTON WORLD AND WHAT SHE MAY OR MAY NOT HAVE BEEN DOING WHILE SECRETARY OF STATE ONE OTHER THING TO CONSIDER, WHETHER OR NOT HE WOULD GO HOME TO ALABAMA TO RUN FOR HIS OLD SENATE SEAT

REMEMBER, ROY MOORE, THE REPUBLICAN SENATE CANDIDATE FACING ALLEGATIONS THAT HE INAPPROPRIATELY TOUCHED OR HARASSED OR SPENT TIME WITH UNDERAGED WOMEN HE'S RUNNING FOR SESSION'S OLD SENATE SEAT AND THERE'S BEEN TALK HERE AT THE CAPITOL IN THE LAST FEW DAYS THAT THERE MIGHT BE SOME KIND OF AN AGREEMENT WHERE SESSIONS WOULD AGREE TO RUN AS A WRITE IN CANDIDATE AND TAKE BACK HIS OLD SEAT, HOLD IT FOR THE REPUBLICANS WE'LL SEE IF HE GETS ASKED TODAY AND WHETHER HE DENIES THAT THAT'S THE CASE OR HE RULES IT OUT AND DECIDES TO STAY ON AS ATTORNEY GENERAL BUT OVERALL, HIS PERFORMANCE WILL BE CLOSELY WATCHED BY THE WHITE HOUSE REMEMBER, HE AND THE PRESIDENT LEAST THAT'S WHAT WE HAVE BEEN LED TO BELIEVE

IF HE DOES WELL, THE PRESIDENT WILL BE HAPPY ABOUT THAT IF FOR SOME REASON HE STUMBLES, HE COULD BE AT RISK >> JEFF SESSIONS HAS ARRIVED AND HE HAS SAT DOWN AT THE TABLE A ANSWER FOR SOME OF HIS OMISSIONS PREVIOUSLY AND SPECIFICALLY THINKING ABOUT HIS MEETINGS WITH THE RUSSIAN AMBASSADOR, WHEN HE INITIALLY SAID HE HAD NEVER HAD CONTACT WITH ANY RUSSIAN OFFICIALS AND THEN HE HAD TO ADMIT IN FRONT OF THESE COMMITTEES THAT HE INDEED HAD SOME CONTACT WITH THE RUSSIAN AMBASSADOR I MEAN, YOU CAN DO THAT ONCE, MAYBE YOU CAN DO THAT TWICE, BUT IF HE DOES IT AGAIN, WHAT ARE THE REPERCUSSIONS

>> CERTAINLY THERE ARE LEGAL OPTIONS IT IS FOR CONGRESS TO TAKE AND IT IS A CRIME TO LIE BEFORE CONGRESS THAT'S UNLIKELY AS A FORMER SENATOR IT LOOKS LIKE A PATTERN OF MISBEHAVIOR OR SLOPPINESS ON THE PART OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL WE HAVE SEEN THIS ACROSS THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION, A SENSE OF SLOPPINESS REGARDING ALL THINGS RUSSIA AND RAISES THE BROADER QUESTION WHY HAVE THEY NOT BEEN ABLE TO GET THEIR ACT TOGETHER AFTER MORE THAN A YEAR OF QUESTIONS ABOUT TIES TO THE TRUMP CAMPAIGN AND THE ASSISTANCE THEY GET FROM RUSSIA JUST IN THE NEWS TODAY, DON JR

'S COMMUNICATIONS WITH WIKILEAKS AND VICE PRESIDENT MIKE PENCE'S DENIAL OF THE TRUMP CAMPAIGN BEING IN A COO HOOTS WITH WIKI — KAHOOTS WITH WIKILEAKS AND HOW ON THE OUTS THE PRESIDENT IS, AND HIS ATTORNEY GENERAL ARE I MEAN, FOR THE PRESIDENT, THE ORIGINAL SIN OF ALL THINGS RUSSIA IN A LOT OF WAYS IS SESSIONS RECUSAL FROM ANY MATTERS RELATING TO THE 2016 CAMPAIGN AND THAT SORT OF IN THE PRESIDENT'S MIND VIEW, SORT OF CREATED THE CIRCUMSTANCES FOR BOB MUELLER TO BE NAMED AS A SPECIAL COUNSEL AND THAT CREATED ALL SORT OF HEADACHES FOR THE PRESIDENT TO STAY, SO THAT'S ONE OF THOSE THINGS, EVEN IF SESSIONS DOES A VERY GOOD JOB HERE, IT'S HARD TO ERASE SORT OF WHAT HE DID, YOU KNOW, SIX MONTHS AGO >> ZEKE, ED, THE OPENING STATEMENTS HAVE BEGUN WE'RE GOING TO DIP INTO THAT JUSTMENT TO MENTION TO YOU GUYS, YOU ARE TWINNING, I DON'T KNOW IF YOU HAVE SEEN EACH OTHER YET, BUT YOU ARE BOTH WEARING BASICALLY THE EXACT SAME OUTFITS AND LOOKING VERY GOOD DOING IT

>> WELCOME TO WASHINGTON, IT'S PINK TIE TUESDAY, ANNE MARIE >> INDEED, THANKS A LOT GUYS >> I BELIEVE YOU AS A PERSON OF INTEGRITY WOULD HAVE BEEN IMPARTIAL AND FAIR IN FOLLOWING THE FACTS WHEREVER THEY LED I HAVE CHOSEN AS CHAIRMAN OF THIS COMMITTEE TO LET SPECIAL COUNSEL ROBERT MUELLER DO HIS JOB, FREE FROM UNDUE POLITICAL INFLUENCE AT THE SAME TIME, HOWEVER, THIS COMMITTEE WILL DO ITS DUTY AND CONDUCT OVERSIGHT OF THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE

TO THAT END, WE SENT TWO LETTERS TO YOU, ONE IN JULY, AND ANOTHER IN SEPTEMBER, CALLING ON YOU TO NAME A SECOND SPECIAL COUNSEL TO RESTORE THE PUBLIC'S CONFIDENCE IN OUR JUSTICE SYSTEM NUMEROUS MATTERS CONNECTED TO THE 2016 ELECTION REMAIN UNRESOLVED TO DATE, THE DEPARTMENT HAS NOT APPOINTED A SECOND SPECIAL COUNSEL CONSEQUENTLY, THIS COMMITTEE HAD NO CHOICE BUT TO OPEN OUR OWN JOINT INVESTIGATION WITH THE HOUSE OVERSIGHT AND GOVERNMENT REFORM COMMITTEE TO REVIEW DOJ AND FBI'S HANDLING OF THE INVESTIGATION INTO FORMER SECRETARY HILLARY CLINTON AND HER MISHANDLING OF CLASSIFIED INFORMATION AS WE SAID EARLIER THIS YEAR, IT IS INCUMBENT ON THIS COMMITTEE IN OVERSIGHT CAPACITY TO ENSURE THAT THE AGENCIES WE OVERSEE ARE ABOVE REPROACH AND THAT THE JUSTICE DEPARTMENT IN PARTICULAR REMAINS IMMUNIZATION OF PRETTYIZATION

WHOEVER IS ATTORNEY GENERAL, THE D — POLITICALIZATION YOU HAVE RECUSED YOURSELF FROM MATTERS STEMMING FROM THE 2016 ELECTION, AND THERE ARE SIGNIFICANT CONCERNS THAT THE PARTISANSHIP OF THE FBI AND THE DEPARTMENT HAS WEAKENED THE ABILITY OF EACH TO ACT OBJECTIVELY I LOOK FORWARD TO HEARING YOUR THOUGHTS ON THIS AND WHAT STEPS YOU ARE TAKING TO REMOVE POLITICS FROM LAW ENFORCEMENT HOWEVER, THESE INVESTIGATIONS ARE BUT A FEW OF THE MANY IMPORTANT ISSUES WE NEED TO DISCUSS TODAY

FOR INSTANCE, WE JUST OVERWHELMLY REPORTED THE USA LIBERTY — OVERWHELMINGLY REPORTED THE USA LIBERTY ACT THIS BIPARTISAN LEGISLATION WOULD REAUTHORIZE SECTION 702 OF THE FOREIGN INTENTION SURVEILLANCE ACT, CHOSEN TO IMPOSE ANY REFORM OF THE LAW I UNDERSTAND THE DESIRE FOR A CLEAN REAUTHORIZATION OF THE VITAL PROGRAM HOWEVER, I BELIEVE THIS STANDS AS A MISCALCULATION THAT RISKS FURTHER ERODING TRUST IN OUR INTELLIGENCE APPARATUS WE HOPE WE CAN WORK WITH YOU NOW THAT THE USA LIBERTY ACT, WHICH REAUTHORIZES A LAW WHICH IS VITAL TO OUR NATION'S BATTLE AGAINST TERRORISM WHILE PROTECTING AMERICAN CIVIL LIBERTIES HAS BEEN REPORTED OUT OF THE COMMITTEE

THIS IS ESPECIALLY IMPORTANT, GIVEN THE ONGOING THREAT OF TERRORIST ATTACKS IN THE UNITED STATES AS WE ALL KNOW, NOT TWO WEEKS AGO, 8 PEOPLE WERE KILLED AND ALMOST A DOZEN INJURED WHEN AN ISIS INSPIRED JIHAD DISTAL DROVE A PICKUP TRUCK NEAR THE WORLD TRADE CENTER IN NEW YORK THE TERRORIST THREAT IS REAL AND ONGOING, WE CANNOT AFFORD TO PLAY POLITICS WITH NATIONAL SECURITY I LOOK FORWARD TO CONTINUING TO WORK REQUEST YOU ON EFFORTS TO REFORM OUR NATION'S CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM THERE IS BIPARTISAN SUPPORT TO DO THIS IN CONGRESS AND WITH YOUR HELP, WE CAN MAKE CHANGES THAT CRACK DOWN ON VIOLENT OFFENDER, WHILE ALSO DOING MORE TO REHABILITATE FEDERAL PRISONS AND CURB ABUSES IN THE SYSTEM AS WELL AS EXCESSIVE PUNISHMENTS

TO YOUR CREDIT, SINCE YOU ASSUMED LEADERSHIP OF THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, THERE HAS BEEN A SIGNIFICANT INCREASE IN THE PROSECUTION OF FIREARMS OFFENSES IN THE UNITED STATES FOR YEARS, I HAVE CRITICIZED LAX ENFORCEMENT OF THE GUN LAWS ALREADY ON THE BOOKS ENFORCING THESE LAWS IS THE MOST EFFECTIVE WAY TO COMBAT VIOLENT CRIME IN OUR CITIES AND NEIGHBORHOODS UNDER YOUR LEADERSHIP, THE NUMBER OF DEFENDANTS CHARGED WITH UNLAWFUL POSSESSION OF A FIREARM HAS INCREASED BY NEARLY 25% THE NUMBER OF DEFENDANTS CHARGED WITH ARMED DRUG TRAFFICKING HAS INCREASED 10%

I COMMEND YOU FOR YOUR FOCUS ON THESE PROSECUTIONS BECAUSE THEY WILL HELP MAKE OUR STREETS SAFER THERE ARE MANY OTHER MATTERS ON WHICH WE SHARE COMMON GROUND, ESPECIALLY WHEN IT COMES TO RECTIFYING THE FAILURES OF THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION FOR EXAMPLE, EARLIER THIS YEAR, THE HOUSE PASSED LEGISLATION TO BAN SETTLEMENT PAYMENTS TO NONVICTIM THIRD PARTIES FOLLOWING YOUR POLICY DIRECTIVE TO SHUT DOWN THE USE OF SUCH MANDATORY DONATIONS THESE REFORM INITIATIVES FOLLOWED A CONCERTED EFFORT BY THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION TO USE SETTLEMENTS TO BENEFIT ITS POLITICAL ALLIES WE COMMEND YOUR EFFORTS TO COMBAT ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION, PROTECT OUR CITIZENS FROM CRIMINAL ALIENS AND TO FIGHT BACK AGAINST SO CALLED SANCTUARY CITIES

MORE THAN TWO YEARS HAVE PASSED SINCE KATE STEINLE WAS MURDERED BY AN ILLEGAL IMMIGRANT, DEPORTED FIVE TIMES WE HAVE ADDRESSED THIS ISSUE HEAD ON BY MOVING LEGISLATION TO COMBAT SANCTUARY CITIES AND FIND AND REMOVE CRIMINAL GANG MEMBERS MRATTORNEY GENERAL, OUR COUNTRY IS AT A CROSS ROADS, OUR CONSTITUENTS ARE GRAVELY CONCERNED THAT OUR JUSTICE SYSTEM DOES NOT WORK FOR THEM UNDER YOUR LEADERSHIP, THE JUSTICE DEPARTMENT HAS TAKEN STRIDES TO MITIGATE THE HARMS DONE IN THE PRIOR ADMINISTRATION

I IMPLORE YOU TO WORK WITH US TO CONTINUE THAT TREND, AND I THANK YOU SINCERELY FOR YOUR APPEARANCE TODAY I RECOGNIZE THE RANKING MEMBER OF THE COMMITTEE, THE GENTLEMAN FROM MICHIGAN, MR CONYERS FOR HIS OPENING STATEMENT >> THANK YOU, MR CHAIRMAN

TOP OF THE MORNING IN THE ORDINARY COURSE OF BUSINESS, ANYONE OF A DOZEN TOPICS RELATED TO THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE WOULD BE WORTHY OF ITS OWN HEARING AND TO BE CLEAR, I WOULD RATHER SPEND OUR TIME TODAY DISCUSSING THE UPKEEP OF THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM, THE ENFORCEMENT OF CIVIL RIGHTS AND THE WORK WE MUST ALL DO TO ENSURE ACCESS TO THE BALLOT BOX INSTEAD WE MUST SPEND OUR TIME DEBATING THE TROUBLES OF A WAYWARD ADMINISTRATION, HOW THE ATTORNEY GENERAL CONDUCTS HIMSELF BEFORE CONGRESS, HOW PRESIDENT TRUMP UNDERMINES THE INTEGRITY OF THE JUSTICE SYSTEM AND HOW THE DEPARTMENT CONTINUES TO IGNORE THE OVERSIGHT REQUESTS OVER THIS COMMITTEE ALTHOUGH THIS IS THE ATTORNEY GENERAL'S FIRST APPEARANCE BEFORE THE HOUSE, HE'S ALREADY MADE THREE VISITS TO OUR COLLEAGUES IN THE SENATE AT HIS CONFIRMATION HEARING, HE TESTIFIED THAT HE DID NOT HAVE COMMUNICATIONS WITH THE RUSSIANS

LAST MONTH HE TESTIFIED THAT A CONTINUING EXCHANGE OF úINFORMA SURROGATES AND INTERMEDIARIES FOR THE RUSSIAN GOVERNMENT DID NOT HAPPEN, AT LEAST TO MY KNOWLEDGE, AND NOT WITH ME WE NOW KNOW, OF COURSE, THAT NEITHER OF THESE STATEMENTS IS TRUE SHORTLY AFTER THE ATTORNEY GENERAL MADE THE FIRST COMMENT, THE WASHINGTON POST REPORTED THAT HE MET WITH THE RUSSIAN AMBASSADOR AT LEAST TWICE DURING THE CAMPAIGN IN THE PAST MONTH WE HAVE ALSO LEARNED THAT THE ATTORNEY GENERAL MUST HAVE BEEN VERY MUCH AWARE OF A CONTINUING EXCHANGE OF INFORMATION BETWEEN THE TRUMP CAMPAIGN AND THE RUSSIAN GOVERNMENT IN CHARGING DOCUMENTS UNSEALED LAST MONTH, GEORGE PAPADOPOULOS, A FOREIGN POLICY ADVISER TO THE TRUMP CAMPAIGN

ADMITS TO EXTENSIVE COMMUNICATIONS WITH RUSSIAN CONTACTS AT A MARCH 31ST, 2016 MEETING OF THE CAMPAIGNS NATIONA SECURITY ADVISORY COMMITTEE, ATTENDED BY CANDIDATE TRUMP AND CHAIRED BY SENATOR SESSIONS, MR PAPADOPOULOS STATED IN SUM AND SUBSTANCE THAT HE

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