Attorney General Jeff Sessions said on Saturday that he will testify in front of the Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday, June 13, amid questions over his role in disputed accounts of interactions between former FBI Director James Comey and President Donald Trump. Sessions was initially scheduled to give testimony on the Justice Department’s budget to the Senate Appropriations Committee on Tuesday, and will send Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein there in his place.
Sessions’ appearance before the committee comes as reports suggest he might have had a third undisclosed meeting with Russia’s U.S. ambassador. The first two undisclosed meetings with Sergey Kislyak were reported by The Washington Post, and led to Sessions’ recusal from matters relating to the federal investigations into Russian meddling and possible collusion between Trump officials and Russian operatives. It is unclear whether Tuesday’s intelligence committee hearing, which comes on the heels of Comey’s testimony last Thursday, will be public or private. Comey testified that he asked Sessions to “prevent any future direct communication between [Trump] and me” after the president, according to Comey, urged him to lay off of the investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn. Trump has denied that he made that suggestion, and said he would testify to it under oath. Sessions will likely face questions from senators over whether he tried to prevent possible political interference from the White House.
“Sessions and Rosenstein emerge more and more as key figures with profound questions to answer,” Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal, who sits on the Senate Judiciary Committee, told The Daily Beast after Comey’s testimony. “They are at the center of many of the potential questions about obstruction of justice, as in, what did they do when they were told about this meeting, and why didn’t they do more? If [Sessions] were doing his job, he would’ve taken immediate steps to protect the FBI and its director from this attempted political incident.”