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

Sessions will testify publicly before the Senate Intelligence Committee Tuesday.

ByABC News
June 12, 2017, 2:57 PM

— -- Attorney General Jeff Sessions will testify in an open session before the Senate Intelligence Committee Tuesday afternoon as a part of its ongoing probe into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

Sessions' opening statement is not expected to go into great detail, a source with knowledge told ABC News.

However, during his testimony and in answering senators' questions, Sessions is prepared to address some outstanding lines of inquiry regarding the Russia investigation and his time as attorney general.

Meetings with Kislyak

Sessions is prepared to make clear that there was no "third meeting" with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak at the Mayflower Hotel, the source said, pushing back on reports that Sessions could have met with Kislyak at an April 2016 Trump campaign event they both attended at the hotel.

The Justice Department has said that Sessions was at the Mayflower that day, but there were no private or side conversations between the two.

On committing perjury

The attorney general is also expected to push back on the notion that he committed perjury when he denied having had any communications with Russians during the presidential campaign last year, the source said.

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.

In order for his statements to have constituted perjury, Sessions would have had to make the false statements with both intent and knowledge that they were false.

Describing his security clearance filing

Sessions will also be prepared to describe the process of filling out his SF-86 security clearance form in 2016 -- specifically, the advice he received from FBI personnel that he didn’t need to include all of the meetings he had with foreign officials in his capacity as a sitting senator, the source said.

What he won’t say

Despite his willingness to discuss these points, the attorney general is expected not to answer questions about conversations he has had with President Donald Trump, such as any conversations he had with Trump leading up to former FBI Director James Comey’s firing.

Like many top U.S. officials did last week, Sessions is expected to claim executive privilege, insisting that it would not be appropriate to publicly discuss private talks he had with the president.

Related Topics