AG Sessions to testify before Senate Tuesday

Attorney General Jeff Sessions will testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee Tuesday afternoon. From NBC News:

“The Attorney General has requested that this hearing be public,” Justice Department spokesman Sarah Isgur Flores said. “He believes it is important for the American people to hear the truth directly from him and looks forward to answering the committee’s questions tomorrow.”

Committee members were taken by surprise by Sessions’ letter over the weekend offering to appear before the panel investigating Russian hacking, in lieu of what was to be an open appearance before the Senate Appropriations Committee. Subsequent reports suggested the intelligence hearing would happen behind closed doors.

Sessions had been scheduled to appear before the Appropriations Committee this week but decided to send a deputy instead. Sen. Patrick Leahy reacted to that decision on Twitter over the weekend:

Meanwhile, Democrats became concerned that they would miss their chance at open testimony entirely if Sessions testified before the Intelligence Committee in a private session. Sen. Ron Wyden sent a letter to the Intel. Committee Sunday saying, “I urge that the Committee hold a hearing with the Attorney General in the open so that the American people can hear for themselves what he has to say with regard to connections to the Russians and the President’s abuse of power.”

The two topics which are expected to be the focus of Sessions’ testimony are his involvement in the firing of Director Comey and a possible third, undisclosed meeting with the Russian ambassador last summer. The Democrats’ goal is clearly to continue to agitate for Sessions’ ouster. Senators Leahy and Franken claim Sessions perjured himself by not disclosing meetings with the Russian ambassador during his confirmation hearing. If they can establish a third undisclosed meeting that will give them a new hook on which to renew their calls for his resignation. All that to say, you’ll likely be hearing a lot about this exchange from Session’s confirmation hearing tomorrow: