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Sessions says he's "not stonewalling," citing "confidential communications" with Trump

Dickerson on Sessions

WASHINGTON -- Attorney General Jeff Sessions insisted in his testimony Tuesday that he was "not stonewalling" by declining to answer some questions involving "confidential communications" with President Trump. 

The nation's top law enforcement officer, testifying before the Senate Intelligence Committee, said he was simply following Department of Justice policies by limiting the information he gave the committee about presidential communications. When Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Oregon), pressed Sessions for more information after fired FBI Director James Comey told the committee last week there were "problematic" reasons why Sessions needed to recuse himself from the FBI's investigation into Russian election meddling, Sessions responded with perhaps the most memorable line of his testimony. 

"Sen. Wyden, I am not stonewalling," Sessions said. 

"I am following historic policies of Department of Justice," Sessions continued. "You don't walk into any hearing or committee meeting and reveal confidential communications with president of the United States, who is entitled to receive confidential communications in your best judgment about a host of issues."

Sessions insisted there are no problematic reasons why he recused himself from the investigation, saying there is a "secret innuendo being leaked out there about me, and I don't appreciate it."

Feinstein grills Sessions on Comey firing

Tuesday marked Sessions' first public testimony since he recommended Comey's firing last month. Attorney General Rod Rosenstein wrote the justification for Comey's firing -- his mishandling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation -- and Sessions wrote the memo recommending Comey's ouster to Mr. Trump.

But Sessions on Tuesday declined to divulge much information about Comey's firing beyond what was already publicly known.

Sessions also said he was never briefed on the FBI's investigation into Russian election meddling, including during the time between his February 9 swearing in and March 2 recusal from the FBI's Russia probe. 

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