“He reminded the Senators that the content of the closed-door hearing with former Director Comey was leaked within 20 minutes of adjourning.”
The anxiously awaited testimony from Attorney General Sessions was entirely different than other hearings we have seen. One would expect some deference to the seasoned former Senator from his colleagues, but that wasn’t the case. As is the usual behavior of the committee, the battle lines were clearly drawn.
There was a difference in this hearing though. It was first noticed with the opening remarks from Senator Warner. Typically very confrontational and openly partisan driven, this time his remarks lacked the rankor we have seen from him before. There were some accusations made of General Sessions, but they were not pronounced with the forcefulness as we have come to expect.
After the Chairman and Vice Chairman had given their opening statements, Attorney General Sessions was allowed to make his opening remarks as to the accusations, and he held nothing back. Sessions opened up with both barrels and flatly denied the allegations that had been thrown his way. He was very visibly annoyed that the accusations had even been made. Attorney General Sessions demonstrated to all that he is a man of principle and would not be swayed from his commitment to the nation. What was also clear was he was not going to sit back and take the partisan comments, and snide innuendoes that the Senators hurled at him.
As the Republican Senators questioned and tried to verify some of his statements, the Democrats were out for blood. One after another pushed for answers to questions they knew the Attorney General could and would not answer due to the procedure and long-standing policy of the Department of Justice. At one point, one of the Democrat Senators was warned and told to let Attorney General Sessions answer. This was none other than Kamala Harris. She had been censured in her questioning of the Intel Department heads just a few days before.
The Democrats, not having much to work with, focused on the Attorney General not answering questions about private conversations he had with the President. Sessions stated the President had a constitutional privilege to privacy of those conversations, and he would not divulge their content without authorization. The Democrats repeatedly asked if he was claiming Executive Privilege. He answered no, but the conversations were privileged and mentioned that the same principle was followed by all four of the Intel Community heads in their testimony as well. Regardless of this answer the Democrat Senators, one after another, asked the same questions over and over again and received the same answer.
Sessions, at several points, fired back at his accusers. He made sure to make his point. He did not waiver from his positions or the veracity of his answers. He explained each point the Senators tried to make. Teflon would be the wrong word to use here to describe Attorney General Sessions; armor fits much better.
Sessions reiterated that those leaking the information would wish they had not done so to unauthorized people. He reminded the Senators that the content of the closed-door hearing with former Director Comey was leaked within 20 minutes of adjourning. That could have only come from within the committee or from those that testified. The message was very clear, and the Attorney General was adamant about going after those that leaked as he looked directly at the committee.
Close to the end of the hearing, Senator Cotton (R- AR) summed up much of the testimony. By restating that there was, after eleven months of investigation by the FBI and eight months of investigation by the Senate Intel Committee, not one piece of evidence of any collusion between the Trump campaign, the President, or anyone else existed. He reiterated the Attorney General’s positions and reminded the Democrat Senators that Attorney General Holder had taken the same stance as to privileged conversations.
At the conclusion of the hearing, it was painfully apparent Attorney General Sessions was unscathed. The case against him or the President was not advanced by the hearing. What was also evident was that Director Comey was not the golden boy he was made out to be by the Democrats and they were reminded that just a few months before they were out for Comey’s head over his treatment of Hillary Clinton. The Democrats did not get what they were after today. What was clear is the United States has a principled, honest, and very feisty Attorney General in Jeff Sessions.