Tuesday, June 13, 2017

What Will The Sessions Testimony Offer?

In an hour or so, Attorney General and former US Senator Jeff Sessions will testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee.   Publicly.  What could happen?

I've only heard a few reports on this and they really didn't say much except that he'll be asked questions about

  • the meetings he had with the Russian ambassador but didn't mention at his confirmation hearings as AG
  • his role in the firing of FBI director Comey.
  • Comey's testimony last week that mentioned Sessions - whether he agrees or disagree with what Comey said
  • the nature of his recusal on the Russia investigations whether he has violated it
So if I don't have any inside information, what's the point of this post.  I'm just using this as a way to think this through for myself.  

Possibile Outcomes:

Who will benefit?
1.  He will support the president's position
2.  He will support Comey's testimony
Can he do both at the same time?  Maybe.  On some things.  Both Trump and Comey said that he was fired because Comey didn't drop the Flynn investigation.  But he surely will support the president's version that his comment about hoping he would drop the investigation was NOT an order.  

Impact on Sessions himself
  1. How will he defend not disclosing meetings with Russians when asked at his confirmation hearings?  And what about the allegations of yet another meeting or meetings that haven't been disclosed?  
    1. I guess he'll repeat that he didn't think they were relevant because they were pro forma meetings that had nothing to do with his role in the campaign.  
  2.  Some have suggested that he could perjure himself at this hearing. 
    1. He's an attorney.  He's the attorney general.  I suspect he's been carefully coached on how to avoid perjuring himself.  Some options here are:
    2. Claiming, as did Comey last week, that he can't talk about some things in public hearings.
    3. Invoking the 5th Amendment
  3. Will he be able to continue as attorney general after this?
    1. He can either 
      1. be loyal to the president and if that requires bending the truth, bring legal and political problems on himself  OR  
      2. he can piss off the president who expects complete loyalty.   

I can't really predict the actual answers to all theses questions, but my guess is that at this point,  Sessions' first priority is Jeff Sessions and the Trump is a distant second priority.   

I think it will also be interesting to see how this committee seeks 'the truth' and how Sessions and the committee members determine the facts and interpret them.

Or is this all a distraction so no one pays attention to what the Senate does with the Trump health care bill?

There are a number of ways to listen or watch the hearings today.  NPR will air it live over the radio or online.  And the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence website has a video window which looks like it will use.

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