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AG Sessions appears in House panel's closed-down hearing

By Allen Cone
AG Sessions appears in House panel's closed-down hearing
U.S. Attorney General Jeff Session testifies during a House Judiciary Committee oversight hearing of the Justice Department on November 14. He appeared in a private session with the House Intelligence Committee on Thursday. Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | License Photo

Nov. 30 (UPI) -- Attorney General Jeff Sessions faced questioning Thursday by the U.S. House Intelligence Committee as part of its investigation into Russia's meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

The panel planned to interview Sessions over his knowledge of contacts with Russians during the campaign and after the election, CNN reported.

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Senators were hopeful Sessions would be more forthcoming in a confidential setting.

"There are potential opportunities with a sitting administration official with security clearances to get into matters that we may not have been able to get into with other witnesses, so there may be areas of questioning that we can do that were not possible to do publicly," Intelligence Committee ranking member Adam Schiff, D-Calif., said to The Hill.

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Democrats want to find out what Sessions knew about contacts between Trump aides and the Russians while he served as a campaign adviser.

"I'm also concerned about the degree to which the wall between the White House and the Justice Department is being broken down," Inteligence Committee ranking member Adam Schiff, D-Calif., said.

Republicans say the Department of Justice is not meeting committee requests for information.

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"It doesn't make much sense to me why we're having such trouble getting information from an administration that's aligned with us," said Rep. Chris Stewart, R-Utah. "That's kind of my start point."

On Nov. 14, Sessions was questioned in an open hearing before the Judiciary Committee.

Sessions said he has "always told the truth" about contacts with Russians and he has no "clear recollection" of meetings by aides about Russia.

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That includes Erik Prince, the military contractor who The Washington Post reported attended a secret meeting in the Seychelles islands in the Indian Ocean in January. He reportedly tried to set up a meeting between Trump, his campaign officials and individuals suspected of being "members of President Putin's office."

Prince has said he met with a Russian government official but it wasn't on behalf of the Trump presidency.

The committee plans to interview Prince, whose sister is Education Secretary Betsy DeVos.

"There isn't much new, if you're talking about Russia-specific collusion - we've been over that ad nauseum," Chris Stewart, R-Utah. "There's nothing that hasn't been asked, in my opinion, and I think that's generally shared."

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