Heinrich to Jeff Sessions: “You’re impeding this investigation”
New Mexico’s Martin Heinrich is becoming a leading figure in the US Senate’s investigation of Russian involvement in American elections and collusion between Russian and President Trump’s campaign.
After quizzing fired FBI Director James Comey last week, Heinrich was also featured as a key questioner of Attorney General Jeff Sessions during this week’s hearings. And Heinrich pulled no punches in his assessment of the attorney general’s cooperation.
Senator Martin Heinrich accuses Jeff Sessions of impeding the investigation by not answering questions. pic.twitter.com/BFBZoWF5GB
— New York Times Video (@nytvideo) June 13, 2017
A recap from Business Insider captured the exchange:
Sen. Martin Heinrich aggressively questioned Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Tuesday over his decision not to share details of his conversations with President Donald Trump.
During a highly-anticipated Senate Intelligence Committee hearing, the New Mexico Democrat confronted Sessions about his refusal to reveal non-classified conversations with the president after Sessions dodged a question about whether Trump expressed dissatisfaction over Sessions’ recusal from the investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election.
“My understanding is that you took an oath, you raised your right hand today and said you would solemnly swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. And now you’re not answering questions,” Heinrich said. “You’re impeding this investigation.”
“So my understanding of the legal standard is either you answer the question, that’s the best outcome. You say ‘This is classified, can’t answer it here, I’ll answer it in closed session,’ that’s bucket number two. Bucket number three is to say I’m invoking executive privilege. There is not appropriateness bucket. That is not a legal standard. Can you tell me what are these long-standing DOJ rules that protect conversations made with the executive without invoking executive privilege?”
Sessions countered that DOJ’s policies prohibited him from talking about conversations with Trump and he promised to share copies of those policies with Heinrich and the committee. He later admitted that there were no written policies on this topic.
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