Last week, in his testimony before the Senate, former FBI director James Comey referred to attorney general Jeff Sessions’ involvement in the Russia investigation as “problematic,” which was alluded to by Comey as one of the reasons for Sessions recusing himself from the investigation.
Comey told Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) that he did not go to Sessions about the content of his conversations with Donald Trump because Session’s recusal was coming “for a variety of reasons.” However, Comey also referred to facts he couldn’t discuss in an open setting that would have called into question Sessions’ involvement in any Russia-related investigations had he not recused himself.
In Sessions’ own Senate testimony, Sen. Wyden asked the attorney general about Comey’s assertion and Sessions lost his composure.
“The question is,” Wyden starts, “Mr. Comey said there were matters with respect to the recusal that were problematic and he couldn’t talk about them. What are they?”
“That. Why don’t you tell me?” Sessions asked. “There are none, Senator Wyden. There are none. I can tell you that for absolute certainty.”
After Wyden started to say something, Sessions interrupted him.
“This is a secret innuendo being leaked out there about me and I don’t appreciate it. And I’ve tried to give my best and truthful answers to any committee I’ve appeared before. And it’s really, uh, people are suggesting through innuendo that I have been not honest about matters and I’ve tried to be honest.”
Wyden attempted to move the line of questioning along but Sessions appeared to try to walk his comments back and say he didn’t mean Comey had used innuendo, but Sen. Wyden wasn’t having it.
“[Comey] said it was “problematic” and I asked you what was problematic about it,” Wyden said.
Sessions chuckled and smiled before continuing.
“Some of that leaked out of the committee that he said in closed sessions,” Sessions claimed.
Wyden then went on to say that Comey said it was “reasonable” to ask if Sessions violated his recusal by recommending Comey be dismissed, and asked Sessions why he did that.
“It did not violate my recusal,” Sessions said. “It did not violate my recusal. That would be the answer to that. And the letter that I signed represented my views that had been formulated for some time.”
Wyden didn’t buy that though, saying the answer didn’t pass “the smell test” and brought up the president’s angry tweets about investigations. Sessions asked for an opportunity to respond and continued speaking, while smiling, saying the letter Rod Rosenstein wrote and the one that Sessions signed “represented my views of the situation.”
Some might wonder whether folks who have nothing to hide act like this? Who’s to say.