On Tuesday afternoon, less than a week after the James Comey hearing, Washington, D.C. once again turned its eyes to the Hart Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill. However, this time, the nation was watching as Attorney General Jeff Sessions spoke before the Senate Intelligence Committee. While Sessions’ hearing didn’t enjoy the same hype as Comey’s — last Thursday was coined “Comey Day” by Washingtonians — it was no less important for both sides of the aisle.
Like a number of Trump associates, Sessions’ time in the administration has been marred by controversy. After it was reported that the attorney general held an undisclosed meeting with Russian officials, he recused himself from the Russia probe. There were also reports last week that during the closed Senate hearing with James Comey, the former FBI director hinted that a third undisclosed meeting had occurred between Sessions and Russian officials.
Things intensified after Dianne Feinstein of California questioned Sessions and, at the end of her five minutes, after she didn’t get the answers she wanted, the Senator exasperated, declared, “my time is up.” Following Feinstein, Sessions was questioned by Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) and got pretty testy with the senator when Wyden pointed out that “Mr. Comey said that there were matters with respect to the recusal that were problematic and he couldn’t talk about them. What are they?” In response, Sessions bellowed back, “there are none, Senator Wyden. There are none […] this is a secret innuendo being leaked out there about me and I don’t appreciate it.”
Unlike James Comey, Sessions did not release a written statement before entering the hearing. While Comey’s opening statement was seen as some as a bombshell, Sessions’ testimony still held the promise of a revelation. The Senate Intelligence Committee features a number of star legislators. On the Republican side of the aisle, Senator Marco Rubio of Florida carries a big stick, while Tom Cotton of Arkansas is a promising young face in the GOP. Democrats looked to Dianne Feinstein of California to be a resounding voice in the chamber, while Kamala Harris, also of California, is being suggested as a possible 2020 presidential contender.