Senators grill Sessions on Comey, Mueller, Russia probe

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Oversight hearings are when senators get the chance to grill Cabinet officials about all aspects of their department. Attorney General Jeff Sessions answered questions on all the legal aspects of the Trump administration: from the Russia investigation to the president's travel ban to the president's pardoning power.

But he wouldn't talk about one specific topic: conversations he had with President Donald Trump.

"A president is entitled to have private, confidential communications with his Cabinet officials," Sessions said.

At issue was the controversy surrounding the firing of former FBI Director James Comey and what, if any role, Sessions may have had in it, especially if related to Russia.

"Did the president ever mention to you his concern about lifting the cloud on the Russia investigation?" Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., asked.

"That calls for a communication that I've had with the president and I believe it remains confidential," Sessions replied.

But senators aren't the only ones focused on Comey. Trump on Wednesday took to Twitter to accuse him of intending to spare Hillary Clinton from prosecution over her private email server: "Wow, FBI confirms report that James Comey drafted letter exonerating Crooked Hillary Clinton long before investigation was complete. Many people not interviewed, including Clinton herself. Comey stated under oath that he didn't do this-obviously a fix? Where is Justice Dept?"

The commander in chief jumped on an unclassified and highly redacted document released by the FBI that shows discussion of a draft statement about concluding the Clinton investigation before key players -- including Clinton -- were interviewed.

"Did Comey instruct his people to draft memos rendering a conclusion about the email investigation of former Secretary Clinton before July?" Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said.

Also at issue was special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation. When asked if Mueller had interviewed him, Sessions replied, "No… The answer's no."

While Trump continues to dismiss it as "fake news" or an excuse made up by the Democrats for losing the election, Sessions said he has confidence in Mueller but didn't exactly give his ringing endorsement.

"I've known special counsel Mueller for many, many years before he became FBI director so I think he will produce the work in a way he thinks is correct and history will judge," Sessions said.

The attorney general also weighed in on DACA, the deferred action plan for undocumented immigrants brought here as children, which Trump recently rescinded. Sessions said reinstituting DACA is in the hands of the Congress and signaled that the administration could be open to a deal trading border security in exchange for bringing back protection for the so-called DREAMers.