Washington – Sen. Richard Blumenthal and Attorney General Jeff Sessions played a game of political cat and mouse Wednesday during a Senate Judiciary oversight hearing, with the Democratic senator pressing Sessions on whether he’d been contacted for questioning by special counsel Robert Mueller.
At the end, the answer was no.
When it was the senator’s turn to question the attorney general, Blumenthal repeatedly asked Sessions if he or anyone in his office had been contacted by Mueller or anyone working for the special counsel, who is investigating whether there was collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign to influence last year’s presidential election.
Sessions could be a key witness in Mueller’s investigation into the circumstances surrounding President Donald Trump’s firing of former FBI Director James Comey in May.
Sessions at first tried to deflect Blumenthal’s questions.
“Maybe we should just leave that with the special counsel,” he said.
But Blumenthal persisted.
Sessions then turned tables and questioned Blumenthal.
“How do you know who special counsel has contacted? I’m curious,” Session said.
Blumenthal reminded Sessions that he was not the one in the witness seat.
“I’m asking you the question. Hasn’t your office been contacted to request an interview with you by the special counsel?” Blumenthal asked. “That’s a yes or no…”
“I don’t think so,” Sessions interrupted.
“You don’t think so? Are you sure?” Blumenthal pressed on.
Sessions replied, “I’m perfectly willing to help the special counsel in any way, but I don’t recall that I have been contacted. I certainly have not spoken directly with anybody in the special counsel’s office.”
Blumenthal continued to ask for an answer.
Sessions told the senator, “I will be glad to let you know within hours,” after he could check with his staffers on whether any contact from Mueller’s office had occurred.
Sessions said Blumenthal “seemed to know” something that he might not be aware of. “I don’t want to come in here and be trapped…by something I don’t know…so I want to check,” Sessions said. “I would verify before I gave you a final answer.”
That verification would come a few minutes later.
“My staff handed me a note that I have not been asked for an interview at this point. My office has not been contacted on that,” Sessions told Blumenthal. “Maybe you ought to check your source.”
During the hearing, Sessions rebuffed repeated requests from Democratic lawmakers for information on his conversations with Trump on the firing of Comey.
He declined to say what Trump told him before Comey’s firing, offering only that the president asked for his advice in writing.