Jeff Sessions has an awkward exchange with a Democratic senator after being asked if special counsel Mueller interviewed him

Jeff SessionsScreenshot/ABC NewsJeff Sessions
  • Attorney General Jeff Sessions was asked if Robert Mueller interviewed him.
  • He hesitated to answer, but when pressed again, Sessions said Mueller has not interviewed him.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions had an awkward exchange with Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing Wednesday after Leahy asked if Sessions had been interviewed by special counsel Robert Mueller.

After some hesitation, Sessions said he has not been interviewed by Mueller, who is overseeing an independent investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

“Have you been interviewed or requested to be interviewed by the special counsel either in connection to [former FBI Director James] Comey’s firing, the Russia investigation, or your own contact with Russian officials?” Leahy asked.

“You’ll have to ask the special counsel,” Sessions responded, to which Leahy quipped back, “I’m asking you.”

Sessions then asked Leahy to repeat the question, which he did.

“Well I’d be pleased to answer that,” Sessions said. “I’m not sure I should without clearing that with the special counsel. What do you think?”

Leahy asked again, “Have you been interviewed by him?”

This time, Sessions took a brief pause and responded, “No.”

“You haven’t been interviewed by the special counsel in any way, shape, or matter?” Leahy asked.

“The answer’s no,” Sessions said, after another brief pause.

Mueller was hired in May by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein after President Donald Trump fired Comey, who was leading the FBI investigation into whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russian officials during the 2016 presidential election.

Rosenstein had to make the call because Sessions had recused himself from all matters related to the Trump campaign after he did not initially disclose in a confirmation hearing his contacts with Russian diplomats during the campaign.

Sessions and Rosenstein provided a recommendation to Trump in May to fire Comey. That firing is under review by Mueller for possible obstruction of justice.

Watch the exchange:

After repeated questioning from @SenatorLeahy, AG Sessions says he has not been interviewed by special counsel Mueller.
— This Week (@ThisWeekABC) October 18, 2017

NOW WATCH: Briefing videos

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.