Attorney General Jeff Sessions became flustered under questioning from Democratic Sen. Kamala Harris during a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on Tuesday concerning his communications with Russians, President Donald Trump, and Trump’s aides during the presidential campaign.
Sessions became visibly frustrated after Harris repeatedly interrupted him in an attempt to speed up his answers to her questions.
Sessions argued that Harris would accuse him of lying if he’s not given sufficient time to “qualify” his answers.
“I’m not able to be rushed this fast. It makes me nervous,” he said.
After Sessions referred to a Justice Department policy that compelled him to refuse to disclose communications between himself and the president until Trump had waived executive privilege, Harris pressed him.
“Is that policy in writing somewhere?” she asked.
“I think so,” Sessions responded.
“So did you not consult it before you came before this committee knowing we would ask you questions about that?” Harris went on.
“Well, we talked about that,” Sessions responded. “The policy is based — “
Harris cut in, saying, “Did you ask that it would be shown to you?”
“The policy is based on the principle — ” Sessions replied.
“Sir, I’m not asking about the principle,” Harris said. “I am asking when you knew that you’d be asked these questions and would be relying on that policy, did you not ask your staff to show you the policy that would be the basis for you refusing to answer the majority of the questions that have been asked of you?”
Sen. Richard Burr, the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, then turned the floor over to Sessions to answer Harris’ questions. After another exchange in which Sessions said that he had consulted with senior Justice Department staff prior to his testimony about what he called a “longstanding policy” regarding communications with the president, Harris’ five minute questioning time expired.
Soon afterwards, the senator tweeted two of the questions she posed to Sessions:
“I don’t know.”
“I don’t recall.”
“I don’t remember.”
It was a simple question. Can Sessions point to the policy, in writing, that allows him to not answer a whole host of our questions today.
— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) June 13, 2017
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