The Hill: Ted Lieu grills Sessions in hearing: 'You're lying' to either the House or the Senate
Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) on Tuesday grilled Attorney General Jeff Sessions during a hearing before the House Judiciary Committee, peppering the nation's top cop with questions about his past statements about meeting with Russian officials.
During the questioning, Lieu suggested that Sessions lied to lawmakers when he failed to disclose the meetings during his confirmation hearing after being asked about contacts between the Trump campaign and Moscow.
“You did have communications with the Russians last year, isn’t that right?” Lieu pressed.
“I had a meeting with the Russian ambassador," Sessions answered. “Yes.”
The exchange grew heated when Lieu told Sessions his responses suggest he is either lying to the Senate or the House.
“That is exactly the opposite answer you gave under oath to the U.S. Senate," Lieu replied, referencing Sessions's Jan. 10 confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee. “Either you’re lying to the U.S. Senate, or you’re lying to the U.S. House of Representatives.”
Sessions doubled down on his defense, saying that he was at the time "explicitly responding to the shocking suggestion that I as a surrogate was meeting on a continuing basis with Russian officials and the implication was to impact the campaign in some sort of nefarious way.
"All I did was meet in my office with the ambassador," Sessions continued. "We didn’t discuss anything like that.”
Sessions spoke with then-Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak at the Republican National Convention in July 2016 and later met with him in Washington in September, which Sessions has said was in his capacity as a U.S. senator.
Lieu also pressed Sessions on whether he has ever been asked by President Trump to take an improper oath of loyalty, a pledge that former FBI Director James Comey claims the president pressured him to make shortly after taking office.
“No,” Sessions said in response.
Lieu then pressed Sessions on whether he would ever take such an oath if Trump asked him to do so, to which the Justice Department chief said he “doesn’t know what a pledge of loyalty is.”
“We all owe loyalty to our supervisors. I’ve always done that to my bosses and supervisors. So you know, people are expected to be loyal to their executive branch head. But if you talk about some improper loyalty oath that goes beyond the commitment of following the law, I am not.”
The grilling comes after Sessions has spent more than five hours answering questions during an oversight hearing.