- Attorney General Jeff Sessions was asked whether he had been interviewed by Robert Mueller, the FBI’s special counsel.
- He hesitated to answer, but when pressed again, Sessions said he had not.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions had an awkward exchange with Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Wednesday after Leahy asked whether Sessions had been interviewed by Robert Mueller, the special counsel leading the FBI’s investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 US presidential election.
After some hesitation, Sessions said he had not.
“Have you been interviewed or have you been requested to be interviewed by the special counsel either in connection with Director Comey’s firing, the Russia investigation, or your own contact with Russian officials?” Leahy said, referring to James Comey, the FBI director whom President Donald Trump fired in May.
“You’ll have to ask the special counsel,” Sessions responded — to which Leahy quipped, “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?”
Sessions briefly paused and responded, “No.”
“You haven’t been interviewed by the special counsel in any way, shape, or matter?” Leahy said.
After another brief pause, Sessions said, “The answer’s no.”
Mueller was hired in May by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein after Comey’s firing. At the time, Comey was leading the FBI’s investigation, which includes whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russian officials to meddle in the election.
Rosenstein did this rather than Sessions because Sessions had recused himself from any investigation related to the Trump campaign after he did not disclose in his confirmation hearing his contacts with Russian diplomats during the campaign.
Watch the exchange: