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Sessions Will Submit Amended Testimony, Address Senators' Questions

Attorney General Jeff Sessions is under fire for not disclosing contacts with Russia's ambassador during his confirmation hearing.
Image: U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions pauses at a news conference at the Justice Department in Washington
U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions pauses at a news conference at the Justice Department in Washington on March 2.Yuri Gripas / Reuters

Attorney General Jeff Sessions will submit amended testimony and respond to senators’ questions over his contacts with Russia’s ambassador last year, a Justice Department spokesman said Friday.

The offer came after all nine Democratic senators on the Senate Judiciary Committee in a letter asked the committee chairman to bring Sessions back for a follow-up hearing to explain his past testimony and recent decision to recuse himself from any investigation involving the Trump campaign.

"In light of the letter received from Senators late this afternoon, the Attorney General will respond to their questions along with his amended testimony on Monday," Justice Department spokesman Peter Carr said in a statement.

The Democratic senators in the letter said Sessions should answer questions in public and said "we do not believe that a written submission to correct the record is sufficient."

Related: Republicans Tamp Down Sessions Criticism, Democrats Ramp It Up

Judiciary Committee Chairman Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, earlier Friday rejected the request and said there are no plans to call Sessions back before the committee.

Sessions is under fire for not disclosing during his confirmation hearing that he met with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. Sessions was a senator at the time and an adviser to the Trump campaign.

On Thursday, Sessions said he would recuse himself in any federal probe of the Trump campaign, which could include an investigation of Russian meddling in the presidential election.

Related: Sessions Recuses Himself From Trump Campaign-Related Investigations

News of the meetings drew fire from critics who said Sessions had misled the Judiciary Committee in his January confirmation hearings.

The Democratic senators said in the joint letter to Grassley that they welcomed the recusal, "but it leaves many significant questions unanswered."

They said they wanted to Sessions to explain:

  • Why he "failed to come forward and correct the record before reports of his contacts with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak became public"
  • "Why there was a delay in recusing himself until those public disclosures"
  • "Why he only recused himself with respect to campaign-related investigations and not Russian contacts with the Trump transition team and administration."

Grassley said there were no plans to ask Sessions to come before the committee before his customary appearance at the panel's next annual oversight hearing.

"Attorney General Sessions did the right thing by recusing himself, and he did exactly what he said he’d do regarding potential recusals when he was before our committee," Grassley said in a statement. "It’s unfortunate that the Democrats didn’t even have the decency to give him an opportunity to clear up confusion to the statement in writing."