Attorney General Jeff Sessions did exactly what he needed to do Tuesday — help himself in the eyes of his boss, President Trump; and, in turn, help Trump, NPR reports. Using vague legal justification, Sessions shut down potentially important lines of investigative questioning. He showed flashes of anger rarely seen from the 70-year-old Alabamian, calling any suggestion that he colluded with Russia to interfere in the U.S. presidential election a “detestable lie.” Sessions tactics may have provided a roadmap for the White House to keep its secrets without the public-relations blowback of invoking executive privilege.
His refusal to disclose conversations between himself and the president cut off lines of inquiry about the exact circumstances surrounding FBI director James Comey’s firing, what may have happened in the Feb. 14 Oval Office meeting where Trump spoke one-on-one with Comey, as well as Trump’s reaction to Sessions’ recusal. Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-NM) told Sessions: “You’re not answering questions. You’re impeding this investigation.” Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR), said, “The American people have had it with stonewalling.” Sessions said, “I am not stonewalling. I am following the historic policies of the Department of Justice.” Sessions’ silence kept a lid on important details that could have illuminated much more of the Russia story. He said he couldn’t “recall” 18 times.