Last week, Comey raised additional questions about Sessions' involvement, saying the FBI knew of reasons why it would be problematic for the attorney general to stay involved in the Russian Federation investigation well before Sessions recused himself in March. The former director did not elaborate in public on the nature of the information.
Sessions' testimony is scheduled to begin at 2:30 p.m. Tuesday. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., Sessions said that he had been scheduled to discuss the Justice Department budget before House and Senate Appropriations subcommittees but that it had become clear some members would focus their questions on the Russian Federation investigation. While the Senate Intelligence Committee has received most of the publicity of late on the Russian Federation probe, the House Intelligence Committee has also been making noise, sending out subpoenas to some, and letters asking for cooperation to others.
Spokesman Spicer declined to say then that Sessions enjoyed Trump's confidence, though spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said later in the week that the president had confidence "in all of his Cabinet".
"These matters", Wyden's letter continued, "which are directly related to threats to our democratic institutions, are of the utmost public interest".
She added: "With all the noise, with all the intensity of the media coverage and obviously what makes headlines, ultimately we're really focused on why the American people elected Donald Trump as their president". Franken and Patrick J. Leahy (Vt.), both Democrats on the Judiciary Committee, wrote a letter to Comey, who was still FBI director, asking him to open a criminal investigation into whether Sessions had perjured himself.
According to Christopher Anders, the group's deputy director, "There is absolutely no reason why the hearing room doors should be shut, cameras turned off, and all American citizens left in the dark when Sessions testifies". Sessions could be asked about that part of Comey's testimony as well as his role in Comey's firing last month.
For the Trump team, Tuesday's open hearing runs the risk of escalating the political drama surrounding the Russian Federation probe and continuing to distract from the policy agenda the administration is trying to jump-start. "There's very little that's classified".
Comey said that because his writings were unclassified, he felt he could share them with the media. Jack Reed, D-R.I., said he also has questions about Sessions' participation in Comey's firing.
First, Comey strongly suggested that the Federal Bureau of Investigation had information about Sessions's contacts with Russian officials, well before the public learned of these contacts from early March news reports. Second, what safeguards are there now so that he doesn't interfere?
James Comey was in his New Jersey hometown of Allendale with his father on Sunday, days after testifying before a Senate panel on his meetings with Trump.
Comey said Trump told Sessions and other administration officials to leave the room before Trump asked him in February to drop a probe into former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn's contacts with Russian Federation.