WASHINGTON (AP) - Attorney General Jeff Sessions heatedly denied on Tuesday having an undisclosed meeting with Russia's ambassador to the USA and declared it was a "detestable and appalling lie" to suggest he was aware of or took part in any collusion between Russian Federation and the election campaign that sent Donald Trump to the White House.
The matter is also being investigated by several congressional panels, including the Senate Intelligence Committee.
"In light of reports regarding Mr. Comey's testimony before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, it is important that I have an opportunity to address these matters in the appropriate forum", Sessions wrote over the weekend.
Longtime Republican operative Roger Stone, a Trump campaign adviser who is negotiating the terms of his own testimony before the House committee that grilled Comey, said Sessions will be advantaged by the fact that any concrete evidence of illegality has proved elusive.
That remark came after revelations emerged that Sessions had met with Russia's ambassador to the US last year, despite testifying under oath during a confirmation hearing that he "did not have communications with the Russians".
Lankford said Sessions' testimony Tuesday will help flesh out the truth of Comey's allegations, including Sessions' presence at the White House in February when Trump asked to speak to Comey alone. The attorney general may also face questions on that. During his nomination hearing in January, the former senator told the Senate Judiciary Committee that he had no contacts with Russian officials as part of the Trump campaign.
Comey accused the Republican president of trying to get him to drop the investigation of former national security adviser Michael Flynn and fired him to undermine the Russian Federation probe. Susan Collins, R-Maine, a member of the intelligence committee, referring to the existence of any recordings. Sessions, a former senator, later issued a clarification saying he had met with the ambassador.
Media reports last week said Mr Sessions offered to resign because of tensions with Mr Trump over his decision to recuse himself from the FBI's Russian Federation probe.
Mr Sessions, a former senator and an early supporter of Mr Trump's election campaign, will be the most senior government official to testify to the committee on the Russian Federation issue.
"To the extent the Comey firing had something to do with the investigation, I think that's an area we need to explore", said King. "We've obviously pressed the White House", he said.
A Trump confidant, Chris Ruddy, told "PBS NewsHour" on Monday that the president was weighing whether to fire the special counsel now heading up the investigation, former FBI Director Robert Mueller.
Though the Justice Department maintains that it has fully disclosed the extent of Sessions' foreign contacts previous year, lawmakers have continued to press him for answers about an April 2016 event at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, where both Sessions and Kislyak attended a foreign policy speech by Trump.
"Sessions actually offered to resign, even though his friends say he doesn't want to leave, but Trump has refused to accept that resignation". Trump has suggested there might be tapes of his encounters with Comey; Comey said last week that "lordy" he hopes there are.