Things got heated during today’s Senate Intelligence Committee hearing with Attorney General Jeff Sessions when Sen. Ron Wyden decided to stop tiptoeing around the hard facts. Former FBI Director James Comey told the world during his testimony last week that he and others in the intelligence community knew Sessions would likely “recuse” himself for a few different reasons—some of which Comey felt he could not speak about publicly. Sen. Wyden wanted to know what those reasons were, and Jeff Sessions lost his cool and had a mini freak out.
Wyden: The question is Mr. Comey said that there were matters with respect to the recusal that were problematic, and he couldn’t talk about them. What are they?
Sessions: Why don’t you tell me. There are none, Senator Wyden. There are none! I can tell you that for absolute certainty. You — this is a secret innuendo being leaked out there about me, and I don’t appreciate it, and I tried to give my best and truthful answers to any committee I’ve appeared before, and it’s really people sort of suggesting innuendo that I have been not honest about matters, and I’ve tried to be honest.
Wyden dismissed Sessions’ anger as histrionics (which was nice to see) and persevered.
Wyden: One more question. I asked former FBI director whether your role in firing him violated your recusal given that President Trump said he fired Comey because of the Russian investigation. Director Comey said this was a reasonable question. So I want to ask you just point blank why did you sign the letter recommending the firing of Director Comey when it violated your recusal?
Sessions: It did not violate my recusal. It did not violate my recusal. That would be the answer to that. The letter that I signed represented my views that had been formulated for some time.
Wyden: Mr. Chairman, just if I can finish, that answer in my view doesn’t pass the smell test. The president tweeted repeatedly about his anger and investigations into his associates and Russia. The day before you wrote the letter he tweeted that the collusion story was a total hoax and asked when will this taxpayer funded charade end? I don’t think your answer passes the smell test.
It doesn’t pass the smell test at all.