Apparently, the plan to have Attorney General Jeff Sessions testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee this week came via a written request from Sessions, himself.
The move shocked some members of the committee. Sessions was scheduled to speak before Senate and House Appropriations, but will be sending his deputy, Rod Rosenstein, instead.
The committee has not confirmed the Tuesday date for Sessions’ testimony and are still discussing whether to allow him to testify in open or closed session, or both, as former FBI Director James Comey did last week.
The concern is that Sessions may have been attempting to get the jump on the committee by coming forward now, in order to avoid testifying in an open session. His previously scheduled testimony before the Senate and House Appropriations Committee was to be open.
Then again, this is coming directly on the heels of James Comey’s testimony, and it is very likely that he is looking to respond.
Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon, also a member of the intelligence panel, sent a letter to panel Chairman Richard Burr of North Carolina and Warner asking for the hearing to be open.
A Justice Department official told CNN on Sunday that department officials expected the hearing would be closed but said the final decision was up to the Senate committee.
The theories behind why Sessions requested to appear are varied. Whether it’s to avoid giving open testimony, or clarify last week’s statements by Comey, we may not get the full picture until Tuesday.
I’ve heard some say President Trump is sending Sessions on a mission to clamp down on what James Comey has already said, with hopes of derailing this investigation, once and for all.
Then there’s the theory that, given previous reports of Trump’s anger with Sessions for recusing himself from the Russia probe, Sessions is about ready to hop off the Trump train, and this is one way to do it – by telling what he knows.
Whatever the case, who doesn’t believe that Trump has reached out to Sessions about his testimony, on some level?