Democratic senators are warning Attorney General Jeff Sessions that when he appears before the Senate Judiciary Committee next week, he should detail his conversations with Donald Trump or else announce that the president is invoking executive privilege to protect those communications.
All nine Democrats on the panel sent Sessions a letter Wednesday, noting that during his June appearance at the Senate Intelligence Committee, he repeatedly declined to answer such questions, saying the president had the right to decide whether to assert executive privilege over the discussions. That kind of deferral won’t fly this time, the Democrats said.
“We expect that when you appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee on October 18th, you will have determined whether the president will invoke executive privilege as to specific topics and will be prepared to answer completely all questions in those areas on which he has not. As to the former category, we will expect you to provide the Committee with a list of issues over which the privilege has affirmatively been asserted,” the lawmakers wrote in a letter organized by Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.)
A spokeswoman for Sessions declined to comment on the letter.
During his intelligence committee testimony in June, Sessions detailed his involvement in Trump’s firing of FBI Director James Comey. But the attorney general declined to discuss his conversations with the president on that topic or about the Russia investigation.
Sessions recused himself from the Russia probe in March. Two months later, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein ordered the appointment of special counsel Robert Mueller to oversee that inquiry.
The decision exacerbated tensions between the president and the attorney general. Sessions has said little publicly about Trump’s criticism of him, even after the president slammed him in a newspaper interview for recusing himself from the Russia probe.
In recent weeks, the attorney general has tried to suggest that his relationship with Trump is back on solid ground.
“We’re having a great time and had a good time yesterday with him,” Sessions told CNN in an interview last month after he attended a Cabinet meeting with the president at Camp David.