Democrats Press Justice Nominee to Commit to Special Prosecutor in Russia Probe

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The confirmation hearing comes after it was reported that several associates in Trump's campaign for the USA presidency had contact with Russians, including Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

With Attorney General Jeff Sessions's decision Thursday to recuse himself from any investigations into Russia's connections to Donald Trump's presidential campaign, focus is turning to the Department of Justice's secondary leaders.

Sessions's recusal came after The Washington Post reported that he met twice with the Russian ambassador to the United States previous year, but did not disclose that interaction under questioning by Franken. "How can you investigate your boss?" he questioned, noting that Sessions' contacts with the Russian ambassador while an adviser to the Trump campaign could make him a witness in an investigation.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions participates in a news conference related to a reconstituted travel ban at the U.S. Customs and Borders Protection headquarters, on March 6, 2017 in Washington, DC.

"Mr. Rosenstein should commit to naming a special prosecutor to look into the Trump campaign's ties to Russian Federation", said Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer in a statement.

"He should come back and explain himself, Mr. Chairman", Franken asserted. Sessions announced his recusal from overseeing an investigation into contacts between the Trump campaign and the Russian government.

According to a new CNN poll, nearly two thirds of Americans say a special prosecutor should investigate contacts between Russian operatives and members of the Trump campaign. "I think the - the answer is I'm simply not in a position to answer the question". "He needs to come back", Franken added.

If Clinton had won the presidency and there was evidence of foreign help in getting her elected and indications also that members of her campaign, including her eventual attorney general appointee, had talked to that foreign government, would a special prosecutor have already been named or an independent investigation launched?

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"It's possible", Rosenstein said. "And I don't have anything else to say about that".

"I know this is the issue du jour", Rosenstein said of the Russian Federation controversy.

Democrats have pressed for the Justice Department to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate Russia's meddling and any potential ties Moscow may have had to the Trump campaign. Sen.

When it became clear that wasn't going to work - or come close to working - Sessions decided that he would recuse himself from any and all investigations into the 2016 campaign by the Department of Justice, a clear attempt to throw a bone to the howling pack in hopes the controversy would die down.

When he was a USA attorney, his office also led the leak prosecution of Thomas Drake, the former National Security Agency official who pleaded guilty to a minor misdemeanor after more serious charges of mishandling documents were dropped. "Moreover, it's the right thing to do to ensure that this investigation remains impartial, nonpartisan, and truly gets to the bottom of the matter".

The attorney general promised to provide the Senate Judiciary Committee with a full explanation of his misleading testimony.

Sessions had actually twice denied meeting any Russian diplomats.

So it was of little surprise when one of the first questions Rosenstein asked was whether or not he has had contact with Russian officials.

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