Attorney General Jeff Sessions refused to divulge any details of his private conversations with President Trump during a Senate Intelligence hearing Tuesday afternoon, acknowledging that he knows "how this will be discussed" in the media.
When questioned by Sen. Dianne Feinstein about whether the president had told him when he first decided to fire FBI director James Comey, Sessions said: "I am not able... to confirm or deny" any conversations with the president.
The California Democrat next pressed Sessions to explain what Trump said in an NBC News interview on May 11. "Regardless of recommendation, I was going to fire Comey knowing there was no good time to do it," the president told NBC's Lester Holt in a White House interview last month.
"Do you concur with the president that he was going to fire Comey regardless of [your] recommendation because the problem was with the Russian investigation?" Feinstein asked.
"Sen. Feinstein, I guess I’ll just have to let his words speak for himself," Sessions responded. "I'm not sure what was in his mind explicitly when we talked with him."
"Did you ever discuss Director Comey’s FBI handling of the Russia investigations with the president or anyone else?" Feinstein followed up.
"Sen. Feinstein, that would call for a communication between the attorney general and the president, and I'm not able to comment on that," Sessions told her.
"You are not able to answer the question here, whether you ever discussed that with him?" Feinstein wondered.
"That’s correct," Session confirmed.
Feinstein: "And how do you view that? If you discussed the termination, why wouldn't you discuss the reasons?"
"Those were put in writing [by Rod Rosenstein] and given to the president, and he chose to make them public," Sessions explained.
Feinstein declined to drop the matter: "So you’d had no verbal conversation with him about the firing of Mr. Comey?"
"Well, I’m not able to discuss with you, or confirm or deny, the nature of private conversations that I may have had with the president on this subject or others," Sessions said again. "I know how this will be discussed, but that is the rules... as you know, Sen. Feinstein."
"It would be easy to say yes if it was yes, but both [answers] would be improper," Sessions concluded.