Sunday, September 23, 2018
Politics

Sessions will testify in open hearing before Senate Intelligence Committee

WASHINGTON — Attorney General Jeff Sessions will testify in a hearing before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday, and it will be open to the public, according to the committee's leaders.

Sessions will be testifying before Congress for the first time since he was confirmed as attorney general in February. In light of former FBI director James Comey's testimony last week, Sessions is expected to get many questions from lawmakers about his contacts with Russian officials during the 2016 election campaign.

Comey said last week that the bureau had information about Sessions — before he recused himself from overseeing the investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election — that would have made it "problematic" for him to be involved in the probe. The former director did not elaborate in public on the nature of the information.

Justice Department spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Flores said Sessions requested that the committee hearing be public.

"He believes it is important for the American people to hear the truth directly from him and looks forward to answering the committee's questions tomorrow," said Flores.

The hearing will be held Tuesday at 2:30 p.m.

Sessions, who had agreed to testify this week before the Senate and House appropriations subcommittees about the Justice Department budget, wrote the chairmen of the committees Saturday and said he was sending his deputy to testify instead. He asked to testify instead before the Senate Intelligence Committee, but it had been unclear whether that hearing would be open to the public.

To accommodate schedules, the hearing will be held at the normal time that the Senate Intelligence panel meets each Tuesday.

Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., and Sessions negotiated details of the hearing directly, according to aides familiar with their talks. While the hearing will be held in public, there has been no time scheduled — at least as of Monday morning — for Sessions to stick around and testify in a closed hearing to discuss classified matters, according to those aides, who were not authorized to speak publicly on the matter.

While several committee members, including Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Angus King, I-Maine had voiced support for a public hearing, other members have complained that doing so will inevitably lead to a brick wall, where Sessions will say he cannot discuss certain matters in public. That prompted at least some members of the committee to push for a closed hearing, or at least some allotted time to meet with Sessions privately after the public forum, aides said.

In early March, the Washington Post reported that Sessions twice met with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak during the campaign and did not disclose that to the Senate Judiciary Committee during his confirmation hearing in January. The next day, Sessions recused himself from the Russia investigation and said it would be overseen by his deputy attorney general, who last month appointed a special counsel to handle the probe.

Several lawmakers, especially Democrats asked the leaders of the committee to insist it be open to the public and the press.

"I urge that the Committee hold a hearing with the Attorney General in the open so that the American people can hear for themselves what he has to say with regard to connections to the Russians and the President's abuse of power," wrote Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., on Sunday.

Comments

AP source: Kavanaugh, Ford agree to testify on Thursday

WASHINGTON — Negotiators reached a tentative agreement Saturday for the Senate Judiciary Committee to hear testimony Thursday from Christine Blasey Ford, the woman accusing Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault from decades ago, two...
Published: 09/22/18

Trump administration aims to sharply restrict new green cards for those on public aid

WASHINGTON — Trump administration officials announced Saturday that immigrants who legally use public benefits like food assistance and Section 8 housing vouchers could be denied green cards under new rules aimed at keeping out people the administrat...
Published: 09/22/18
Dana Young, Janet Cruz spar over guns, schools, environment in crucial Senate race

Dana Young, Janet Cruz spar over guns, schools, environment in crucial Senate race

TAMPA — During a showdown Friday in Florida’s most hotly contested state Senate race, Democratic challenger Janet Cruz launched fireworks at Dana Young over education funding, the environment and guns.Young, the Republican incumbent in District 18, r...
Published: 09/21/18
Confederate group banned from Temple Terrace country club, may take legal action

Confederate group banned from Temple Terrace country club, may take legal action

TEMPLE TERRACE — After complaints from city residents, the Temple Terrace Golf & Country Club has notified the City Council that it will not rent space again to the Sons of Confederate Veterans for its annual banquet.The country clubȁ...
Published: 09/20/18
Carlton: Should felons who have done their time get to vote? Citizens of Florida, it’s in your hands

Carlton: Should felons who have done their time get to vote? Citizens of Florida, it’s in your hands

It’s not often that we citizens — busy with work, paying the bills, living our lives — find ourselves with the power to right a fundamental wrong.But here in Florida, we’re about to get that chance.On the November ballot — among all those candidates ...
Published: 09/20/18
Daniel Ruth: City owes Gonzmart and Princess Ulele more than a notice of code violation

Daniel Ruth: City owes Gonzmart and Princess Ulele more than a notice of code violation

This has to be height of bureaucratic pettiness, especially for a city whose track record in promoting quality public art falls somewhere between stick figures and finger puppets.Richard Gonzmart is a community treasure. As the force behind a number ...
Published: 09/19/18
Romano: Florida’s dangerous prisons costing us more than money

Romano: Florida’s dangerous prisons costing us more than money

Two things you need to know about Florida’s prison budget:1. It was $2.3 billion this year.2. It was still not enough.Kind of staggering when you think of it that way, huh?We keep spending more and more on housing prisoners, and it’s like throwing mo...
Published: 09/18/18
Kavanaugh to testify after denying sexual assault allegations

Kavanaugh to testify after denying sexual assault allegations

WASHINGTON — Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh said Monday he was willing to speak to a Senate panel to "refute" an allegation he sexually assaulted a woman while in high school, after his accuser said via her attorney that she was ready to testi...
Published: 09/17/18
California professor, writer of confidential Brett Kavanaugh letter, speaks out about her allegation of sexual assault

California professor, writer of confidential Brett Kavanaugh letter, speaks out about her allegation of sexual assault

Earlier this summer, Christine Blasey Ford wrote a confidential letter to a senior Democratic lawmaker alleging that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her more than three decades ago, when they were high school students in subu...
Published: 09/16/18
Cuban refugee numbers plummet in Tampa area with cuts at Havana embassy

Cuban refugee numbers plummet in Tampa area with cuts at Havana embassy

It’s been nearly a year since the U.S. embassy in Havana suspended processing requests from people hoping to leave the island nation as refugees. The reason: Staffing was reduced to a skeleton crew in the wake of mysterious health attacks on em...
Published: 09/17/18