The Latest: Sessions won't say if he'll jail journalists

Courtesy of MGN Online
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WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Latest on Attorney General Jeff Sessions' appearance before the Senate Judiciary Committee (all times local):

1:45 p.m. CST

Attorney General Jeff Sessions is refusing to pledge that he won't seek to jail journalists for doing their jobs.

Under questioning at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing from Sen. Amy Klobuchar, a Minnesota Democrat, Sessions said he could not make that "blanket" commitment.

His position is a reversal of the stance taken by attorneys general in the Obama administration, who had said they would not seek to imprison members of the news media who were doing their jobs

The Trump administration has announced an aggressive crackdown on leaks of national security information to journalists.

1:30 p.m. CST

Attorney General Jeff Sessions says he can't say whether someone's citizenship is a reliable indicator of whether that person may be a terrorist.

Sen. Patrick Leahy, a Vermont Democrat, asked Sessions about that, noting that citizenship is at the core of the Trump administration's efforts to impose a travel ban.

The ban, which has been stalled by the courts, seeks to block the travel to the U.S. by citizens of seven countries, as well as some Venezuelan government officials and their families.

Yet Sessions did not directly answer Leahy's question.

Earlier Wednesday, Sessions said the travel ban is an important tool for fighting terrorism and that the Justice Department will continue to defend it.

11:50 p.m. CST

Democratic Sen. Al Franken is accusing Attorney General Jeff Sessions of “moving the goalposts” in denying his interactions with the Russian ambassador.

In a testy exchange, Franken confronted Sessions about his testimony in January, in which he said he had no communications with Russians. Sessions later had to recuse himself from the Justice Department’s investigation of Trump campaign ties to Russia after it was revealed he had conversations with the ambassador. Franken says his explanations of those interactions continue to change.

But Sessions, visibly frustrated and voice rising, called Franken’s line of questioning unfair. He says he answered the question as a surrogate of the Trump campaign. Sessions says he may have discussed Trump’s campaign positions with the ambassador but insists he did not have a continuing exchange of information with him.


10:45 a.m. CST

Attorney General Jeff Sessions won’t say whether he spoke with state officials who had threatened to sue the Trump administration if it did not end a program protecting young immigrants who were brought into the country as children and now living in the U.S. illegally.

During a Senate hearing Wednesday, Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., asked Sessions whether he discussed the threatened lawsuit with the Texas attorney general before President Donald Trump ended the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

Sessions says such conversations would be “work product” that should not be revealed. It was yet another line of questioning Sessions refused to answer. Lawmakers are asking about his role in ending the Obama-era program that protected hundreds of thousands of young people.

He also won’t discuss his private conversations with Trump, citing longstanding Justice Department tradition.