Attorney General Jeff Sessions stonewalled in his Tuesday testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee. While he asked that the hearing be made public, he refused to answer some questions on the ground that it is the policy of the Justice Department not to discuss conversations with President Donald Trump.

The Washington Post contrasted his testimony with ex-FBI Director James Comey who was described as striking. Sessions looked nervous and shrunken, he also became defensive at times. Because the AG was evasive and skittish, Sen. Martin Heinrich told Sessions he is impeding the Russian investigation.

Multiple encounters with Russian ambassador

Sessions admitted his discussions with Russian Ambassador to Washington Sergey Kislyak were not substantive which left open the possibility he met the Russian official several times. Sessions, although he belied he had a third meeting with Kislyak, admitted he does not remember if he met the envoy at Mayflower Hotel. According to the AG, he was at the hotel in April 2016 to listen to a speech by Trump who was the Republican candidate at that time, not to meet Kislyak.

The AG insisted he never met Russians or any foreign officials about any type of interference in the 2016 election or campaign. He also said he was not aware of anyone in the Trump campaign who had conversations with Russians, Time reported.

Sessions said that suggestions he connived with Russia are an appalling and detestable lie.

His explanation about his recusal from the Russian investigation failed to satisfy the senators. Sessions said he recused himself from the probe not because he did something wrong. The AG pointed to the department’s rules that required recusal into an investigation of a campaign if the DOJ employee was an adviser to the campaign.

Fresh beginning for FBI

The AG, however, stuck with the official version of Comey’s termination by Trump as not being linked to the Russian investigation. But even if he recused himself, Sessions explained he still had to perform his duties as AG which included recommending to Trump to fire Comey. In his judgment, the FBI deserved a fresh start that is why he recommended Comey’s termination.

Sessions said it is not proper for the President to discuss a specific case with a cabinet member or high official. It was, however, what Trump did when he asked Comey to stop the investigation of former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.

The President, he said, is entitled to receive confidential communications and the AG’s best judgment about issues involving Trump. He said the remarks after he was accused of stonewalling for not answering questions about his conversations with the billionaire.