Sessions corroborated Comey's account, but he said he saw "nothing improper" for the president to meet alone with the Federal Bureau of Investigation director and that he advised him to follow Department of Justice protocols in communicating with the White House and the president.
Local 6 streamed the hearing live online.
The exchange centered on former FBI Director James Comey's testimony last week that a previously undisclosed issue related to Sessions may have made his recusal from investigations concerning President Donald Trump's campaign necessary.
Both said Trump asked Sessions and other officials to leave the room before he closed the door to meet privately with Comey.
Asked by senator James Risch, a Republican from Idaho, whether Sessions had heard "a whisper or suggestion or anyone making making reference within [the Trump] campaign that somehow the Russians were involved in that campaign", the attorney general responded "I did not".
The Justice Department subsequently released decades-old memos from its Office of Legal Counsel that it said supported Sessions' position.
Addressing allegations that he had unreported meetings with Russian officials while he advised the Trump campaign, Sessions said he had already acknowledged two encounters past year with Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. Sessions requested an open hearing, though it's not clear what he will and won't address in his televised testimony.
Whether Sergey Kislyak, the Russian ambassador to the U.S., was at a Trump speech that Sessions attended, or whether Sessions spoke to him.
He's been hounded by speculation over the possibility of a third meeting, with Democratic senators calling for an investigation.
Sessions said he did not recuse himself because he felt he was a subject of the investigation himself but rather because he felt he was required to by Justice Department rules. That was not so, he said.
Faced with statements by President Trump that he fired Comey in part because of the Russian Federation probe, Sessions stood by his argument that Comey had earned negative reviews due to the "stunning" way he handled the Hillary Clinton email investigation, saying Comey never should have spoken publicly about it during the 2016 election campaign. His insistence that there was no reason to recuse himself from the dismissal of Comey because it was due to Comey's improper handling of the Hillary Clinton's email case and not to end the Russian Federation investigation, as Trump himself said in a TV interview, was just not believable. Democrat Senator Dianne Feinstein asked Sessions. "I can tell you that for absolute certainty". "Wyden, there are none", Sessions insisted, his voice rising. You - this is a secret innuendo being leaked out there about me, and I don't appreciate it, and I tried to give my best and truthful answers to any committee I've appeared before, and it's really people sort of suggesting innuendo that I have been not honest about matters, and I've tried to be honest.
"And I'm not to be able to be rushed this fast".
Attorney general Jeff Sessions on Tuesday denounced as a "detestable lie" the idea he colluded with Russians meddling in the 2016 election, and he clashed with Democratic lawmakers over his refusal to detail his conversations with President Donald Trump.
Although Sessions backed Trump's campaign, he was also one of the first administration officials to fly into turbulence.
He said he would agree to dismiss Mueller only if there were a legitimate basis to do so, and an order from the president would not necessarily qualify.
Less than a week after two Republicans attempted to silence Sen.
Sessions said the decision to fire Comey was so as to have "a fresh start" at the FBI and had nothing to do with Comey's handling of the Bureau's Russian Federation probe. Comey said the president then leaned on him to halt an investigation into one of his top aides, former national security advisor Michael Flynn. And he advised the president as much, mainly for the way Comey handled the Hillary Clinton email investigation.
Asked by Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein if he had discussed Comey's handling of the Russian Federation investigation with Trump or any other official, Sessions said, "I'm not able to comment on that".
He said while Trump has not invoked executive privilege, he was seeking to protect "the right of the president to assert it if he chooses".
On another hot-button issue, Sen.
Sessions said his chief of staff was also in that conversation, and that Comey "mentioned no facts of any kind, didn't mention that he'd been asked to do anything that was improper".
He was far less convincing when he said he urged Trump to fire Comey because of poor performance on the job.
Would any such tapes have to be preserved?
"The assertion that I did not answer Sen".
Sessions answered, "I don't recall it".