Donald Trump’s attorney general will be forced to explain in public whether he has covered up any more meetings with Russian officials when he gives evidence under oath before Senators tomorrow.
It means another week of potentially damaging headlines for an embattled President facing neverending questions about who in his inner circle was in touch with Russian government figures at a time when the Kremlin had ordered cyberattacks on the US presidential election.
Jeff Sessions, the attorney general, was forced to recuse himself from the Justice Department investigation when it emerged he had failed to disclose two meetings with the Russian ambassador to Washington.
Questions intensified last week when James Comey, the former FBI director, hinted the investigation may have uncovered further contacts.
A spokeswoman for the Justice Department said Mr Sessions had asked for the hearing to be held in public.
Sarah Isgur Flores said. “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.”
Mr Sessions was one of Mr Trump’s earliest supporters when the billionaire decided to run for president. His views on immigration were influential in shaping the election campaign.
However, their relationship has reportedly frayed in recent weeks. Leaks suggest the President was furious when Mr Sessions stepped away from the Russia investigation, interpreting the move as a sign of disloyalty.
His appearance comes before the fallout has settled on Mr Comey’s bombshell session before the same Senate panel last week.
Mr Comey described how he felt pressure from Mr Trump to drop a probe into former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn’s contacts with Russia.
Mr Comey’s remarks drew an angry response from the President on Friday accusing Mr Comey of lying.
For his part, Mr Sessions will face questions about why he did not prevent the President button-holing the FBI director and whether he knows of any tapes of White House conversations
Mr Trump’s aides have dodged questions about whether conversations relevant to the Russia investigation have been recorded, and so has the president.