After yet another 2+ hour public hearing before the Senate Intelligence Committee on alleged collusion between members of the Trump campaign and Russian spies, we are still no closer to anyone providing a shred of tangible evidence as to the validity of such claims despite Democrats and the mainstream media dedicating virtually every waking moment to the express pursuit of such evidence. That said, it all makes for great, and neverending, political theater and below are the highlights from today's episode of the continuing insanity.
Sessions set an aggressive tone for the hearing by preemptively stating during his opening remarks that "any suggestion I participated in or was aware of collusion with the Russians is an appalling and detestable lie."
"Let me state this clearly, colleagues, I have never met with or had any conversation with any Russians or any foreign officials concerning any type of interference with any campaign or election in the United States, further I have no knowledge of any such conversations by anyone connected to the Trump campaign... any suggestion I participated in or was aware of collusion with the Russians is an appalling and detestable lie."
But perhaps no one did a better job of thoroughly dismantling the "Russian collusion" narrative than Senator Tom Cotton who pointed out, as have we on multiple occasions, that no one, including James Comey, has seen a single shred of evidence to suggest that Trump or any of his associates colluded with Russian spies to steal emails from Hillary Clinton or the DNC and/or to generally stage a coup in the United States.
"The very simple question that should be asked is 'did Donald Trump or any of his associates in the campaign collude with Russia in hacking those emails and releasing them to the public."
"That's where we started six months ago. We've now heard from 6 of the 8 democrats on this committee and, to my knowledge, I don't think a single one of them asked that question. They've gone down lots of other rabbit trails, but not that question."
"Maybe, that is because Jim Comey said last week, as he's said to Donald Trump, that on three occasions he assured him he was not under investigation. Maybe it's because multiple democrats on this committee have stated that they've seen no evidence thus far, after six month of our investigation, and 11 months of an FBI investigation, of any such collusion."
Cotton went on to compare the efforts that would have to be undertaken by the Trump administration to pull off the conspiracy alleged by the Left and mainstream media to a Jason Bourne movie.
Sen. Cotton demands to know how a US Senator could collude with Russians in a room full of people? Calls it something from spy fiction. pic.twitter.com/KjYRRDjWJi— PBS NewsHour (@NewsHour) June 13, 2017
On the topic of whether he ever met with Russian Ambassador Kislyak at the Mayflower Hotel, Sessions confirmed that Kislyak was present for the Trump speech and wouldn't rule out short, public exchange of pleasantries, though he had no recollection of such an encounter, but he did definitively confirm that he did not have any private conversations with Kislyak at the event.
Sessions, seeming to contradict earlier testimony, now says it's "conceivable" he had a conversation with Kislyak at the Mayflower. pic.twitter.com/9ydb5Frmdn— RogelioGarcia Lawyer (@LawyerRogelio) June 13, 2017
Sessions did get testy with Senator Wyden at one point when questioned about Comey's testimony last week that he expected Sessions to recuse himself earlier than he ultimately did. Those suggestions by Comey have since resulted in wild media speculation over whether Comey was in possession of undisclosed information that would link Sessions directly to the Russian interference investigation.
Sessions gets testy with Senator Wyden. pic.twitter.com/IygV4YjFAf— Keith Boykin (@keithboykin) June 13, 2017
Multiple democrats on the panel, including Senator Heinrich, accused Sessions of "impeding this investigation" by refusing to discuss the details of conversations he may or may not have had with the President....though they all seemingly forgot that time that Eric Holder was held in contempt of Congress for refusing to comply with an investigation into the "Fast and Furious" gun running scandal.
Sen. Heinrich to Sessions: “You are impeding this investigation” by not answering questions -- without a legal basis https://t.co/ctlKlQLrSN— Bradd Jaffy (@BraddJaffy) June 13, 2017
On whether he lingered outside the oval office while President Trump spoke to Comey alone because he thought it was inappropriate:
"Didn't seem to me to be a major problem....I knew Comey...could handle himself well."
Sessions denies lingering during Comey/Trump meeting: "didn't seem to me to be a major problem." "I knew Comey...could handle himself well." pic.twitter.com/1WFH5PrPQQ— David Mack (@davidmackau) June 13, 2017
Last week former FBI Director Comey testified that Sessions refused to respond when Comey approached him about not wanting to have direct 1-on-1 conversation with President trump. Sessions directly refuted that testimony by saying the following:
"I believe it was the next day that he expressed concern about being left alone with the President. That in itself is not problematic. He did not tell me, at that time, any details about anything that was said that was improper."
"I affirmed his concern that we should be following the proper guidelines of the Department of Justice and basically backed him up in his concerns and that he should not carry on any conversations with the President, or anyone else, about an investigation in a way that was not proper."
Of course, as Senator Mark Warner promised at the outset of today's hearing we're undoubtedly still in the early innings of the mass hysteria on this topic and will have the unfortunate pleasure of many more upcoming hearings where wild accusations will be tossed around all while no new facts are ever revealed.