CNN’s John King Suggests Sessions’ Private Hearing Is ‘Obstruction of Justice’

When Washington, DC woke up Sunday morning, politicos were greeted with the news that Attorney General Jeff Sessions was going to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee. It would be a change of plans since Sessions was scheduled for a public hearing in front of the Senate Budget Committee, where he was expected to be pelted with Russia questions. It’s the Intelligence Committee that is handling the Senate’s Russia investigation, but according to CNN’s John King on Inside Politics, a private hearing could be an “obstruction of justice.”

But as we speak this Sunday morning, he was scheduled to testify publicly before budget committees where he would be asked these questions,” King asked to his stacked panel of liberal journalists. “Do we know if he now say: “I'm not going to do that, I'm sending my deputy. I'll go to the Senate Intelligence Committee,” but will he do that in public or private?

CNN’s Senior Congressional Reporter Manu Raju stated that they didn’t know if it would be private, and just “assumed” it would be. “Can the Republicans allow that to happen,” King wondered. And with a shrug of his shoulders, Raju responded with: “They can. They have the power to.”

King continued to have a problem with the notion that the committee conducting the investigation should be the one to question Sessions. “But my question is what about the Republican brand, can they stand for this,” he demanded to know, before suggesting the change was to cover up a more nefarious plot. He was scheduled to testify publically-- I'll leave it to the lawyers to get into obstruction of justice-- but it's certainly an obstruction of accountability.

It’s an obstruction of the truth, if the Attorney General was scheduled to testify publically and then it’s allowed to somehow to pull that off the table and get it to private after serious questions were raised about the top law enforcement official in the United States' conduct,” King continued to rant. He was acting as though testimony in a private hearing wouldn’t be admissible in a proper court or be used to hold people accountable.

The New York Times’ Carl Hulse had his own hypothesis for why Sessions would choose to go before the Intelligence Committee instead of the BUDGET COMMITTEE to talk about Russia. “I think he—Sessions is making a calculation there that may be the intel committee is a little more friendly venue for him,” he explained to King. “He does have John Cornyn, Jim Risch, Tom Cotton, people he’s worked really closely with.”

Perhaps it’s not the possible actions of an actual court of law that King cares about, but instead, one the media could have some form of sway over. “Up next, who do you trust? Prosecutors have one standard but it's a very different standard in the court of public opinion, and that's a giant problem for the President,” he stated as he was going to a commercial break.

Is it true that Sessions felt like he would get a fairer shake in the Intelligence Committee? Possibly. Could it be because the Intelligence Committee is better suited to the levy questions about Russia against him? Again, possibly. The understanding that the Intelligence Committee is the correct venue for those questions seemed to have never crossed their minds.

The idea that it’s somehow an “obstruction of justice,” “of accountability,” or “of truth” is a demonstration of just how much King, the rest of the panel, and the media, in general, are craving a conviction. And if they can’t get it in an actual court of law, they’ll settle for the court of public opinion.

Transcript below:

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CNN
Inside Politics
June 11, 2017
8:03:48 AM Eastern

JOHN KING: Let me start with the question of Jeff Sessions. He is absolutely central to this. On the one hand here is the administration's chance to rebut Comey with a powerful witness. But as we speak this Sunday morning, he was scheduled to testify publicly before budget committees where he would be asked these questions. Do we know if he now say: “I'm not going to do that, I'm sending my deputy. I'll go to the Senate Intelligence Committee,” but will he do that in public or private?

MANU RAJU: We don't know that yet. We assume we were talking earlier, but we think he's probably not going to do this in public.

KING: Can the Republicans allow that to happen?

RAJU: They can. They have the power to. Will they accept it? We heard Senator Richard Burr, the chairman of the Intelligence Committee, who is frustrated with the lack of responsiveness from other witnesses before the Comey testimony will he want to hear from Jeff Sessions.

(…)

8:05:49 AM Eastern

KING: My question-- I'll come back to this in a minute, cause I want to get back to the President. But my question is what about the Republican brand, can they stand for this? He was scheduled to testify publically-- I'll leave it to the lawyers to get into obstruction of justice-- but it's certainly an obstruction of accountability. It’s an obstruction of the truth, if the Attorney General was scheduled to testify publically and then it’s allowed to somehow to pull that off the table and get it to private after serious questions were raised about the top law enforcement official in the United States' conduct. That would be a copout at a minimum.

CARL HULSE: I think he—Sessions is making a calculation there that may be the intel committee is a little more friendly venue for him. He does have John Cornyn, Jim Risch, Tom Cotton, people he’s worked really closely with.

(…)

8:25:48 AM Eastern

KING: Up next, who do you trust? Prosecutors have one standard but it's a very different standard in the court of public opinion, and that's a giant problem for the president.

CyberAlerts Congress Foreign Policy Russia Conspiracy Theories Labeling Political Scandals CNN Inside Politics Video Carl Hulse Jeff Sessions John King Manu Raju Donald Trump