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National Govt & Politics
Four lines of possible questions for Attorney General Sessions
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Four lines of possible questions for Attorney General Sessions

Four lines of possible questions for Attorney General Sessions
Photo Credit: Jamie Dupree

Four lines of possible questions for Attorney General Sessions

It could be another intriguing day of testimony on Capitol Hill when U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions goes before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday afternoon, as Sessions is expected to face questions about his role in the firing of FBI Director James Comey, and the extent of any contacts that the former U.S. Senator had with Russian officials during the 2016 campaign.

Here are some possible lines of inquiry:

1. What was Comey referring to last week about Sessions? Questioned by Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR), Former FBI Director James Comey dropped a hint about some kind of information with regards to Attorney General Sessions and the Russia investigation, which Comey was convinced would lead to Sessions recusing himself from the Russia probe. "We also were aware of facts that I can’t discuss in an open setting that would make his continued engagement in a Russia-related investigation problematic," Comey said. What was that evidence? Did Comey relate that in a closed door session? Is there any way to ask about it in open session?

2. Did Sessions try to run interference for Comey with Trump? While Comey did not run to tell Sessions of his concerns over what the President supposedly said about the investigation of Michael Flynn, Comey did say he asked Sessions to shield him from Mr. Trump, worried by the President's phone calls and questions. Did Sessions remember that? Did he do anything after being asked by Comey? Does Sessions have a different recollection of what had been discussed?

3. Should Sessions have been involved in Comey's firing? This gets at the issue of the Sessions recusal from the Russia investigation writ large. Some Democrats say that recusal should have also applied to the Comey firing - since President Trump has made clear he fired Comey in part because of the Russia probe. "If, as the president said, I was fired because of the Russia investigation, why was the Attorney General involved in that chain?" Comey asked last week. He said he didn't have an answer. Democrats seem likely to hammer on this point.

4. Did Sessions have other meetings with Russian officials? This one has been simmering since confirmation hearings for Sessions earlier this year, as some Democrats have all but accused Sessions of perjury; Republicans say it's nothing close to that. Back on January 10, Sessions said, "I did not have communications with the Russians" - but the story wasn't so simple. This is the first time Democrats have had the chance to bring up the issue since that confirmation hearing.

Read More

News

  • In addition to computers, phones, software and other tech products, Apple has announced it will soon offer its own credit card: the Apple Card. >> Read more trending news  The tech giant introduced Apple Card, created in partnership with Mastercard and Goldman Sachs, at its “show time” services event Monday, in Cupertino, California, The Verge reported. Apple CEO Tim Cook touted Apple Card as, “the most significant change in the credit card experience in 50 years.' Apple Card will be available on all iOS devices in the Wallet app and is set for release this summer. Customers who want a physical card can get an optional “laser-etched titanium rectangle,” CNN reported. Unlike traditional credit cards, Apple Card comes with no card number, CVV security code or expiration date. Purchases are instead authenticated with a fingerprint or face-identification. The new card will also offer a rewards system known as Daily Cash, in which 2 percent of any Apple Pay purchase goes directly back to the Apple wallet as cash. The deposits are made daily, and the reward goes up to 3 percent for purchases of Apple products and down to 1 percent for purchases made with the physical card, according to CNN. Apple said the card has no late fees or increased interest rates for late payments, but The Verge noted, “We’ll read the fine details to see if there are limits.” Some speculate Apple Card is meant to encourage use of Apple Pay, which Cook said Monday is only accepted by 70 percent of U.S. retailers, as opposed to 99 percent of retailers in Australia. “They’re really nudging consumers toward using Apple Pay on a regular basis and not just as an occasional thing when a retailer allows,” Sara Rathner, a credit card expert at personal finance company NerdWallet, told The Verge. More information on Apple Card can be found here.
  • The price of vaping in Washington could soon skyrocket if a proposed 60 percent tax is passed by lawmakers. >> Read more trending news  'It's like being told, ‘We're going to put a new tax on your favorite pizza.’ No! Don't do that!” said Jim Music. Washington lawmakers introduced HB 1873. It would add a 60 percent tax to vapor products, which is similar to tobacco, KIRO-TV reported. Currently vape isn’t taxed. Vapor store owner Joshua Baba said vape is different than tobacco and the price hike would force many shops to close their doors. 'Sixty percent, we owe that to the state just all of a sudden? That's crazy. That does put me out of business,” he said. Standing in the rain, Monday afternoon a small group held signs and gathered to protest. “Those kind of numbers are scary to somebody. I go through a couple bottles of vapor juice a week and that's going to double my cost,” said Music. A new Washington State Health Youth survey shows e-cigarettes and vaping are on the rise. Thirty percent of high school seniors said they use vapor products, which is up from 20 percent in 2016. State Rep. Gerry Pollet proposed the House bill. He wants to see the numbers drop and believes a tax is the ticket. “E-cigarettes and vaping products are dirt cheap, you won't believe how cheap they are,' he said. “A pack of cigarettes in the state of Washington, on average, costs about a little more than $8. Vaping the same amount of nicotine will cost you about $2.' Lawmakers believe the tax will drop youth vaping by 25 percent. Others find that hard to believe.  “This tax isn't going to change where the kids are getting it or how they're getting it, but it is going to change, in a negative way, the lives of a lot of shop owners and a lot of product users that are fully in compliance with the law,” said Music. Pollet said the 60 percent tax would eventually raise as much $30 million per year. The money would be used to fund programs that work to prevent teens from vaping.
  • A Monday morning British Airways flight scheduled to fly from London, England, to Dusseldorf, Germany, accidentally went to Edinburgh, Scotland, instead. >> Read more trending news  The error has been attributed to an incorrect flight plan filed by WDL Aviation, which operated the flight on behalf of British Airways, USA Today reported. This led the pilot and cabin crew to believe the flight was bound for Edinburgh. Air traffic controllers followed the same flight plan and saw nothing amiss, British Airways officials told The Associated Press. Zsófia Szabó, a passenger on the flight, told CNN she noticed something may have been amiss when she saw mountains outside the cabin window instead of the “usual German landscape.” A coworker brought up Google Maps on their phone, she said, and noted the plane was in Scotland. 'When we landed there was a bit of a hilarious moment when the flight attendant asked for a show of hands for the people going to Dusseldorf, which turned out to be everyone,' Szabó said. The pilot apologized to passengers, then announced the plane would refuel and head to Dusseldorf. Most passengers didn’t seem mad about the situation and instead found it funny, Szabó said. Why an incorrect flight path was filed remains unclear. 'We are working with WDL Aviation, who operated this flight on behalf of British Airways, to establish why the incorrect flight plan was filed. We have apologized to customers for this interruption to their journey and will deal with them all individually. Customers are on route to Dusseldorf currently,” British Airways spokesman Chip Garner said in a statement. WDL Aviation said they’re also investigating the incident: “We are working closely with the authorities to investigate how the obviously unfortunate mix-up of flight schedules could occur,' said WDL spokesperson Joachim Schöttes. “At no time has the safety of passengers been compromised. We flew the passengers on the flight with number BA3271 to Dusseldorf after the involuntary stopover in Edinburgh.” The Associated Press contributed to this report.
  • In a move that has surprised some, mixed martial arts fighter Conor “The Notorious” McGregor has announced his retirement from the sport via Twitter. >> Read more trending news  “Hey guys quick announcement,” McGregor tweeted late Monday. “I’ve decided to retire from the sport formally known as ‘Mixed Martial Art’ today. I wish all my old colleagues well going forward in competition. I now join my former partners on this venture, already in retirement. Proper Pina Coladas on me fellas!” The 30-year-old fighter, originally from Dublin, Ireland, is a two division UFC world champion and two division Cage Warriors World Champion. He’s ranked No. 2 lightweight champion and No. 9 pound for pound champion in the UFC, according to Fox Sports. Yahoo Sports reported the announcement came as a surprise, and that McGregor may “just be trying to get an upper hand in a negotiation.” McGregor appeared Monday on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon and made no mention of retiring, MMA Fighting reported. He talked of fighting this summer. “We’re in talks for July,” McGregor told Fallon. “So we’ll see what happens. A lot of politics going on. The fight game is a mad game. But again, like I said, and to my fans, I am in shape and I am ready.” Some fans on Twitter seemed unconvinced of the news. “Last time he said this he fought twice in the next 6 months,” tweeted @BishopSportsNet. UFC hasn’t yet commented on McGregor’s announcement.
  • Now that the Gronk's officially hanging up his cleats -- fans are left wondering what he'll do next. >> Read more trending news  Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski announced on Instagram that he is retiring from football following the team's Super Bowl LIII win, ending his historic nine-year NFL career, Boston 25 News reported. What he'll do after is up in the air, though some say he might go down the wrestling road. In fact, he has dabbled in it before with an appearance at WrestleMania 33 -- stepping in the ring to help his real-life friend Mojo Rawley during the Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal. And many fans were hoping to see Gronk at TD Garden on Monday night, where WWE Raw was taking place. He did not make an appearance, but fans in Boston are excited to see what he'll take on next regardless a cameo at the Garden.  'Oh yeah he’s an entertainer,' said Patriots fan, Josh Lima. 'He’s funny, you know he’s either gonna be an actor or wrestler.' Public relations executive and Emerson professor, David Gerzof Richard, thinks Gronk sure has the personality and brand for it in his post-NFL career. 'He has his own brand of being the happy-go-lucky tight end, it's really leveraging that and with various people he is interacting with on both Instagram and Twitter and leveraging into what comes next,' said Richard.  Richard says sports stars in previous decades didn't have the social media star power -- or social media at all -- to build off of like Gronk. 'The worst thing he could do is go silent... and that is something I don't think we are going to see from Rob Gronkowski,' adds Richard. And his fans certainly hope he'll find a way to stay successful in the public eye. 'I think he should go into movies because he's a pretty funny guy and people look up to him,' said Patriots fan, Donte Tyler from Stoughton. Another fan thinks so too, and she thinks comedy would be the only way to go.  'I don't know about a serious ... maybe in a comedy or something,' another fan said. 'What would it be called? Maybe Adam Sandler and Gronk go on vacation.' As for the wresting, a WWE spokesperson gave no comment on any potential deals or announcements.
  • A metro Atlanta family said an airline crew told their two sons they’d have to get off a plane after a dispute over one of the boys’ severe peanut allergies, WSB-TV reported. >> Read more trending news  The boys were traveling from Atlanta to Manila, where their father is based on a temporary job, according to the news station. Rakesh Patel said his 15-year-old and 16-year-old sons were traveling by themselves after visiting their sick grandfather. The family told WSB-TV they let Delta Air Lines know ahead of time that the teen had a peanut allergy. Delta made sure that on the first leg of the flight, from Atlanta to Seoul, no peanuts were served, WSB reported.  However, things were different on the second leg of their flight. When the boys went to board their flight from Seoul to Manila on Delta’s skyteam partner Korean Air, the boys were told there would be peanuts served on board, the news station reported.  According to the family, the crew said they were not going to deprive other guests of peanuts and presented the teens with two options: deal with the peanuts or get off the flight.  When the son with allergies asked for another option, the boys were forcibly removed from the plane and stranded in Seoul, their father confirmed. They took a return flight to Atlanta, the family told WSB. Patel said he filed a complaint with the airline and asked for a refund.  In a statement, Delta apologized to the Patel family for the ordeal, “particularly during what is already a difficult time for them.”  “Delta and our partner Korean Air are communicating with the family and examining the processes surrounding this incident; we will use our findings in our work to create a consistent experience for customers flying Delta and our partner airlines,” the statement said. >> Trending: Giant alligator sneaks up on golfers, lumbers across links, plops down near 17th hole  A statement from Korean Air read, in part: “Korean Air is aware that peanut and food allergies are an industry issue and no airline can guarantee a food allergy-free environment. But we are reviewing ways to deal with this issue in a safe and feasible way. We totally understand the risks faced by passengers with nut and food allergies and will certainly try to accommodate them better in the future.”