There were winners and losers from the Jeff Sessions' scheduled mid-June appearance with the Senate's Intelligence Committee (SIC), prominently aired on TV's principal news stations.
Sessions, the Trump appointee to the position of attorney general met with the SIC.
Interestingly, Sessions spent less than two and a half hours responding to questions on his reported ties, or lack thereof, to Russia, as well as his conversations with former FBI Director James Comey.
It provides great pleasure for this space's columnist to go into the winners' positions who expressed their opinions briefly, but covered with competence as television coverage was complete and uninterrupted.
Some from the Winners' Circle:
Maine's senator, Angus King (Independent) stole the show. Despite his move of appearing in the middle of the group of questioners, King zeroed in on why, exactly, "Sessions was invoking executive privilege and how there was absolutely zero legal reason" for that move. King likewise touched on a widely-circulated comment of Sessions' sharing conversations with Trump that seemed to "favor the administration."
In the mind of any viewer, the senator from Maine accomplished what he meant to execute as a legislature committee member without coming across as overly partisan and angry.
Tom Cotton, GOP, Arkansas. Those who are far from Trump sympathizers would be prone to call him a show-boater. He firmed up Sessions by way of asking him a question that the attorney general thanked him for. As the introduction of Cotton was said, he delivered what was dubbed a performance. Reportedly, Cotton showed he must be aiming for a national position which was more lengthy than his time with Sessions.
Martin Heinrich and Kamala Harris. Both are relative newcomers to the Senate. Heinrich, representing New Mexico, and Harris, California. Both senators showed scarcely any deference to Sessions, at least, during the schedule. Heinrich was quick to state, as he gave a firm look to Sessions: "You are impeding this investigation." On her part, Harris repeatedly interrupted Sessions as he tried to play four corners with her time, forcing the attorney general to admit: "I'm not able to be rushed this fast. It makes me nervous."
Jim Comey. Cotton called him theatrical. Then Sessions refuted, sort of...the conversation the two of them had, following the February 14 one-on-one with Trump was highlighted. Sessions failed to dispute the basis of Comey's earlier testimony. It was evident that when Cotton made mention of Comey, it was not objected to by Sessions. Another victory for Comey.
The Mayflower Hotel. The scene of many significant occasions. That Connecticut Avenue landmark in Washington, D.C. was all over the hearing. It was mentioned frequently during the session as a typical venue of the principal political organizations.
"Lingering." One question that came up: Did Sessions linger in the February 14 meeting at the White House where James Comey's presence was mentioned?
Losers. Definitely Sessions' numerous replies, i.e., "I don't recall." Most watchers of the Sessions' hearing would be unanimous in saying: "I lost count of how many times Sessions could not recall when a specific question was asked."
Some Administration officials from the ideological spectrum at times struggle in recalling specific details that could get them in trouble.
Listeners are bound to remark that not saying "no," is one way of saving those being interviewed by legislative committees.
Yet, not saying "yes" won't hold them to their statements. When one says he simply can't recall, a listener or an interrogator can never insist.
But if later developments will show up and that a testimony will prove that the answer wasn't right, the speaker could be considered a liar or a prevaricator.
One expression, executive privilege: Sessions was quoted prior to his appearance at the Senate hearing in reference to the possibility that Trump might invoke executive privilege.
Sessions was quick to state that President Trump has executive privilege.
Researchers continue to refer to Comey, the former FBI director's disclosures when he appeared at another Senate panel.
The question came up: Does the president have an 'executive privilege?
The answer: Yes. It is not written in the Constitution or federal law, but Congress and the courts have assumed that the president, who heads the executive branch of government, has a right and a privilege to maintain some privacy as he goes about his work. Just as the president could not tell the Supreme Court justice to tell him what was discussed in one of their private conferences, judges and senators cannot tell the president he must disclose what he discussed in the Oval Office.
Typically, legal privileges are invoked by people who have evidence or documents that someone else is seeking. By invoking their privilege, they are saying they are refusing to turn over the material.
The hearing which featured Attorney General Sessions was over, but far from the desired results.
As most onlookers surmised, owing to the fact that he is the head of the Department of Justice, Sessions was expected to tell the truth.
Headlines of dailies the next day were full of negative commentaries that the attorney general of the United States did not deserve his appointment. Exhibit A was the scheduled appearance of the newly-appointed top justice official. Most listeners, it goes without saying, expected more and much more. Instead, he used a trite expression hardly anticipated in
"I do not recall," was the main ingredient of the Sessions' response to nearly all of the questions that came to the fore.
Was the above-mentioned response what was expected to be uttered many a time by the nation's attorney general?