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Here are 3 things you should know before Jeff Sessions takes the stand

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UPDATE 11:22 a.m. EST:  Sessions will testify Tuesday in an open session.

ORIGINAL STORY:  Jeff Sessions surprised lawmakers on Saturday with his offer to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday. Members of the panel hope the attorney general can provide some insight into a Feb. 14 meeting in the Oval Office in which fired FBI Director James Comey said President Trump urged him to drop his investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

Here are the three things you should know before Sessions takes the stand. 


1. Public or private?

It's unclear whether Sessions' testimony will be public or private, and committee members are concerned that the attorney general is trying to avoid testifying publicly, CNN reported

Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) is among those worried that Sessions scrapped his previously scheduled appearances before the House and Senate appropriations committees -- in which he was expected to face tough questions about the Trump campaign's alleged Russia ties -- to avoid testifying in public.

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The Senate Finance Committee's ranking member Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore. questions IRS Commissioner John Koskinen on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, April 6, 2017. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) sent a letter to Warner, the ranking Democrat on the committee, and Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC), the panel's chairman, requesting an open hearing.

2. A 'problematic' recusal

Comey told the Senate Intelligence Committee that he had "problematic" information about Sessions' actions before the attorney general recused himself from the Russia investigation. Comey's testimony is raising new questions about Sessions' role in the probe before he stepped aside.

"It was a tantalizing clue that there may be other complicating issues connecting the attorney general to the ongoing investigation," Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE) said, according to Politico.

3. Tension with Trump?

Sessions' testimony follows reports that he offered to resign as attorney general amid tensions with Trump -- an offer the president refused. Sessions made the offer after telling Trump he needed the freedom to do his job, The New York Times reported.

Trump is reportedly unhappy that Sessions recused himself from the Russia probe, and has blamed Sessions for the difficulties surrounding his proposed travel ban on seven Muslim-majority countries, which has been blocked by the courts.

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