His staff said Sessions did not mislead Congress because the encounters were part of his job as a US senator, not as a Trump campaign representative. Mueller also won votes of support today from the top two Republicans in Congress, House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wisconsin and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, both of whom said they have confidence in him.
Rodman's current trip is his first since Trump, his former "Celebrity Apprentice" boss, became president.
Sessions said he recused himself from the Justice Department's Russian Federation investigation only because of a regulation to require the step because of his involvement in the Trump campaign.
Sessions, a former Republican US senator and an early supporter of Trump's presidential campaign, appeared before the committee just five days after Comey told the panel Trump ousted him to undermine the agency's investigation of the Russian Federation matter.
Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) asked Sessions later what exact policy prevented him from answering questions.
"I am protecting the right of the president to assert it if he chooses", Sessions told the committee. Mr. Comey well knew them, I thought, and assumed correctly that he complied with them. "Americans don't want to hear that answers to relevant questions are privileged".
Lankford said Sessions' testimony Tuesday will help flesh out the truth of Comey's allegations, including Sessions' presence at the White House in February when Trump asked to speak to Comey alone. Some say he perjured himself.
Senators questioned Sessions on his encounters with Russian ambassadors, why Comey was sacked, and if Russia colluded with Trump's campaign. It later was revealed he met twice with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, once as a senator and once as Trump's adviser before the inauguration.
He was asked about the event several times, and said at one point, "If any brief interaction occurred in passing with the Russian ambassador during that reception, I do not remember it".
Sessions lent his support to the special counsel, Robert Mueller, who is now in charge of the Justice Department's Russian Federation investigation.
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein says he consults with a career ethics official when questions arise about Attorney General Jeff Sessions' recusal from the Russian Federation investigation.
Following his announcement, reports surfaced that Trump was irate that Sessions had recused himself from any investigation.
At a separate hearing today, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, overseeing that effort since Sessions stepped aside, said he's seen no basis for firing Mueller, the former Federal Bureau of Investigation director he appointed as special counsel.
"Many have suggested that my recusal is because I felt I was a subject of the investigation myself, that I may have done something wrong", he said, stressing this was not the case.
Sessions did not say in the letter whether his appearance would be in public or behind closed doors. "When you're recusing yourself, you are stepping aside, and this sure doesn't look like that", he said.
The Trump administration sought to dampen speculation about Rodman's role by sharing details of its diplomatic efforts to win consular access and freedom for Americans held in Pyongyang.
Since then, lawmakers have raised questions about a possible third meeting at a Washington hotel, though the Justice Department has said that did not happen.
On the issue of his role in the firing of former FBI director James Comey after recusing himself from the Russian investigation, he cited 28 CFR 45.2 - Disqualification arising from personal or political relationship.
In recent days, Trump supporters such as Newt Gingrich and Rush Limbaugh have questioned if Mueller can conduct a fair inquiry.
Rosenstein, who has been on the job for six weeks, said only he could fire Mueller, and only if he found good cause to do so. Sessions requested an open hearing, though it's not clear what he will and won't address in his televised testimony.
Rosenstein said that if he fired Mueller, he would be required to explain it in writing. "I said I didn't meet with them". Susan Collins, R-Maine, a member of that committee, referring to the existence of any recordings. "I hope you can let this go".