Sessions, among the earliest high-profile backers of Trump's election campaign, appears before his former colleagues on Tuesday, days after explosive testimony by ousted Federal Bureau of Investigation director James Comey, whose removal he recommended.
In a letter on Saturday to Senator Richard Shelby, Mr Sessions said he had been scheduled to discuss the Justice Department budget before House and Senate Appropriations subcommittees but that it had become clear some members would focus their questions on the Russian Federation investigation.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who had agreed to testify this week before the Senate and House appropriations committees about the Justice Department budget, wrote the chairmen of the committees Saturday and said he was sending his deputy to testify instead.
In March, Mr. Sessions removed himself from any probe into alleged Russian meddling in the elections, but maintained he did nothing wrong by failing to disclose that he met previous year with Russia's ambassador.
Sessions said he wanted to appear before the panel to address questions about him that arose last week during former FBI Director James Comey's testimony.
Pressed on the Attorney General's "interactions with the Russians or his behavior with regard to the investigation, " Comey said Sessions "was very close to and inevitably going to recuse himself for a variety of reasons".
Sessions had been scheduled to discuss the Justice Department budget before a Senate panel chaired by Shelby. If, as the president said, I was sacked because of the Russian Federation investigation, why was the attorney general involved in that chain?
Comey has testified that he thought it was improper for his then-boss Sessions to have been excluded from that meeting, and he has said that he did not want to be alone with the president again to avoid the appearance of undue influence.
Sessions, who came under criticism for failing to report meetings with the Russian ambassador, wrote a letter Saturday saying he wanted to answer questions raised during former FBI Director James B. Comey's testimony on Thursday.
At the conclusion of a February 14 meeting in the White House, Comey testified, Trump urged everyone else but Comey to leave the Oval Office, including Sessions. "You can't run forever", Leahy said in a Twitter message to Sessions that also referred to "false testimony" by the attorney general about his contacts with Russian officials. Sessions had come under fire for failing to report two other meetings with the ambassador, but he says he recused only because he had worked so closely with Trump during the campaign. There had been some question as to whether the hearing would be open to the public, but the Justice Department said Monday he requested it be so because he "believes it is important for the American people to hear the truth directly from him". If that's true, Democrats on the committee are probably salivating at the prospect of grilling him on that topic, especially if they can find a way to do so in open session (looking at you, Kamala).