Matt Apuzzo and Matthew Rosenberg, reporting for the New York Times:
In the days since the dramatic congressional testimony last week by James B. Comey, the former F.B.I. director, numerous questions have swirled about the role that Attorney General Jeff Sessions played in Mr. Comey’s firing, as well as how much Mr. Sessions may be enmeshed in the bureau’s Russia investigation.
Senators will have the opportunity to confront Mr. Sessions about these topics on Tuesday, when the attorney general appears before the Senate Intelligence Committee. Members of the committee are expected to press Mr. Sessions about what he did — and did not do — after a private Oval Office meeting in February when President Trump reportedly asked Mr. Comey to end the F.B.I.’s investigation into Michael T. Flynn, the former national security adviser.
Mr. Sessions will almost certainly also be grilled on vague — and unsubstantiated — reports that he had a secret meeting with the Russian ambassador last year at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington. Mr. Sessions is expected to deny that the meeting took place.
Mr. Sessions initially told Congress that he had no contacts with Russian officials last year, but in March he was forced to acknowledge meeting the ambassador, Sergey I. Kislyak, on two occasions. A third meeting could prove devastating for the attorney general, who reportedly has already offered to resign.
The origin of the Mayflower story can be traced, according to several American officials, to raw intelligence picked up by American spy agencies last year that is now held at C.I.A. headquarters in Virginia. The intelligence appears to be based on intercepts of Mr. Kislyak discussing a private meeting he had with Mr. Sessions at a Trump campaign event last April at the luxury hotel.
Lawmakers have reviewed the intelligence — which remains classified — as part of the congressional investigations into Russia’s attempts to disrupt last year’s presidential election. Several news outlets have reported that Jared Kushner, Mr. Trump’s son-in-law and now a senior White House adviser, may have also attended the meeting.
But the intelligence has not been corroborated, several officials said. Unlike finished intelligence reports, which include assessments by government analysts about the credibility of the information, raw intelligence is merely transcripts of intercepted phone calls or information from human sources. Such information is generally treated skeptically until it can be confirmed by multiple sources.
Lawmakers from the House and Senate Intelligence Committees have read both finished and raw intelligence as part of their investigations.
“Some of it’s very compelling, and some of its import is unclear to me,” said Representative Jackie Speier, a California Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee.
The Justice Department and the White House have been deluged by questions about the alleged meeting at the Mayflower. Sarah Isgur Flores, a department spokeswoman, said she had spoken with Mr. Sessions and his former aides, scoured his schedules and reviewed a video of the campaign event for any sign that Mr. Sessions met with Mr. Kislyak, and found nothing.
“I’ve watched that video so many times,” Ms. Flores said.
In his testimony last week, Mr. Comey spoke vaguely about unspecified classified information that could further embroil Mr. Sessions in the Russia investigation. After a closed-door session with Mr. Comey after the public testimony, senators fueled speculation about a Mayflower meeting.
“There’s one meeting we don’t know about and people would like to know about it,” said Senator Joe Manchin III, Democrat of West Virginia.
During that hearing, Mr. Comey said Mr. Trump encouraged him in a private Oval Office meeting on Feb. 14 to end an F.B.I. investigation into Mr. Flynn, and repeatedly pressed him to publicly announce that the F.B.I. was not investigating him personally.