"I did not recuse myself from defending my honor against scurrilous and false allegations," Attorney General Jeff Sessions said.
Sessions told the Senate intelligence committee Tuesday he has never discussed with foreign officials — including Russians — "any type of interference with any campaign or election."
Sessions also said he has "no knowledge of any such conversations by anyone connected to the Trump campaign."
"The suggestion that I participated in any collusion, that I was aware of any collusion with the Russian government to hurt this country, which I have served with honor for 35 years, or to undermine the integrity of our democratic process, is an appalling and detestable lie," Sessions told senators.
Sessions also denied reports that he had a private meeting with the Russian ambassador during a Trump campaign event at the Mayflower Hotel in April 2016. He also said he doesn't recall any conversations with the ambassador during a reception held ahead of Trump's speech.
"Why don't you tell me? There are none, Sen. Wyden. There are none. I can tell you that for absolute certainty," Sessions told Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden.
The attorney general defended himself — at times fervently — when asked about this testimony from fired FBI Director James Comey.
"He was very close to and inevitably going to recuse himself, for a variety of reasons. We also were aware of facts that I can't discuss in an open setting that would make his continued engagement in a Russia-related investigation problematic," Comey told Wyden during his testimony before the Senate intelligence committee on June 8.
"This is a secret innuendo being leaked out there about me and I don't appreciate it. And I've tried to give my best and truthful answers to any committee I've appeared before," Sessions responded Tuesday.
Sessions testified that he met with a "senior ethics official" at the Department of Justice the day after he was sworn in as attorney general.
"From that point, Feb. 10, until I announced my formal recusal on March 2, I was never briefed on any investigative details [and] did not access information about the investigation. I received only the limited information that the Department’s career officials determined was necessary to inform and make a recusal decision. As such, I have no knowledge about this investigation as it is ongoing today beyond what has been publicly reported," Sessions said.