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Sam Owens / AP

Pat Leahy, the top Democrat on the Senate Appropriations Committee, has accused Attorney General Jeff Sessions of trying to avoid questions about his interactions with Russian officials after Sessions announced he would not testify before Appropriations on Tuesday, and would instead appear before the Senate Intelligence Committee (it's not clear whether that appearance will be public). Leahy's tweets:

"Atty Gen. Sessions provided false testimony in response to questions from me and @SenFranken about his contacts with Russian officials. Now, twice in 2 mos., AG Sessions cancels an Approps hg in which I could Q him about his false testimony and half-hearted Russia recusal. My mssg to AttyGen Sessions: Approps & Judiciary have oversight of DOJ. You need to testify before both in public. You can't run forever."

The context: Sessions said during his confirmation hearings that he had not "contact with the Russians" during the campaign. It has since emerged that he had at least two undisclosed meetings with the Russian ambassador, with James Comey reportedly telling senators in a closed briefing last week of a possible third meeting.

Why it matters: The Democrats are out for blood, and Sessions is clearly in a vulnerable position. Expect them to use leverage similarly on others caught up in the Russia probe going forward — 'if you don't take our questions, we'll tell the world you must have something to hide.'

Go deeper

3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Trump to issue at least 100 pardons and commutations before leaving office

Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump plans to issue at least 100 pardons and commutations on his final full day in office Tuesday, sources familiar with the matter told Axios.

Why it matters: This is a continuation of the president's controversial December spree that saw full pardons granted to more than two dozen people — including former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort, longtime associate Roger Stone and Charles Kushner, the father of Trump's senior adviser and son-in-law, Jared Kushner.

  • The pardons set to be issued before Trump exits the White House will be a mix of criminal justice ones and pardons for people connected to the president, the sources said.
  • CNN first reported this news.

Go deeper: Convicts turn to D.C. fixers for Trump pardons

Schumer's m(aj)ority checklist

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

Capitalizing on the Georgia runoffs, achieving a 50-50 Senate and launching an impeachment trial are weighty to-dos for getting Joe Biden's administration up and running on Day One.

What to watch: A blend of ceremonies, hearings and legal timelines will come into play on Tuesday and Wednesday so Chuck Schumer can actually claim the Senate majority and propel the new president's agenda.

The dark new reality in Congress

National Guard troops keep watch at security fencing. Photo: Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

This is how bad things are for elected officials and others working in a post-insurrection Congress:

  • Rep. Norma Torres (D-Calif.) said she had a panic attack while grocery shopping back home.
  • Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) said police may also have to be at his constituent meetings.
  • Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) told a podcaster he brought a gun to his office on Capitol Hill on Jan. 6 because he anticipated trouble with the proceedings that day.