Franken slams Cruz for ‘trying to impugn’ his record

Sen. Al FrankenAlan (Al) Stuart FrankenFranken targets senators from both parties in new comedy tour Al Franken on another Senate run: 'I'm keeping my options open' Andrew Cuomo and the death of shame MORE (D-Minn.) slammed Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzOvernight Health Care — Presented by Carequest — Colin Powell's death highlights risks for immunocompromised The Senate confirmation process is broken — Senate Democrats can fix it Australian politician on Cruz, vaccines: 'We don't need your lectures, thanks mate' MORE (R-Texas) Wednesday for accusing him of trying to disparage Sen. Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsTrump criticizes Justice for restoring McCabe's benefits McCabe wins back full FBI pension after being fired under Trump Overnight Hillicon Valley — Apple issues security update against spyware vulnerability MORE (R-Ala.) during committee hearings on his nomination to be attorney general. 

“Let’s talk about who is trying to impugn the record of another senator," Franken said Wednesday, ahead of the Judiciary committee vote. "I think Senator Cruz is trying to impugn mine."

Cruz charged that during the committee consideration of Sessions, Franken had accused the Alabama senator of misrepresenting his record of civil rights cases without any facts to back it up.

ADVERTISEMENT

Franken took Wednesday's committee meeting as an opportunity to set the record straight. 

He said it was Cruz who had misrepresented the facts by incorrectly stating that testimony provided in 1986 accusing Sessions of making racially insensitive remarks had been recanted. 

Senate Majority Whip John CornynJohn CornynCornyn raises more than M for Senate GOP Is the Biden administration afraid of trade? The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - After high drama, Senate lifts debt limit MORE (R-Texas) objected, calling it inappropriate to disparage a fellow committee member in his or her absence.

"Senator Cruz did the very thing Senator Cornyn is accusing me of doing," Franken responded.

"In my absence ... he personally went after me, he personally impugned my integrity. You didn't object then, did you?"

Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck GrassleyChuck GrassleyAnother voice of reason retires Overnight Health Care — Presented by Carequest — FDA moves to sell hearing aids over-the-counter McConnell: GOP should focus on future, not 'rehash' 2020 MORE (R-Iowa) allowed Franken to continue, but told him to leave out his attack on Cruz.

“You put the chairman in an awful bad position at this point, because I don't disagree with anything Senator Cornyn said but I'm not sure I want to rule anyone out of order," Grassley said. “Can you please leave personalities out of it?”

Franken continued, only to be interrupted with another objection from Cornyn, who said, “It would be a decent and honorable thing to do it in the senator’s presence.”

"Well get him here, but he'll have a tape of it" Franken said. 

Cruz's spokesman said the senator was in another meeting for part of Wednesday's proceedings and arrived in the middle of Franken's remarks -- which he did not address. 

The Senate Judiciary Committee approved Sessions 11-9 along party lines. His nomination now goes to the floor, where he is widely expected to be confirmed, given the GOP's 52-seat majority.