Franken slams Cruz for ‘trying to impugn’ his record

Sen. Al FrankenAlan (Al) Stuart FrankenNelson campaign to donate K from Al Franken group to charity Sexual assault is not a game — stop using women to score political points Election Countdown: Trump confident about midterms in Hill.TV interview | Kavanaugh controversy tests candidates | Sanders, Warren ponder if both can run | Super PACs spending big | Two states open general election voting Friday | Latest Senate polls MORE (D-Minn.) slammed Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzViral video shows O’Rourke air-drumming to the Who’s ‘Baba O’Riley’ after Cruz debate Five takeaways from Cruz, O'Rourke's fiery first debate NY Times, McCabe give Trump perfect cover to fire Rosenstein, Sessions MORE (R-Texas) Wednesday for accusing him of trying to disparage Sen. Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsTrump distances himself from Rosenstein by saying Sessions hired him Gowdy: Declassified documents unlikely to change anyone's mind on Russia investigation Pompeo on Rosenstein bombshell: Maybe you just ought to find something else to do if you can't be on the team 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.

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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 CornynKey GOP senators appear cool to Kavanaugh accuser's demand Trump, GOP regain edge in Kavanaugh battle GOP mulls having outside counsel question Kavanaugh, Ford 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 GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyGrassley: Dems 'withheld information' on new Kavanaugh allegation Feinstein calls for hold on Kavanaugh consideration Grassley releases letter detailing Kavanaugh sexual assault allegation 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.