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Franken: Sessions ‘perjured himself’

Sen. Al FrankenAlan (Al) Stuart FrankenGOP lawmaker once belittled sexual harassment: 'How traumatizing was it?' Meet the man poised to battle Dems from the White House Minnesota GOP Senate candidate compared Michelle Obama to a chimp in Facebook post MORE (D-Minn.) said Tuesday he thinks Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsBeto O'Rourke on impeachment: 'There is enough there to proceed' Rosenstein to appear for House interview next week Emmet Flood steps in as White House counsel following McGahn departure MORE committed perjury during his confirmation hearing.

“It’s hard to come to any other conclusion than he just perjured himself,” Franken said on CNN’s “The Lead.”

Franken, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, reiterated Democrats' calls for Sessions to appear before the Senate panel "and explain this."

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The Democratic senator said he was dissatisfied by a letter Sessions sent his committee on Monday explaining why he did not disclose his past talks with Russia’s ambassador.

“Listen, I’ve been cutting him a lot of slack,” he said of Sessions. "I’ve been refusing to say that he lied. I wanted to wait for this letter to come out.”

Franken called Sessions's letter "a ridiculous response."

"It’s not a clarification at all," he said.

Sessions on Monday defended his decision not to mention his prior talks with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak during his confirmation hearing after it was revealed last week that he twice spoke with Kislyak during last year's campaign.

Sessions was pressed by Franken during his confirmation hearing in January about Trump campaign contacts with Russian officials. At the time, Sessions was an Alabama senator and a high-profile ally of Trump's campaign.

“I did not mention communications I had had with the Russian ambassador over the years because the question did not ask about them," Sessions insisted Monday.

“My answer was correct,” Sessions added in a letter to the Judiciary Committee, explaining his testimony under oath.

Sessions said he “does not recall any discussions with the Russian ambassador, or any other representative of the Russian government, about the campaign.”

The attorney general said he would sit out any federal investigations into Russia's intervention in the election following bipartisan criticism over his unreported calls with Moscow's ambassador to the U.S.

Sessions’s recusal reportedly angered Trump, who felt his attorney general did not need to distance himself from probes tied to Russia and his campaign.