Franken fires back at Sessions after testimony
Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) accused Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Tuesday of willingly misleading senators during his January confirmation hearing and trying to brush aside the notion that he may have lied to lawmakers under oath.
Franken had previously asked Sessions in his confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee about contacts between members of President Trump’s campaign and Russia. Sessions, at the time, responded that he had never met or communicated with Russian officials during the campaign.
But it was revealed in February that Sessions did, in fact, meet twice with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak while he was a campaign surrogate for Trump. That revelation prompted the attorney general in March to recuse himself from the Justice Department’s probe into Russian election meddling.
“I believe he’s trying to downplay the gravity of and whitewash the fact that he misled the Senate Judiciary Committee under oath and failed to correct the record until he was forced to do so seven weeks later after reporting by The Washington Post,” Franken said in a statement.
Franken’s comments followed Sessions testimony on Tuesday before the Senate Intelligence Committee, in which the top law enforcement official categorically denied that he was involved in possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Moscow.
During that hearing, Sessions told lawmakers that he was was “taken aback” and confused by Franken’s question in January about potential contacts with Russian officials, saying that he “wanted to refute that immediately.”
Franken, however, called Sessions testimony on Tuesday “very unsettling” and tore into Sessions and other Trump administration officials for appearing “unconcerned” by the fact that the Kremlin sought to influence the 2016 presidential election.
“They seem to have collective amnesia about meeting with Russian officials during and after the campaign and only remember when they have been caught,” Franken said. “They are not acting like a group of people with nothing to hide.”
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