Of all the people to get caught in the center of the storm surrounding the potential perjury charge against Attorney General Jeff Sessions, it’s a former Saturday Night Live cast member who asked the question that put Sessions in hot water. During his confirmation hearings, Franken pointedly asked Sessions if he’d had any contact with Russians, and Sessions flatly rejected any such notion.
Here’s the exchange again:
FRANKEN: OK. CNN has just published a story and I’m telling you this about a news story that’s just been published. I’m not expecting you to know whether or not it’s true or not. But CNN just published a story alleging that the intelligence community provided documents to the president-elect last week that included information that quote, “Russian operatives claimed to have compromising personal and financial information about Mr. Trump.” These documents also allegedly say quote, “There was a continuing exchange of information during the campaign between Trump’s surrogates and intermediaries for the Russian government.”
Now, again, I’m telling you this as it’s coming out, so you know. But if it’s true, it’s obviously extremely serious and if there is any evidence that anyone affiliated with the Trump campaign communicated with the Russian government in the course of this campaign, what will you do?
SESSIONS: Senator Franken, I’m not aware of any of those activities. I have been called a surrogate at a time or two in that campaign and I didn’t have—did not have communications with the Russians, and I’m unable to comment on it.
It’s hard to parse that in any other way except a lie.
“It’s hard to come to any other conclusion than he just perjured himself,” Franken told CNN yesterday. Franken believes Sessions lied, and he wants Sessions to come back in to answer for himself, but the committee chairman, Chuck Grassley, has denied Franken’s request.
Yesterday, Al Franken went after Grassley during the confirmation hearing of Rod J. Rosenstein, who is Trump’s nominee for deputy attorney general, insisting that Sessions return for more questioning.
Interestingly, Grassley didn’t so much deny that Sessions lied, but rather suggested that Sessions was subjected to a “gotcha” question.
Read the Q&A above, again. That doesn’t seem like a “gotcha” question, at all, which is probably why Al Franken was so pissed yesterday when he confronted Grassley, who ultimately banged the gavel to end the argument.
Franken is angry, and we are here for it.