Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) believes Attorney General Jeff Sessions misled him during a Senate confirmation about his contacts with Russian officials during the presidential campaign.
The Washington Post revealed late Wednesday that Sessions had met twice with the Russian ambassador to the U.S. while serving as a senator and campaign surrogate for the Donald Trump campaign.
“His responses to me weren’t accurate,” Franken told MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” “I would like to see him answer questions at a press conference and then we can decide whether he should resign or not.”
Franken had asked Sessions during his Senate confirmation hearings whether he knew of any contacts between the Trump campaign and Russia — and the Alabama Republican had volunteered that he had not.
“I asked him, there had been breaking news as we were recessing for a while in the hearings, (and) when we came back, it had broken that members of the Trump campaign had met with the Russians, and I asked him since he was — they were hearings from the attorney general, what would he do if he learned that members of the Trump campaign team had been meeting with the Russians,” Franken said. “He didn’t answer my question, which probably should have been, ‘I’d recuse myself.’ What he did was, instead he pivoted and said, ‘I was a campaign surrogate or considered one, and I never met with the Russians. That is, at best, extremely misleading, and here we are.”
Sessions now admits he spoke to the ambassador, but Franken isn’t reassured by the attorney general’s claims that he does not recall the subject of their conversation.
“If you don’t remember what you talked about, you don’t remember that you didn’t talk about the campaign,” Franken said.
Franken said there was something “hinky” going on with the Trump campaign and Russia, and he called on the president to turn over his tax returns to determine his ties to that nation’s oligarchs.
He said Sessions no longer had the credibility to oversee the Justice Department investigation into those alleged ties — and he said the attorney general and the White House should not be allowed to choose a special prosecutor.
“These are contradictory statements and he should immediately recuse himself from any of this,” Franken said.