'Give me a break': Jeff Sessions wilts under grilling by Al Franken on Russia contacts
Sen. Al Franken and Attorney General Jeff Sessions (C-SPAN)

Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) faced off against Attorney General Jeff Sessions during a contentious hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

The Minnesota Democrat asked Sessions to explain why he continued walking back his denial of contacts with Russia during the campaign, and the attorney general sputtered.

"First it was, 'I did not have communications with the Russians,'" Franken said. "Which was not true. Then it was, 'I never met with any Russians to discuss any political campaign,' which may or may not be true. Now it's, 'I did not discuss interference in the campaign,' which further narrows your initial blanket denial about meeting with the Russians. Since you have qualified your denial to say that you did not 'discuss issues of the campaign with Russians,' what in your view constitutes issues of the campaign?"

Sessions proceeded to move the goalposts again.

"Well, let's say this without hesitation that I conducted no improper discussions with Russians at any time regarding the campaign or any other item facing this country," Sessions said.

The two men argued repeatedly about the time allotted for their questions and answers, and Sessions suggested Franken had insulted him by pressing him to explain answers from his confirmation hearing that turned out to be untrue.

"I don't have to sit here and listen to (this)," Sessions said, "without having a chance to respond. Give me a break."

He argued that his answers about serving as a Trump campaign surrogate were incomplete because he was tired from testifying six hours during his confirmation hearing.

"I felt a need to respond and I responded on the spot," Sessions said. "It's been six hours in the hearing. It's at the end of the day, and I said I'm not aware of those activities -- and I wasn't and am not. I don't believe they occurred."