Sen. Al Franken said Tuesday it’s difficult to come up with any conclusion other than that Attorney General Jeff Sessions committed perjury when he failed to disclose during confirmation hearings he’d met with the ambassador to Russia.
During Mr. Session’s confirmation hearing, Mr. Franken asked what he would do as attorney general if it was discovered that someone within the Trump campaign communicated with the Russian government during the election.
“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 did not have communications with the Russians, and I’m unable to comment on it,” Mr. Sessions responded.
Last week, Mr. Session recused himself from any Justice Department investigation into alleged Trump campaign ties to Russia after it was revealed that Mr. Sessions met with the Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak in his Senate office last September.
Mr. Sessions said that two staffers attended the meeting with him and they “listened to the ambassador and what his concerns might be.”
“I don’t recall any specific political discussions,” Mr. Sessions said.
Speaking outside his office on Tuesday afternoon to reporters, Mr. Franken was asked if he thought Mr. Sessions perjured himself during their exchange.
“It’s hard to come up with any other conclusion,” he said.
Mr. Franken said he had wanted to reserve judgment until he saw Mr. Sessions’ follow-up letter to the committee correcting the record, but when he did review the letter, he thought it was “ridiculous.”
He noted that Mr. Sessions had seven weeks to correct the record, but he didn’t do so because the ambassador to Russia wasn’t specifically in the question.
“He answered a question I didn’t ask. If there was a gotcha question, it’s the question he invented to ask himself,” Mr. Franken said.
He called Mr. Sessions’ letter “absolutely ridiculous and contradictory.”
“I don’t understand how we’re supposed to draw any other conclusion unless he comes back. He should come back and talk to us,” Mr. Franken said.
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