Tuesday on CNN’s “The Lead,” while discussing the controversy over then-Sen. Jeff Sessions’ (R-AL) answers to questions about meeting with the Russian ambassador during his confirmation hearing to become attorney general, Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) said he now believes Sessions committed perjury.
Partial transcript as follows:
TAPPER: Since then it came out that he had actually met with the Russian ambassador twice although he said he did so in his capacity as a senator and not a campaign surrogate. President Trump even went on to say that, Sessions, quote, could have stated his response more accurately. Sessions yesterday amended his remarks to the committee saying that his answer was correct and that he, quote, did not mention communications he had with the Russian ambassador over the years because the question did not ask about them. what’s your response, Sir?
FRANKEN: That’s a ridiculous response. It’s not a clarification at all. Of course, the question didn’t ask about the Russian ambassador. I didn’t ask him — he answered a question that he asked himself, which is did I meet with any Russians, and he answered it falsely. He said, no, I hadn’t. So, this response — listen, I’ve been cutting him a lot of slack. I’ve been refusing to say that he lied. I’ve wanted to wait for this letter to come out. It’s hard to come to any other conclusion than that he just perjured himself.
TAPPER: You think he perjured himself. What do you think the penalty should be, do you think he should resign?
FRANKEN: I think he should come before the committee and explain this. Of course, no one asked him about the Russian ambassador. He is the one who volunteered that he didn’t speak to anybody and it turned out he had met twice with the Russian ambassador. Once a private meeting. And he had seven weeks to just notify us. This is about theRussiann government highjacking our election. And this is about whether there was any collusion in that interference by the Trump campaign. And it raises all kinds of questions. What do the Russians have on Trump? Why is he being so complimentary to Putin all this time? His son said in 2008 that we have a lot of Russian money coming into our operation or in our organization, our business organization. We need to see the president’s income taxes. He lied about that. He said you can’t release your income taxes if you’re under audit. Yes, you can.
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