Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) said on Tuesday that he finds it hard not to conclude that Attorney General Jeff Sessions “perjured himself” during his Senate confirmation hearing.
“Listen, I’ve been cutting him a lot of slack. I’ve been refusing to say that he lied,” Franken told CNN’s Jake Tapper. “It’s hard to come to any other conclusion than that he just perjured himself.”
During his testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee in January, Sessions responded to a question Franken asked by saying that he “did not have communications with the Russians.”
Last Thursday, however, Sessions’ spokeswoman confirmed that he met before the election with Russia’s ambassador to the United States.
Franken said that he waited for Sessions’ letter on Monday night to the Senate Judiciary Committee to come out. In the letter, Session defended his responses under oath as “correct.”
“I did not mention communications I had had with the Russian Ambassador over the years because the question did not ask about them,” Sessions wrote.
“That’s a ridiculous response. It’s not a clarification at all. Of course the question didn’t ask about the Russian ambassador,” Franken told Tapper. “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.'”
“You think he perjured himself. What do you think the penalty should be, do you think he should resign?” Tapper asked.
“I think he should come before the committee and explain this,” Franken said.
Franken previously called on Sunday for Sessions to come back before the committee to “answer some questions.”
“I don’t want to go there and definitively say we should be prosecuting the attorney general,” he said at the time. “But I think the attorney general owes it to the Judiciary Committee to come back and explain himself.”