Al Franken Tears Into Jeff Sessions Over Shifting Narratives on Russia Meetings

“By the end, we’re going to a 75-yard field goal.”

Bill Clark/ZUMA

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During a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Wednesday, Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) hammered Attorney General Jeff Sessions for claiming he could no longer recall the content of his conversations with former Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak, after he emphatically told lawmakers months ago that he never discussed campaign-related issues with Russian officials.

“How your responses morphed from ‘I did not have any communications with the Russians’ to ‘I did not discuss the political campaign’ and then finally going to ‘I did not discuss interference in the election’—that to me is moving the goal post every time,” Franken said. “By the end, we’re going to a 75-yard field goal.”

“Saying ‘I didn’t discuss interfering in the election is your last statement,’ that’s a very different bar than ‘I can tell you I did not meet with any Russians.'” he added.

Sessions then complained about about the length of time dedicated to Franken’s “improperly framed” questions. 

“So he gets to do about 10 minutes, improperly framing the subject, and I’m given a short chance to respond?” he said.

The intense line of questioning came during Sessions’ much anticipated hearing before the Judiciary Committee, where the attorney general repeatedly refused to answer questions about his conversations with Trump, claiming it was “well established that a president is entitled to have private, confidential communications with his cabinet officials.” He also angrily rejected some lawmakers’ claims that his shifting narratives proved he was not being candid with the committee.

Sessions, who denied meeting with any Russian officials during the campaign, was forced to recuse himself from the ongoing Russia investigations after previously undisclosed meetings with Kislyak were revealed. Watch the exchange here: 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EeUWZnTG5UM

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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