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Al Franken Accuses Jeff Sessions of Perjury Over Denial of Russian Communications

Democratic Senator Al Franken ripped into U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Tuesday accusing him of "committing perjury" during his confirmation hearing.

Senator Al Franken (D-MN) speaks with President Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch at his office on Capitol Hill in Washington March 7, 2017.
Reuters

Democratic Senator Al Franken ripped into U.S.  Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Tuesday accusing him of "committing perjury" during his confirmation hearing.

“It’s hard to come to any other conclusion than he just perjured himself,” Franken said on CNN’s “The Lead.”

"Listen, I’ve been cutting him a lot of slack. I’ve been refusing to say that he lied. I wanted to wait for this letter to come out," continued Franken in reference to a letter Sessions wrote to Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley clarifying his testimony. 

"It’s not a clarification at all," he said. 

"My answer was correct," Sessions wrote in the letter, referencing his reponses at the confirmation hearing where he denied having contacts with Russian officials during the course of the presidential campaign when he was an adviser to Donald Trump

Last week Sessions said he would stay out of any probe into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, wrote in a letter to Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley.

Sessions repeated that he spoke to Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak during the Republican National Convention in Cleveland in July, and again at his Senate office in Washington in September.

At a news conference on Thursday, Sessions said he should have said during the confirmation hearing that he had met with the ambassador in his role as a senator. The Washington Post first disclosed the meetings on Wednesday.

Many Democrats, who are pushing for a broad probe of ties between Trump campaign associates and Russian operatives, have called for Sessions to resign. Sessions, then a U.S. senator from Alabama, was a high-ranking player in Trump's 2016 campaign.

Sessions' denial of contacts with Russians had come in response to a question by Democratic Senator Al Franken about what he would do if reports of contacts between Trump associates and Russians were true.

"I did not mention communications I had had with the Russian Ambassador over the years because the question did not ask about them," Session wrote in the letter to Grassley, which he said was meant to supplement his January testimony.