President Trump’s pick for FBI director, Christopher Wray, is appearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee this week as a part of his confirmation hearings. On Wednesday, he was questioned by Democratic Senator Al Franken, and the Senator used his time “at bat” to put the Trump Administration in its place over the recently revealed meeting between Donald Trump Jr., Kremlin-connected lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya, and others.
In defense of the meeting, Trump Jr.’s allies have repeatedly pointed to a report from earlier this year that details efforts from Ukrainian leadership to hand off information about the Trump campaign’s suspected collusion with Russia to tip the election.
Senator Al Franken, however, maintains that the comparison of what this POLITICO report describes to what Trump Jr. did in meeting with Veselnitskaya is a false equivalency.
Part of the Ukraine-connected effort to help Hillary Clinton undermine Donald Trump’s presidential campaign revolves around the work of a longtime Democratic operative Alexandra Chalupa, who worked as a consultant for the DNC up to July 2016. She carried out research during her time at the DNC seeking to connect then-Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort to pro-Russia political forces in the Ukraine.
Franken, however, maintains that the equivalency of this to the Trump campaign’s connections to Russia that some on the right seek to maintain is false.
He said to Wray on Wednesday:
‘I don’t know about the article, the January POLITICO article, that suggested that someone in the Ukraine wanted to pass some information off to the Clinton campaign. But I think I know the answer to this. I think you know the answer to the question. Did the Ukraine — Ukraine, rather — hack the RNC’s database? Did they hack Kellyanne Conway? Did the Clintons want to build a hotel in Kiev? I think there’s a big difference here, and we know what Russia did.’
Franken’s questions were left unanswered. As he himself noted, he thinks that Wray, and all other observers, know the answers. Colluding with a foreign power seeking to illegally undermine the presidential candidacy of a political opponent of theirs is different from receiving information that concerns illegal activity.
As Franken noted in his questioning, this issue isn’t going away anytime soon, because “2018 will be upon us soon and we don’t want this to happen again.”
Watch Franken question Wray in the video below.
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