Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) has stayed out of the spotlight and avoided making public statements or speaking to reporters since allegations of sexual assault were raised against him in November. Those allegations were questioned by many thanks to an infamous tweet by the infamous “dirty trickster,” Roger Stone, who appeared to predict Franken’s downfall before the first public accusations were ever made.
Now, Franken is breaking his months-long silence to speak out about allegations of criminal acts by yet another person who seems to have fallen on the wrong side of the Trump camp’s friends and enemies list. After Jeff Sessions very publicly fired former acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe, questions were raised about the veracity of the “lack of candor” charges cited as the reason behind his ouster just hours ahead of his scheduled resignation.
Speaking to supporters on Facebook, Franken laid out his thoughts on the truth behind McCabe’s firing.
Franken rehashed the exchange between himself and Attorney General Jeff Sessions during Sessions’ confirmation hearing, where the answers regarding Sessions’ contacts with Russian government operatives during the 2016 presidential campaign and transition period were later proven false and his explanation for those statements misleading.
‘During his confirmation hearing, I alerted then-Senator Sessions to a breaking report from CNN that there had been an ongoing exchange of information between the Trump campaign and the Russians. When I asked him what he would do as Attorney General if those reports were true, Mr. Sessions decided to answer a different question:
‘SESSIONS: “Senator Franken, I am not aware of any of those activities. I have been called a surrogate at a time or two in that campaign and I didn’t have – did not have communications with the Russians, and I’m unable to comment on it.”
‘That turned out to be false. Then-Senator Sessions had, in fact, met with Russian ambassador Kislyak at least three times during the 2016 campaign. I’d like to claim that I was three steps ahead of Sessions – that I knew Senator Sessions wouldn’t answer my question and would pivot to a lie that would ultimately lead to his recusal in the Russia investigation. I’d like to claim that but in all candor, I had no idea that was the moment that would lead to the Mueller investigation.’
After describing Sessions’ clear lack of candor during his very public hearing, Franken then laid out the case that the reasoning behind McCabe’s firing by Jeff Sessions is seems murky.
‘Fast forward to this week, when ABC News reported that nearly one year before Attorney General Sessions fired Andrew McCabe – allegedly for a “lack of candor” – Mr. McCabe oversaw an investigation into whether Attorney General Sessions himself lacked candor when he repeatedly misrepresented his contacts with Russians when testifying before Congress. That investigation was opened after my former colleague, Senator Pat Leahy, and I wrote to the FBI last year and requested that the Bureau examine the attorney general’s false statements.
‘That the attorney general would fire the man who was tasked with investigating him raises serious questions about whether retaliation or retribution motivated his decision. It also raises serious questions about his supposed recusal from all matters stemming from the 2016 campaign. But the fact that Attorney General Sessions would claim that a “lack of candor” justified Mr. McCabe’s termination is hypocrisy at its worst.’
Franken raises questions here about accusations that are already questionable due to Sessions’ and President Trump’s eagerness to end the Russian collusion investigation. Not only did McCabe authorize the investigation into the attorney general’s “lack of candor” in questions around those Russian contacts, he would also have been a key first-hand witness to the president’s alleged attempts to obstruct justice in that investigation.
It didn’t help that, on the same day McCabe was fired, Trump immediately began tweeting that the justification for McCabe’s firing laid out a clear case for the discrediting of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian collusion by Trump’s campaign team. All of these questions will remain unanswered until the promised Inspector General’s report, which has yet to be made public, describing the alleged offenses committed by McCabe is released.
Featured image via Getty/Bloomberg