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Franken writes: "That's one of the reasons that Attorney General Jeff Sessions used to justify his decision to fire former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe last week, just two days before Mr. McCabe was set to retire from a distinguished 21-year career with the Bureau."

Al Franken. (photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Al Franken. (photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Lack of Candor

By Al Franken, Al Franken's Facebook Page

24 March 18


hat’s one of the reasons that Attorney General Jeff Sessions used to justify his decision to fire former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe last week, just two days before Mr. McCabe was set to retire from a distinguished 21-year career with the Bureau. Ironic, because, as you may recall, Jeff Sessions has repeatedly demonstrated a lack of candor – under oath – about his own interactions with Russians.

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.

The Attorney General has a different version of this exchange. He said he was “taken aback” by my question and that in retrospect, he should have slowed down and been more forthcoming about his meetings. Now, I’m no lawyer, but it’s not a good sign if the man nominated to be our nation’s top prosecutor is so easily flummoxed by a straightforward question.

But in the weeks and months that followed, as Attorney General Sessions was called before congressional committees to explain himself, try as he might, he just couldn’t manage to set the record straight. His explanation of his own Russian contacts continued to shift – from “I did not have communications with the Russians” to “I did not meet with any Russians to discuss any political campaign” to the Justice Department asserting that Sessions “did not discuss interference in the campaign” with any Russians.

When I asked him in an October hearing whether he believed that other Trump campaign surrogates communicated with the Russians, Attorney General Sessions said no. “I’m not aware of anyone else that did, and I don’t believe it happened,” he said.

“And you don’t believe it now?” I asked, slightly slack-jawed.

“I don’t believe it happened,” he answered. Never mind that at that point in time, the public already knew about meetings between Russians and Michael Flynn, Russians and Paul Manafort, Russians and Jared Kushner, and Russians and Donald Trump, Jr. – all Trump campaign surrogates.

And never mind that Sessions attended a March 31, 2016 foreign policy meeting at which George Papadopoulos raised his connections with Russians and offered to set up a meeting between Trump and Putin. Sessions first said he didn’t recall the Papadopoulos meeting, then testified that he “pushed back” on the Papadopoulos suggestion of Trump meeting Putin and now three sources have said Sessions didn’t push back on this suggestion. More candor problems.

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. your social media marketing partner


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+68 # Thomas Martin 2018-03-24 18:18
It's powerful to read Sen. Franken's recounting of questions he and others posed to Jeff Sessions in multiple congressional hearings, and to see so clearly how Sessions has perjured himself over and over again. I look forward to justice being done with regard to Jeff Sessions!
+30 # angelfish 2018-03-24 18:19
The ENTIRE ReTHUGlican Regime these days is FILLED with Irrational. Vindictive, Hateful, and Spiteful men and women whose Ignorance is beyond measure, starting from the Top on DOWN! There isn't even a pretense at being the least bit Patriotic or Careful of this country's needs or what it TAKES to keep a Government this size functioning! They just DON'T give a SH*T, it's as Plain and Simple as that! Candor is the LEAST of their deficits as evidenced by the Revolving Door Policy they have instituted re: Hiring and firing in the White House these days. Run by a Moron, how ANYONE expected Sanity to rise out of THOSE Ashes is Miraculous in it's Hope and Laughable in it's Reality! The Lunatics are now in charge of the Asyum with NO hope of Justice returning, UNLESS Special Prosecutor Mueller is allowed nay, MANDATED to finish his Investigation into these Ignorant Self-Serving Miscreants! God Bless and SAVE us from the Knuckle-Dragger s currently holding Sway, may he deliver unto them the Coup de Gras they seem SO eager to deliver unto US!
+31 # rxfxworld 2018-03-24 18:33
Franken 2020.
# Never Gillibrand
+15 # librarian1984 2018-03-25 08:40
Sanders 2020
+33 # boredlion 2018-03-24 18:35
Hey Al,
I keep trying to cajole and persuade you - Please run for President in '20! Or, for something! Listen to me - we've most of us forgiven you for 'the Al Franken decade!' (the 1980s). It was great while it lasted !
+2 # boredlion 2018-03-24 18:39
Also, Al : Think about getting off of Facebook, eh?
+38 # MidwestDick 2018-03-24 18:43
You owe it to your Country to run for something. For instance, we are in a bind on the net neutrality issue and on this subject your voice is so important.
You got lucky with this Sessions thing because you represent (very well!)a particular faction that is interested in the issues you carved out for yourself. I am proud to include myself in this cohort.
Come back, please, we need you.
We need you.
Please, come back.
+43 # RoyGBiv 2018-03-24 18:52
I remember it well Al. I was eagerly awaiting your follow through on this entire investigation, but alas you got sabotaged by Leeann and the Fox conglomerate. Metoo was invoked and the Dems looked no further than the “Human Stain” of accusation, and we lost one of our best warriors in the Senate. Thank you for your service and for this reminder.
+39 # diamondmarge7 2018-03-24 18:56
I've long since forgiven u for whatever u did/not do re women.
I hope to God u run again to represent the people of MN. Your candor is SORELY NEEDED to counterbalance the venal, corrupt, hold-onto-a-plu m-job @ any cost [forget integrity because the Rethuglicans HAVE NONE.
-27 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2018-03-24 19:25
Franken's point about Session's "lack of candor" is correct. He was trying to mislead the senate and obfuscate the point.

But that is something very different from the charge made against McCabe. "Lack of candor" in McCabe's case is really lying under oath when the DOJ does not intend to file criminal charges and prosecute the offender. It is just like the Clinton email report which contained the language "extreme carelessness" in the final draft but "gross negligence" in the original draft. The former is not a crime and can be excused. The later is criminal and the DOJ must file criminal charges.

The DOJ did not intend to file criminal charges against McCabe so the milder language was used in the IG report. In Flynn's case, charges were filed so lying to a federal agent was stated forcefully.

If the senate wants to hold Sessions in contempt for lying to them, it should do that. It has the power.

McCabe was let off easy. He may still face criminal charges. This instance was just to get him out of the the FBI with a negative mark on his record. Criminal charges and prison are coming.

It does not help Franken to intentionally look stupid and pretend he does not know why lighter terms are used.
+7 # Porfiry 2018-03-25 16:31
Who's looking stupid here?
0 # librarian1984 2018-03-26 16:01
Um ... you?
+1 # librarian1984 2018-03-28 13:41
Lol. Still pretty sure it's you.
+21 # economagic 2018-03-24 19:51
Hypocrisy is about the BEST anyone will get out of these vandals, whose currency is outright lies and spur-of-the-mom ent fabrication.
+14 # Jazzbo 2018-03-24 20:16
Well, of course, Sessions is a liar. (He's also not very smart.) But when Trump fires him, he'll be able to appoint an AG who is willing to fire Mueller. Is that a desirable outcome?
+21 # Texas Aggie 2018-03-24 20:31
"I don't recall."
"I don't recall."
"I don't recall."
"I don't recall."
"I don't recall."
+10 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2018-03-25 11:46
Sometimes I feel like going out and committing a crime just so I could say "I don't recall" a hundred times to the investigators. Do you think I'd get off like all the politicians do? Not likely. I'd be rotting in jail.
0 # yolo 2018-03-27 10:06
Hitler was once asked "what is the purpose of law in a fascist state?" Hitler replied that the purpose of law in a fascist state was to have so many of them that anyone, no matter how loyal to the Fürher, would have to violate one in order to comply with another. This made all citizens arrestable at any time.
+12 # wleming 2018-03-25 10:43
A "lack of candor" from a man and a regime thats as riddled with Lies and Deceit as anything in American history? Please remember that if the rock were to be lifted and these people come clean-- all of them would go to jail. Our first cabinet to serve the President from a cell next to his....BRAVO
+15 # Allears 2018-03-25 11:42
If you lie repeatedly I guess you construct your own truth and don't live in reality any more. The whole country is sucked in to this imaginary kingdom. There seems to be no one with the power to pierce the bubble, to break the curse. So many try, giving it their all..but the fragmentation of society, purposely fragmented to weaken its power, cannot provide the protection, nor the cohesion necessary to exercise the necessary power to get back to reality. It's an ongoing bad fairy tale, with no end in near sight. But most likely it will eventually implode, under the weight of its own incoherent construction.
+5 # Observer 47 2018-03-26 13:26
Extremely well put!
+2 # Bruce Gruber 2018-03-26 15:27
It is so obvious why GOP (and DNC) big donor sycophants were so eager to use Frankin’s entertainment comedic displays to remove him from the Senate. His clarity, independence, and effectiveness in exposing evasiveness and misrepresentati on - by BOTH parties - could not be allowed to embarrass the ’insider’ cult of monied pretense.

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