WASHINGTON – Minnesota Sen. Al Franken is calling for Attorney General Jeff Sessions to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee following an anonymous report alleging Sessions discussed campaign-related matters with the Russian ambassador last year.
According to a Washington Post report citing anonymous sources, Ambassador Sergey Kislyak told his superiors in Moscow that he discussed campaign-related matters with Sessions during the 2016 presidential campaign, despite Sessions’ reports of the contrary. Franken says the report calls into question the honesty of Sessions, and wants the attorney general to return to the Senate Judiciary Committee.
In an appearance on CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday, Franken sided with Kislyak, saying it’s “more likely” the Russian ambassador was telling the truth.
“What I do know is what I read, which is that I guess someone in Kislyak’s position can sometimes distort what he says when he is reporting back to build himself up,” Franken told CNN’s Jake Tapper. “I also saw in those reports that Kislyak isn’t that type.”
“It seems to me that since Attorney General Sessions hasn’t been terribly truthful regarding these things that it’s more likely that what Kislyak was saying was the case,” Franken added.
Sessions reportedly met with Kislyak twice last year in his role as a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee. Sessions denies any discussion about the 2016 presidential campaign.
With the latest report, Franken said he “absolutely” wants Sessions to come back to the Judiciary Committee. When asked if Republicans agree with him, Franken pointed to Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA), saying he believes the top Republican sides with him.
“I think Chairman Grassley does want him to come back,” Franken said.
The senator is unsure when Sessions could appear again before the committee, questioning whether the upcoming closed-door hearings for Donald Trump Jr. and Paul Manafort takes precedence. When asked about the upcoming testimonies, Franken said the closed-door interview is not good enough, and Trump Jr. and Manafort should have to testify under oath.
Watch the full interview below: