'Give Me a Break': Jeff Sessions Wilts Under Grilling by Al Franken on Russia Contacts

Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) faced off against Attorney General Jeff Sessions during a contentious hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

The Minnesota Democrat asked Sessions to explain why he continued walking back his denial of contacts with Russia during the campaign, and the attorney general sputtered.

“First it was, ‘I did not have communications with the Russians,'” Franken said. “Which was not true. Then it was, ‘I never met with any Russians to discuss any political campaign,’ which may or may not be true. Now it’s, ‘I did not discuss interference in the campaign,’ which further narrows your initial blanket denial about meeting with the Russians. Since you have qualified your denial to say that you did not ‘discuss issues of the campaign with Russians,’ what in your view constitutes issues of the campaign?”

Sessions proceeded to move the goalposts again.

“Well, let’s say this without hesitation that I conducted no improper discussions with Russians at any time regarding the campaign or any other item facing this country,” Sessions said.

“I don’t have to sit here and listen to (this),” Sessions said, “without having a chance to respond. Give me a break.” The two men argued repeatedly about the time allotted for their questions and answers, and Sessions suggested Franken had insulted him by pressing him to explain answers from his confirmation hearing that turned out to be untrue.

He argued that his answers about serving as a Trump campaign surrogate were incomplete because he was tired from testifying six hours during his confirmation hearing.

“I felt a need to respond and I responded on the spot,” Sessions said. “It’s been six hours in the hearing. It’s at the end of the day, and I said I’m not aware of those activities — and I wasn’t and am not. I don’t believe they occurred.”

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. AlterNet’s journalists work tirelessly to counter the traditional corporate media narrative. We’re here seven days a week, 365 days a year. And we’re proud to say that we’ve been bringing you the real, unfiltered news for 20 years—longer than any other progressive news site on the Internet.

It’s through the generosity of our supporters that we’re able to share with you all the underreported news you need to know. Independent journalism is increasingly imperiled; ads alone can’t pay our bills. AlterNet counts on readers like you to support our coverage. Did you enjoy content from David Cay Johnston, Common Dreams, Raw Story and Robert Reich? Opinion from Salon and Jim Hightower? Analysis by The Conversation? Then join the hundreds of readers who have supported AlterNet this year.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure AlterNet remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to AlterNet, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.