Senator Al Franken stated at least twice in his questioning that he is not a lawyer. In fact, he is a rare breed among Senators serving on the Judicial Committee who isn’t an attorney. He mentioned that not just to be “humble and unassuming” (though he often is) but to emphasize just how easy it is to see that Donald Trump’s Attorney General pick, Jeff Sessions had a habit of misrepresenting himself in regards to his days as a federal prosecutor.
Franken’s line of questioning began with bringing up a 2009 radio interview. In that interview, Sessions bragged about being a champion of civil rights when he claimed that he filed 20-30 desegregation cases to the courts during his tenure. Franken then turned to the AG nominee’s 2016 questionnaire for the office he is “interviewing” here in these hearings.
In this year’s remarks, he listed that he filed “a number.” Sessions was quick here to at least admit he had misrepresented himself saying the number would be ‘less than’ the 20-30 he had previously claimed. He was basically forced to, learning that the actual records in Alabama don’t show that. Sessions never did actually state exactly how many he brought. One would think that if they bothered to fact check the 20-30 claim and knew it was less — that they would know the actual number, don’t you think?
Franken then moved on to another question on the questionnaire. Sessions was asked on it to “list and describe the 10 most significant cases that you personally handled.” Franken then referred to an Op-Ed written by two attorneys that actually litigated on three of the top four cases that Sessions claimed he was “personally” involved.
One of the lawyers, Jerry Hebert said that he could say with “absolute certainty” that Sessions had anything to do with two of those cases. The other attorney, Joe Rich, stated that not only didn’t Sessions work on another case, he said that he had never met Senator Sessions. Sessions later confirmed they have never met saying — “I don’t know Mr. Rich, perhaps he handled a case that I never worked with.”
Franken slammed the nominee — “One of the cases you listed was a case that Mr. Rich handled. So if you don’t know him, I find it hard to believe you were personally involved.”
One doesn’t have to be an attorney to see that the Alabama Senator was just caught red-handed in a lie.
The Minnesota Senator also pointed out how much more detailed Sessions was in his 1986 answers vs. his answers on the 2016 questionnaire. Sessions didn’t dispute that but considered his current answers “adequate.” Franken disagreed.
Franken closed by saying that he considered this to be “serious stuff.” He added that the Attorney General nominee “couldn’t find 20-30 desegregation cases that you said you had participated in and it doesn’t sound like you personally handled cases that you said you did.”
Check out Senator Franken’s grilling below;
Note: The video is 11 minutes long because we don’t want anything being “out of context” but Sessions is exposed in the first couple of minutes of the questioning by Franken. The Minnesota Senator spends the balance of his time hammering the points he had made.
Featured image via screen capture from youtube.com