Franken undecided how he’ll vote on Sessions attorney general confirmation

Published 10:24 am Thursday, January 12, 2017

MPR News Staff
Minnesota Sen. Al Franken said he’s skeptical of Jeff Sessions’ ability to serve as attorney general, and he’s still uncertain of how he’ll vote on Sessions’ confirmation.

Before making a decision, Franken said he’ll look at the Alabama Senator’s whole record — including on civil rights.

“I have no animus toward Jeff Sessions,” Franken told MPR News. “I just question whether he would be a good attorney general.”

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Sessions’ civil rights record has been a focal point in confirmation hearings. The NAACP head called him “unfit” for the office, and men dressed in Ku Klux Klan costumes disrupted his hearing Tuesday morning.



Franken also said he’s not reassured Sessions will be independent of President-elect Donald Trump when it comes to dealing with Russia.

On Tuesday, the first day of Sessions’ confirmation hearings, Franken questioned Sessions on unverified reports of an intelligence dossier that alleged collusion between Russia and Trump, among other unproven details.

He asked if Sessions knew of any compromising personal or financial information Russia claimed to have on Trump. Sessions dismissed the reports as untrue.

In an interview Wednesday, Franken said he didn’t know whether the dossier contained credible information, but also said Trump has been “alarmingly pro-Russian.”

Sessions said during his confirmation hearing for attorney general that he trusts intelligence that Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered cyberattacks during the election. Trump has praised Putin and criticized intelligence agencies, but on Wednesday said he thought Russia was behind the hacking.

Franken and fellow Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, both Democrats, sit on the U.S. Senate committee that held Sessions’ hearings Tuesday and Wednesday.