The indecent Mr. Franken

I recently recognized Minnesota Senator Al Franken as the de facto leader of the Democrats’ tin foil hat brigade. Last week Franken sought to enlist FBI Director James Comey in the brigade when he testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Comey politely declined.

Franken sees the tendrils of “a conspiracy so immense” between the Trump campaign and Russian operatives to defeat Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential campaign. To expose the conspiracy, Franken has taken to asking hypothetical questions: Is it possible?

Franken’s own career as an alleged funnyman turned demagogue provides one answer. To quote Paul McCartney, “In this ever changing world in which we live in,” anything is possible.

Yesterday Franken took his turn with the Obama-appointed deputy attorney general who briefly served as acting attorney general before being fired by President Trump. Franken went full Joe McCarthy with her, recklessly smearing associates of the Trump campaign and administration officials including Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. Franken’s shtick reminded me of the famous incident involving Joe McCarthy attacking Fred Fisher at the Army-McCarthy hearings in 1954, but there was no Joe Welch to call Franken on his utterly reprehensible performance.

For the record, referring back to his previous mention of Jeff Sessions, Carter Page, Paul Manafort, Rex Tillerson, Roger Stone, and Jared Kushner — “That’s a lot, in my mind” — Franken posed this rhetorical question to Yates (at 6:20 in the video above):

Is it possible that the reason that [President Trump] didn’t fire [National Security Adviser Michael Flynn] was that, “well, if I fire him, for talkin’ to the Russians about sanctions, and if I fire [sic], what about all the other people on my team who coordinated?” I mean, isn’t it possible that the reason [sic]? ‘Cause you ask yourself, why wouldn’t you fire a guy who did this? And all I can think of is that he would say, “Well, we’ve got all these other people in the administration who’ve had contacts. We have all these other people in the administration who coordinated, who were talking.” Maybe that [sic]. I’m just trying to, we’re trying to put a puzzle together here, everybody, and maybe, just maybe he didn’t get rid of a guy who lied to the vice president, who got paid by the Russians, who went on Russia Today because there are other people in his administration who met secretly with the Russians and didn’t reveal it till later, until they were caught. That may be why it took [Trump] 18 days, until it came public, to get rid of Mike Flynn, who was a danger to this republic. Care to comment?

Yates didn’t care to comment, but I do.

Joseph Welch concluded his response to Senator McCarthy at the hearing in 1954 with a rhetorical question of his own: “Have you no sense of decency?” Senator Franken has answered that question in his own case. He is a disgrace to the state of Minnesota and to the United States Senate.

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