DFL U.S. Sen Al Franken was just getting started.
"Mr. Chairman," interrupted U.S. Sen John Cornyn, R-Texas, "I object to the senator [Franken] disparaging a fellow member of the committee here in his absence."
Cornyn was referring to U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, his fellow Texan and ideologue: Cornyn and Cruz consistently rank at the top of lists of "most conservative" members of the upper chamber.
Franken was beyond such courtesies.
"Well [Cruz] should be here, first of all," said Franken, angrily pointing a finger at Cornyn. "And secondly, he disparaged me, senator."
Franken was trying to "correct" and "clarify what he'd said about the civil rights record of Jeff Sessions, Donald Trump's nominee for U.S. Attorney General. (Get the back story on that -- and watch Franken's interrogation of Sessions -- here.) In short: Sessions doesn't really have one.
Cornyn butted in yet again, and said Franken's speech was improper.
Interrupt Al Franken once, shame on you. Interrupt him twice and be prepared for flames to shoot out the junior senator from Minnesota's eyes.
"Can I explain what I'm doing?" Franken asked chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa. "Cuz Senator Cruz did the very thing that Senator Cornyn is accusing me of doing. In my absence, he misrepresented me, he misrepresented Mr. [J. Gerald] Hebert. [Cruz] personally went after me, he personally impugned my integrity. You didn't object then, did you?"
Said Cornyn: "I'm not sure I was here."
Dynamite comeback, Jack.
Cruz, in coming to Sessions' aid, had objected to what he thought harsh treatment of a colleague, a long-time U.S. Senator who many knew well. Franken was unmoved.
"It's not our job to shade his record, or to distort the testimony that witnesses share with us, and with the public."
Much later, about 20 minutes into Franken's time on the mic, Cruz does show up, stopping by Cornyn's chair for a quick chuckle. By then, Franken had moved on to filleting Trump's claim about "millions" of "illegal votes" that tilted the popular vote to Hillary Clinton.
"[Trump] said it was somewhere between 'three million and five million' fradulent votes," Franken said. "I wonder how he came up with three million illegal votes. I wonder if it could have anything to do with the fact that he lost by 2.86 million votes."
Mr. Chairman, the president and his supporters object! And they move that the previous month be stricken from the record!
Watch Franken's speech in its entirety below.
- Watch Sarah Silverman, Al Franken's awkward moment at the DNC [VIDEO]
- Al Franken is sorry and deeply saddened he said something funny
- If Donald Trump and Al Franken agree, this must be bad. Very bad.
- Al Franken attacks Steve Bannon by quoting real headlines from Breitbart.com
- Rick Perry said something weird about being on Al Franken's couch [VIDEO]