Slow learner Al Franken rebuked by former DNI director James Clapper in Senate testimony

Senator Al Franken's background as a joker was showing yesterday when he questioned former director of National Intelligence James Clapper in a Senate hearing yesterday.  He seemed to playing the role of a sad clown unable to accept reality, pathetically clinging to the illusions lying in ruins at his feet.  Even though the Associated Press and New York Times several days ago corrected their erroneous assertions that 17 intelligence agencies agreed that Russia had interfered with the election, clarifying that in fact, only three agencies came to that conclusion, Franken remained blissfully ignorant, clinging to the debunked talking point his colleagues have agreed on for so long.

Mere ignorance of widespread media reporting on his area of questioning is bad enough.  But Franken revealed himself unable to understand and process new information.  Clapper told him and the other senators at 2:49 P.M. EDT that 17 agencies did not sign off:

Two-plus hours later, this information had failed to sink in, and Franken baldly stated that all 17 agencies "have concluded" that Russia had interfered and forced Clapper to correct him, reminding the senator of what he had just testified to.

The Minnesota senator thus showed himself incapable of hearing and absorbing new information, and out of touch with the news on the topic he was addressing.  Perhaps it was merely his obsession with finding a Russian conspiracy, or perhaps it is that his ability to learn has deteriorated severely since he graduated from Harvard almost half a century ago.

Whatever the source of Franken's shocking display, he has shown himself incapable of performing an important part of his function as a United States senator.  Perhaps it is time to return to less demanding work.

Senator Al Franken's background as a joker was showing yesterday when he questioned former director of National Intelligence James Clapper in a Senate hearing yesterday.  He seemed to playing the role of a sad clown unable to accept reality, pathetically clinging to the illusions lying in ruins at his feet.  Even though the Associated Press and New York Times several days ago corrected their erroneous assertions that 17 intelligence agencies agreed that Russia had interfered with the election, clarifying that in fact, only three agencies came to that conclusion, Franken remained blissfully ignorant, clinging to the debunked talking point his colleagues have agreed on for so long.

Mere ignorance of widespread media reporting on his area of questioning is bad enough.  But Franken revealed himself unable to understand and process new information.  Clapper told him and the other senators at 2:49 P.M. EDT that 17 agencies did not sign off:

Two-plus hours later, this information had failed to sink in, and Franken baldly stated that all 17 agencies "have concluded" that Russia had interfered and forced Clapper to correct him, reminding the senator of what he had just testified to.

The Minnesota senator thus showed himself incapable of hearing and absorbing new information, and out of touch with the news on the topic he was addressing.  Perhaps it was merely his obsession with finding a Russian conspiracy, or perhaps it is that his ability to learn has deteriorated severely since he graduated from Harvard almost half a century ago.

Whatever the source of Franken's shocking display, he has shown himself incapable of performing an important part of his function as a United States senator.  Perhaps it is time to return to less demanding work.

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