Al Franken

Bipartisan Medical Marijuana Legislation Reintroduced
Bill would allow states to set their own laws

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., is part of a bipartisan group of lawmakers who support legislation that would enable states to set their own medical marijuana policies. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

 A bipartisan group of senators and representatives have reintroduced legislation that would enable states to set their own medical marijuana policies.

That is at odds with a letter U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions sent to congressional leaders, in which he asked that federal medical marijuana protections be reversed.

Sessions Declines to Testify About Any Conversations With Trump About Russia
Says potential exists for an executive privilege claim that has not happened

Attorney General Jeff Sessions is greeted by Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C.), right, and Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., before his testimony on Tuesday. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

BY JOHN T. BENNETT AND NIELS LESNIEWSKI, CQ ROLL CALL

Attorney General Jeff Sessions declined to answer questions Tuesday about conversations with President Donald Trump, citing the potential that the White House could assert executive privilege — which has not yet happened.

Sessions to Testify in Public Hearing on Tuesday
Attorney general follows explosive Comey testimony before Intelligence panel

Attorney General Jeff Sessions has recused himself from the investigation into possible ties between Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and Russia. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Attorney General Jeff Sessions will testify Tuesday in an open hearing before the Senate Intelligence Committee for its ongoing probe into Russia’s interference in last year’s presidential election.

The public hearing was announced Monday by Intelligence Chairman Richard M. Burr and Vice Chairman Mark Warner.

Franken: Roll Call’s Coleman Interview Led Him to Politics
The Minnesota Democrat disapproved of a Norm Coleman quote in Roll Call

Sen. Al Franken’s, D-Minn., latest book comes out on Tuesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Where was Sen. Al Franken in 2003? He was less than a decade out of leaving Saturday Night Live, had just published a satirical book, “Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them,” and his political idol had just died.

He was also reading Roll Call.

Comey Set to Testify Next Week After Being Fired By Trump
Ex-FBI director was reportedly pressured by president to drop Flynn inquiry

Former FBI Director James B. Comey is expected to be back on the Hill next week to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call file photo)

All eyes will be on a Senate hearing room next Thursday when James B. Comey makes his much-anticipated return to the witness table.

The former FBI director, who was fired by President Donald Trump in a surprise announcement last month, is set to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee on June 8, in both open and classified settings.

Energy, Interior Nominees Caught in Budget Crossfire
Energy and Natural Resources hearing becomes forum on Trump budget cuts

Minnesota Sen. Al Franken expressed hope that one Energy Department nominee would be “a voice of reason and experience.” (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Senators on the Energy and Natural Resources Committee used a Thursday confirmation hearing for a deputy Energy secretary and two other regulators to question elements of the Trump administration’s fiscal 2018 budget proposal.

The confirmation hearing for Dan Brouillette to be Energy Secretary Rick Perry’s deputy included questions from senators seeking clarity from the nominee about his views of some of the more controversial proposals in the Trump budget, including the plan to draw down by half the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.

White House Middle East Victory Lap Draws Skepticism
Aides pushing a win, but headaches await return from region

President Donald Trump delivers a statement with Israeli President Reuven Rivlinon on Monday in Jerusalem. The White House says its first Middle East visit was a big success, but some Democrats are skeptical. (Lior Mizrahi/Getty Images)

The White House is describing President Donald Trump’s first dose of Middle East diplomacy as a “historic” success, but some lawmakers are skeptical that the optimistic rhetoric will become policy, and at least one is looking to block a major announcement from the trip. 

Trump spent all or parts of four days huddling with Muslim and Israeli leaders before heading to Europe on Tuesday afternoon. So confident was the White House that the first leg of Trump’s overseas diplomatic debut had gone well that they did not wait to land in Italy to declare victory.

Franken Recalls Telling Cruz He was ‘Full of S---’ in New Book
Suggested new punchline for a joke Klobuchar was going to tell about Texas senator

Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., and David Letterman talk with climate change activists ahead of the People’s Climate March in April. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

As a former comedy writer, Minnesota Sen. Al Franken is not uncomfortable with insults or swearing, and his new book describes a particularly saucy insult he hurled at Ted Cruz.

Franken’s new book — tongue-in-cheek titled “Al Franken: Giant of the Senate,” has a chapter called “Sophistry” dedicated to the Texas Republican.

Democrats Grill Interior Nominee Over Energy Industry Ties
David Bernhardt wouldn't say whether he believes in climate change

Sen. Maria Cantwell said she was concerned whether David Bernhardt could avoid potential conflicts of interest with the energy industry in his new position as deputy Interior secretary. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

President Donald Trump’s deputy Interior secretary nominee David Bernhardt sidestepped questions during his Thursday confirmation hearing about whether he believes in climate change, saying instead that regardless of what the science says, he will follow the president’s the policy positions.

At the hearing by the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, Republicans praised Bernhardt as “uniquely qualified” and Democrats raised objections to his long history as a lobbyist for oil, gas and mineral firms that could benefit from his appointment.

Word on the Hill: Staffers Got Talent
Armed Forces Day tomorrow

Geoff Browning pursues his musical career on the side. (Courtesy Nicholas Fitanides/ Geoff Browning)

Geoff Browning, legislative assistant for Rep. Katherine Clark, D-Mass., has a pretty serious music career on the side of his Capitol Hill job. 

His band, Of Tomorrow, is playing tonight at the 9:30 Club (815 V St., NW) with other musicians, including Karl Denson of the Rolling Stones, Melvin Seals of the wider Grateful Dead/Jerry Garcia Band family and Alan Evans of Soulive.