November 28, 2017 07:27 PM
Minnesota U.S. Sen. Al Franken took his seat on the Senate Judiciary Committee Tuesday morning, his second day back on Capitol Hill after 10 days in seclusion following allegations of sexual harassment.
There was no mention of the controversy surrounding him as the committee heard testimony about efforts to clamp down on money laundering to support terrorists overseas. Franken participated in the questioning of testifiers.
"Al Franken is pursuing the turn-the-page strategy," says Larry Jacobs of the University of Minnesota Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs. "First, he came out with an apology. Then he went back to work and his hope is that controversy on some other issue or the focus on tax cuts is going to move the news cycle past him."
Jacobs says that could happen, but says that strategy will be complicated by a likely Senate Ethics Committee investigation and the possibility other women could come forward.
So far, four women have accused Franken of sexually inappropriate conduct.
There are questions about how effective Franken can be given the the allegations and his claims he doesn't remember any of the incidents other than one depicted in a photograph.
Franken's first tough test will come on Wednesday when he's expected to question David Stras in a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing. Stras is an associate justice on the Minnesota Supreme Court nominated to the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals. Franken withheld a so-called "blue slip" that traditionally allows a home state senator to approve a hearing for a nominee.
Republicans announced after the Franken allegations surfaced that they would break the blue slip tradition and allow a hearing for Stras. Fellow U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar does favor a hearing for Stras.
"We're going to learn (Wednesday) whether Al Franken has lost his effectiveness, his standing and credibility in being able to interrogate Trump Administration appointees when David Stras sits in front of him on the Judiciary Committee," Jacobs said.
Updated: November 28, 2017 07:27 PM
Created: November 28, 2017 05:48 PM
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