Al Franken talks about Ukraine, the Senate and American politics in “The Takeout”

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This week, comedian and former U.S. Senator Al Franken joins Chief Washington Correspondent and “Takeout” host Maj. Garrett to discuss his ongoing comedy tour, the state of American politics ( and comedy) and the war in Ukraine.

The former Minnesota senator also discusses his resignation from the Senate in 2017 amid sexual misconduct allegations and his thoughts now on this chapter of his career.

This episode was recorded on April 28, 2022.

Strong points

  • Sexual misconduct allegations and resignation from the Senate: “I should be a senator. What happened was just something very strange at one point. And you know nine of my former colleagues issued a public apology to me for – all I wanted was that. was due process, and they ended up acknowledging that, and a few gave me non-public apologies, I haven’t forgiven them… I believe I should still be here and I believe if I had gotten due process, I would.
  • The Biden administration‘s handling of the war in Ukraine: “I think Biden is doing pretty much everything he can. I think he’s done an amazing job of bringing this coalition together. I think he’s taken a risk doing this. He’s released some of our intel very early, sooner than you usually do, saying they were going to invade. And he did it soon enough that they could start putting sanctions in place. It takes a while to put sanctions in place. And so by the time the invasion started, they were – they had a set of sanctions in place. It took a while for everybody to agree on everything, and that evolved, but I think he did a great job.
  • Ukrainian War and Midterm Elections: “It can actually affect midterms, though. You know, right now it’s looking bad, midterms for Democrats. But my point to Democrats in particular is that there’s a lot left long before November… In June, a few things are going to happen. One, we’re going to have the select committee hearings on January 6. Jamie Raskin just said it’s going to blow the roof off the house. I think people , Americans, I have this little secret, they love television and the audiences will be on television… I think there’s going to be some pretty powerful things. And I- I think Americans, you know, the Party republican has just become this anti-democratic party.
  • “Woke” America and Comedy: “I think it has a chilling effect on comedy. I know a lot of stand-ups that won’t go to college…the comedians I always looked up to were people like Lenny Bruce, George Carlin and Dick Gregory People who were – would use – would explore the limits of offensive people. And that – what people, I think, understood that at the time and that was a positive thing… You know, everything that you need is a small percentage of people on campus to cause a stink or a And so that doesn’t – we’re not necessarily talking about 95% of the students You know, and so that’s just I think what a pity…”

Executive producer: Arden Farhi

Producers: Jamie Benson, Jacob Rosen, Sara Cook and Eleanor Watson

CBSN Producer: Eric Soussanin
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