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Sen. Al Franken calls Kushner's Russia dealings a "pretty bad breach"

Al Franken, "Giant of the Senate"
Al Franken, "Giant of the Senate" 08:21

Sen. Al Franken, D-Minnesota, says President Trump's senior adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner's security clearance should be in question following reports that Kushner had contacts with Russian officials about establishing back-channel communications during the transition.

Franken told "CBS This Morning" on Tuesday that Kushner did not disclose many of his contacts with the Russians when getting his White House security clearance, something Franken believes is "against the law" and "very unusual."

"This might be come out to what did the president know and when did his son-in-law tell him," said Franken.

Sen. Al Franken CBS News

 Franken's comments come after The New York Times reported earlier this month that Kushner, one of the top aides who had pushed for FBI Director James Comey's firing, was also one of the voices "urging the president to counterattack" after Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein named a special counsel to take over the government's Russia investigation. It was not advice that Mr. Trump took.

Soon after came a Washington Post report that Kushner — during a meeting with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak in December — discussed setting up a "back channel" for communications between the Trump transition team and Russian officials. CBS News has confirmed that Kushner discussed setting up a back channel, according to a source familiar with the intelligence gathered at the time.

Franken said that with the addition of FBI special counsel Robert Mueller and the ongoing investigations in the House and Senate, lawmakers are going to get to the bottom of any Russian interference in the election and the administration as a whole.   

"This is a pretty bad breach," said Franken. "These guys, the administration, they're not acting like people who have nothing to hide."

Asked about the current health care debate as the Senate takes up the issue, Franken called the GOP's American Health Care Act "just dreadful" and "awful."

Franken said his constituents in more rural areas are "terrified" of provisions featured in the latest version of the bill, which was celebrated at a White House ceremony shortly after passing in the House.

While Franken called the measures to cut Medicaid funding "unconscionable," he said he was hopeful that the Senate could work in a bipartisan way to make changes to the existing bill.

"I don't think the Republicans can do this themselves, and they shouldn't," he said.

The Minnesota Democrat and former "Saturday Night Live" humorist, who is out with a new book "Al Franken: Giant of the Senate," shot down questions about a possible presidential run in his future, saying, "No, I see a future five-term senator."

When asked if he had ideas about any fellow Democrats eying the office for 2020, Franken said that while he believes many of his colleagues may run, "it wouldn't help to single one out."

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