Former Democratic politician Al Franken didn’t hold back on Sunday as he questioned CNN’s Republican commentator Scott Jennings about Arizona’s Republican gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake and other 2020 election deniers.
Franken, who — like Jennings — appeared as a guest on a segment anchored by Jim Acosta, questioned whether the commentator could push advice to Republicans and “tell them to stop foisting this ‘Big Lie,’” Mediaite reported.
Over half of Republicans on the ballot who are running in state and congressional races have denied or questioned the 2020 presidential election while nearly all but two states have an election denier on their ballot in November, according to analysis by The Washington Post.
The two CNN guests condemned instances of potential voter intimidation in Arizona’s Maricopa County before Franken chalked up the reports to Republicans pushing false claims about the 2020 election.
“That’s why we’re seeing this, that’s why we’re seeing armed guys outside of voter booths, that’s why secretaries of state that are running under the Republican banner... are saying the election was stolen,” Franken said.
“That’s the threat and you need to say that.”
Jennings, who initially met Franken’s request with silence, said he doesn’t believe the election was stolen and President Joe Biden won the election.
Acosta, who flashed a CNN report marking the amount of election deniers running in select midterm races, asked Jennings if election-denying was a larger institutional problem in the Republican party.
“You’re absolutely right, it is a widespread belief, it’s not a correct belief but it is a widespread belief,” Jennings said.
Jennings hit Franken back with a question about whether he’d vote for Democratic nominee for Georgia governor Stacey Abrams, who refused to concede in a 2018 race for governor.
Franken, who said Jennings’ Abrams example was a very different thing, replied that the commentator knows what Lake is saying with her false claims.
“You know for sure that [the election] wasn’t [a fraud], you know for certain it wasn’t and yet you would still vote for them?” Franken asked about election-denying GOP candidates in Arizona.
Jennings again met Franken’s remarks with silence.
You can watch the rest of the guests’ exchange, which includes a Stuart Smalley reference, below.