Skip To Content
Back to Opinion

Al Franken Thinks This Republican Senator Will Stand Up To Trump

Following President Trump’s public kneecapping of James Comey and his subsequent tweeted threat that the ousted FBI director “better hope that there are no ‘tapes’ of our conversations,” many Washington insiders are likening the growing scandal to Watergate faster than you can say Archibald Cox.

The Atlantic’s James Fallows, for instance, argued Comey’s firing is looking “worse than Watergate … Worse for the overall national interest. Worse in what it suggests about the American democratic system’s ability to defend itself.”

Even before the President dispatched Comey, Carl Bernstein told an audience at the Jerusalem Press Club that President Trump suffered “from ethical blindness regarding conflicts of interests of a kind we have never seen in a presidency in the United States in the current era.”

That’s quite a statement coming from the reporter who helped bring down Nixon.

And former ABC News staffer, Jennifer Sabin, wondered in Huff Post, “Who is going to stand up in the Republican Party and be the Howard Baker?” — referring to the respected Republican senator from Tennessee who fatally wounded the Nixon presidency in 1973 with the dagger-like question: “What did he know and when did he know it.”

Senator Franken's disappeared from public life as a result of #MeToo

Senator Franken’s departure from public life post-#MeToo has divided many in the Democratic party Image by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Last Thursday, the Forward asked Senator Al Franken — who will soon publish a memoir “Al Franken, Giant of the Senate” (Twelve Books) — which of his Republican colleagues might reprise Baker’s role as patriot before partisan.

“Well, it’s not Mitch McConnell,” shot back Sen. Franken, laughing. The Minnesota Democrat picked Sen. Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina, as a likely candidate to take on Baker’s mantle. “There are a lot of Republicans,” he added, “who I think, looking at this, are going to be very close to calling for an independent prosecutor.”

David Wallis is the opinion editor of the Forward.

I hope you appreciated this article. Before you go, I’d like to ask you to please support the Forward’s award-winning, nonprofit journalism during this critical time.

Now more than ever, American Jews need independent news they can trust, with reporting driven by truth, not ideology. We serve you, not any ideological agenda.

At a time when other newsrooms are closing or cutting back, the Forward has removed its paywall and invested additional resources to report on the ground from Israel and around the U.S. on the impact of the war, rising antisemitism and the protests on college campuses.

Readers like you make it all possible. Support our work by becoming a Forward Member and connect with our journalism and your community.

Make a gift of any size and become a Forward member today. You’ll support our mission to tell the American Jewish story fully and fairly. 

— Rachel Fishman Feddersen, Publisher and CEO

Join our mission to tell the Jewish story fully and fairly.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.