‘Can you understand English?’

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"‘Can you understand English?’"

CNN reporter Dana Bash confronts Sen. Ted Stevens (R-AK) in the hallway with a microphone. Bash reported that Stevens had been attempting to escape reporters all day. When she finally caught up to him, he refused to answer Bash’s questions, saying “Can you understand English? That’s the only statement I’m going to make.” Watch it:

SEN. TED STEVENS (R-AK): I put out a statement and I’m not saying anything to anybody beyond that statement.

BASH: Can you say, sir, why the federal agents went to your House or what they took?

STEVENS: Can you understand English? That’s the only statement I’m going to make.

BASH: I do understand that sir, but obviously this is a very important issue, when federal agents and IRS agents come to the home of a U.S. senator.

STEVENS: I understand you’re recording this, but I told you again I made the statement. It’s issued, that’s what my lawyers told me to say, and that’s all I’m going to say.

Watch it:

[flv http://video.thinkprogress.org/2007/07/danaonhulk.320.240.flv]

Atrios notes that Stevens’ legally parsed statement suggests he only paid home reconstruction bills “that were presented to him.” The statement discounts bills that may have been paid by others that never reached Stevens.

UPDATE: Stevens has threatened to place a hold on the “Democratic-drafted ethics legislation just passed by the House and expected on the Senate floor by week’s end. The senator told a closed session of fellow Republicans today, including Vice President Dick Cheney, that he was upset that the measure would interfere with his travel to and from Alaska — and vowed to block it.”

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