The Presidential nominee for the post of the Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, is being questioned by the Senate Judiciary Committee where he is facing tough questions on his far-right agenda. The attorney general acts as the chief prosecutor, leading the US Department of Justice and as the principal legal advisor to the US President.
Sessions seems inevitable
Senator Jeff Sessions, 70, of Alabama, will in all likelihood be confirmed. The veteran Senator with a career that spans back 20 years is one of the few people in Donald Trump’s cabinet who is a career politician. The problem at hand is not that he is unknown, but that his track record speaks volumes.
Democrats do not have the power to deny any of Trump’s appointees. It is Republicans that must break ranks. It is doubtful that they will.
But, the line of questioning by Democrats is underscoring the polarization of US politics and society.
On Wednesday he will be facing former human rights activists, Senator Cory Brooker and Congressman Jim Blyburn. The American Civil Liberties Union’s legal director will also testify against him, making an exception to its policy of not having partisan views.
The promises of a controversial Senator
To say Senator Sessions in a “controversial” figure is an understatement. He is known as anti-choice, anti-gay, anti-immigration, anti-Islam, of being racist, of supporting Guantanamo Bay, and advocating high penalties for nonviolent drug offenders.
In fact, he is so controversial that when President Reagan nominated him for a federal judgeship in 1986, the Senate Judiciary Committee denied him. The reason is a witness heard testifying to him calling a black assistant US attorney “boy,” warning him to mind how he spoke to “white folks.” He is also accused of calling the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) “un-American” and being a KKK supporter.
On Tuesday, he said the 1986 allegations that he is a Klan supporter and racist are “damnably false.”
Also on Tuesday, he promised to uphold pro-choice legal precedents, especially the 1973 Roev vs. Wade ruling. He said that Guantanamo Bay works “marvelously well,” although waterboarding may be “improper and illegal.”
Sessions made no apology about his anti—immigration views and remains committed to “tackling” illegal immigration. However, he said he would not support a ban on all Muslims entering the United States.
But, he did signal he may prohibit travel for citizens from specific countries that harbor terrorism. On this front, Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein voiced her concern because Senator Sessions voted against an amendment affirming that the US could not prevent people of any religious creed from entering the United States.
Sessions also promised to recuse himself from any investigation on former Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton.