Senate Democrats are making it clear that Sen. Jeff Sessions will not have an easy time being confirmed as President-elect Donald J. Trump’s first attorney general.
In a letter addressed to Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Democrats on the committee pushed for extensive confirmation hearings, indicating that they plan resistance, despite the fact that they referred to him as “a colleague” with whom they “have a personal and cordial relationship.”
The senators also requested that Grassley allow for outside witnesses to testify on Sessions’ track record on immigration, civil and voting rights, women’s rights, and government oversight due to his “extensive record” on these “important issues.”
Part of the letter reads, “[w]hen our country is struggling with so many divisions, the committee and the entire Senate must ask whether Senator Sessions is the right man to lead the agency charged with securing and protecting the constitutional and civil rights of all Americans.”
The letter was signed by Sens. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Richard “Dick” Durbin (D-IL), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Al Franken (D-MN), Christopher Koons (D-DE), and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT).
Earlier this month, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) — one of Congress’s most progressive legislators — called on President-elect Trump to rescind his decision to nomination Sessions:
— Elizabeth Warren (@SenWarren) November 18, 2016
Sessions will require only a simple majority of the Senate to be confirmed as President-elect Trump’s first AG.
“When our country is struggling with so many divisions, the committee and the entire Senate must ask whether Senator Sessions is the right man to lead the agency charged with securing and protecting the constitutional and civil rights of all Americans,” the Democrats wrote in the letter.
Sen. Sessions has a solid record of supporting civil rights and while he was attorney general in Alabama, Sessions filed desegregation lawsuits and supported the 30-year extension of the Civil Rights Act. He also voted to confirm Attorney General Eric Holder and proposed awarding the Congressional Medal of Honor to Rosa Parks.
Sessions has shown foresight, particularly as the first U.S. senator to endorse Donald Trump in his challenging and fruitful quest for the nation’s highest office.
Sens. Grassley and Sessions met on Tuesday in Grassley’s office:
Grassley reportedly told members of the media, “It would be my intention to move ahead in that procedure,” and urged Sessions to return the completed nominee questionnaire to him “very quickly.” He also praised his Senate colleague as “a very honorable man” and a “man of integrity.” Grassley added that Sen. Feinstein — who also signed the letter — “has been reported as saying that he’s gonna get a fair hearing,” Politico notes. “I’m sure that’s going to be true for both Republicans and Democrats,” Grassley added.
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