Jeff Sessions: Not A Good Man, or An Honest Legislator

Nor are his fellow Republicans, no matter how “nice” they may appear to the Media Village Idiots. Per the Washington Post:

Sen. Cory Booker testified Wednesday that Sen. Jeff Sessions is the wrong man to lead the Justice Department, saying the Alabama Republican’s lengthy record in Congress exposed views that are inconsistent with the venerated job he is seeking.

“If confirmed, Senator Sessions will be required to pursue justice for women, but his record indicates that he won’t,” Booker said. “He will be expected to defend the equal rights of gay and lesbian and transgender Americans, but his record indicates that he won’t. He will be expected to defend voting rights, but his record indicates that he won’t. He will be expected to defend the rights of immigrants and affirm their human dignity, but the record indicates that he won’t.”

The remarks marked the first time a sitting senator has testified against a colleague’s nomination for a Cabinet post, and they were among the most notable in Sessions’s two-day confirmation hearing.

In total, legislators heard testimony from 15 supporters and detractors, and Sessions answered questions over more than 101/2 hours. Nothing that was said was likely to stop the Republican-controlled Senate from confirming him, with Democrats failing to land anything close to a fatal blow during the hearing…

Sessions is generally well liked in the Senate, despite views that draw polarized responses. To those in law enforcement and conservative legal circles, he is an honorable man, dedicated to enforcing the law no matter his personal feelings. To civil rights advocates, immigrant advocates and others, his record makes him a troubling selection to lead the Justice Department…

Charles P. Pierce, at Esquire:

As far as a political tactic for attaining a government job that makes sensible people blanch at the very thought of your assuming it, unremitting banality in the face of questioning, harsh or otherwise, has served people very, very well. This was why, on the first day of the hearings in the Senate Judiciary Committee as to his nomination to be Attorney General, Jefferson Beauregard Sessions wielded unremitting banality so masterfully that butter wouldn’t melt in his mouth and, even if it did, he would be polite and not mention in polite society that he had a mouthful of melted butter, nor spit it into the ashtrays, either. I’m not kidding. If you bought what he was selling, Sessions made Atticus Finch sound like James K. Vardaman.

You know all that really bad stuff he said when he was a senator, and when he was out on the stump pitching for El Caudillo del Mar-A-Lago? Forget about all of that, because he’s going to be the Attorney General now, so none of that counts, no backsies. When he called the NAACP and the ACLU “un-American” organizations back during the 1980s, he only meant in the context of their opposition to the various excellent Reagan Administration adventures in Central America, and then only because he thought their opposition to our proxy death squads would damage the “historic” record of achievement enjoyed by both organizations…

The “good” news, FWIW, is that Sessions and his defenders at least feel themselves compelled to lie about his history and his beliefs. Dave Weigel got assigned to look for the pony in the pile:

Noteworthy, too, is the way Sessions and the Trump transition team decided to handle his confirmation hearing. Sessions didn’t mention Trump in his opening statement other than to thank him for the nomination. And even before senators questioned him about the allegations of racism that led the GOP-controlled Judiciary Committee to reject his nomination to the federal bench in 1986, Sessions preemptively defended himself against “damnably false charges.”

The guest seats were filled by the likes of Al Sharpton, Khizr Khan, members of the Congressional Black Caucus. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (Calif.), now the top Democrat on the panel, noted that “there is so much fear in this country . . . particularly in the African American community.”

Sessions said the “caricature of me in 1986” was wrong. “I did not harbor the kind of animosities and race-based discrimination ideas that I was accused of. I did not.”…

Sessions said it was “very painful” to be identified as a racist. He said he saw “systematic and powerful” racism in the South. “I know we need to do better,” Sessions said. “We can never go back.”

Does he believe that? We’ll see…

Much more below the fold — including a few quotes from Sessions’ defenders, at the very end.

From Politico, “Sessions faces decision on politicizing Justice Department“:

Donald Trump suggested on the campaign trail that he could use the Justice Department to fulfill his political agenda, taunting Hillary Clinton by threatening to throw her in jail over her email scandal.

Now, Sen. Jeff Sessions, Trump’s pick for attorney general, will have to decide whether to follow his predecessors by vowing to not let politics drive the DOJ’s decision-making.

The idea that the Justice Department should be free from political interference is not rooted in any statute or explicit constitutional provision. Instead, it evolved through a series of internal policy memos and letters issued by past Justice Department officials from both parties, according to a POLITICO review of historical records.

Sessions, as attorney general, could decide to abandon or overhaul those policies, a concern heightened by Trump’s suggestions during the campaign that he could pursue politically motivated prosecutions.

Notably, Sessions’ nomination is now in the hands of some of the same Republicans who pushed for tougher firewalls between the White House and the Justice Department during the Clinton administration. Those senators, Chuck Grassley of Iowa and Orrin Hatch of Utah, have not raised the issue in throwing their support behind Sessions, who faces his first day of confirmation hearings on Tuesday.

“This is the biggest question Jeff Sessions has to answer,” said Matt Miller, a former spokesman for Attorney General Eric Holder, who left office in 2015. “Attorneys general have always established it’s not appropriate for the White House to influence prosecutorial or investigative decisions. But there’s no law or regulation. If they want to change it, they can change it.”…

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39 replies
  1. 1
    Mike J says:

    Jose Christo, don’t ask me why but I watched part of the NBC news tonight. They were bending over backwards to fellate Trump whilst he peed on them.

  2. 2
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    As someone said earlier today (and I paraphrase), if John Lewis decides to come after you, you should probably rethink your whole life.

  3. 3
    Mary G says:

    This is one of the appointments that scares me the most.

  4. 4
    Jerzy Russian says:

    The “good” news, FWIW, is that Sessions and his defenders at least feel themselves compelled to lie about his history and his beliefs.

    That is progress, I guess.

  5. 5
    Keith P. says:

    This post wore out my scrollbar.

  6. 6
    Mr Stagger Lee says:

    The Bundyites, the 3% ers,, Tenthers, all Righy wing groups will not be bothered, but Black Lives Matter, the No DAPL protestors, LGBT groups and others, you going get green-lighted.

  7. 7
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Keith P.: She does get a bit over-enthusiastic at times.

  8. 8
    JordanRules says:

    Sessions as AG is absolutely terrifying to me. Called Flake and McCains offices, but I don’t know if that kind of action even matters anymore. I know that everyone says it does, but it feels so fake to me for some reason as of the last week or so. I already know we’re getting played by these folks. SMDH

  9. 9
    NotMax says:

    Gobsmacking that talk is of pinning hope on Marco Rubio to provide the deciding vote to stop Sessions’ nomination from being passed on to the floor by the committee.

    Per National Lampoon, the universe is laughing behind our back.

  10. 10
    MomSense says:

    Sessions and Tillerson are disasters. The trump press spectacle was horrifying. Now I’m watching the Senate, who couldn’t be bothered to do a damn thing for years, spend all night taking away our health insurance.

    This is a nightmare. What the hell are we supposed to do?

  11. 11
    randy khan says:

    To follow up on the call to action, if you are represented by any member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, that’s who you should call or write. If you’re not, get in touch with Senators Grassley (the chair) and Leahy (the ranking member) to tell them.

    These are the members:
    Charles Grassley (R-IA)
    Lindsey Graham (R-SC)
    John Cornyn (R-TX)
    Michael Lee (R-UT)
    Ted Cruz (R-TX)
    Ben Sasse (R-NE)
    Jeff Flake (R-AZ)
    Mike Crapo (R-ID)
    Thom Tillis (R-NC)
    John Kennedy (R-LA)
    Patrick Leahy (D-VT)
    Dick Durbin (D-IL)
    Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI)
    Amy Klobuchar (D-MN)
    Al Franken (D-MN)
    Christopher Coons (D-DE)
    Richard Blumenthal (D-CT)
    Mazie Hirono (D-HI)

    Here’s the Senate contact page: Call or write now

  12. 12
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: And Congressman Clyburne didn’t look particularly amused at the goings on while sitting behind Congressman Lewis.

  13. 13
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    Why does a refresh land me midway in AL giant tweet list?

  14. 14
    Suzanne says:

    @JordanRules: I called them, too. But I was disappointed to hear Flake basically giving Tillerson a tongue bath on NPR this morning.

    None of this matters. We are so fucked. There’s nothing we can do about it.

    As I read on Twitter, we are now the country in which it is logical to say, “Don’t let the golden showers distract you from the treason.” We’re done.

  15. 15
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Golly. One is shocked and shit.

  16. 16
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Ayep. If you ever wondered what a “look that could kill” actually looked like, that was Congressman Clyburne’s expression.

  17. 17
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Suzanne: We can stand up and register disagreement. Go on the record. Say this is the result of an antiquated system; it is not who the majority of us are. Don’t allow people to normalize the asshole.

  18. 18
    Suzanne says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: I have done and will continue to do that, but it means fuck all. We still have to watch society crumble. The satisfaction of being right is not worth much.

  19. 19
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @efgoldman: Lieberman was a registered Democrat. And you ask why Gore put him on the ticket. It was the fatal flaw of his campaign – the run away from Clinton.

  20. 20
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Suzanne: Or you could give up. People have fought fascists before in other countries. We can do it here.

  21. 21
    MomSense says:

    Anyone else watching cspan 2? One after the other Republicans just lie about the ACA. They are voting on an amendment now that would strip contraception coverage, preventive care, coverage for pregnancy, etc all in the name of protecting women from the high cost and lack of doctors that the evil Obamacare forced on poor women. Sen Gilibrand was apoplectic speaking in opposition.

  22. 22
    Yarrow says:

    @Suzanne: A good time perhaps for this reminder.

    Americans are no wiser than the Europeans who saw democracy yield to fascism, Nazism or communism. Our one advantage is that we might learn from their experience. Now is a good time to do so. Here are 20 lessons from across the fearful 20th century, adapted to the circumstances of today.

  23. 23
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Yarrow: I have to go off to bed now. We are screwed, but we aren’t yet fucked.

  24. 24
    West of the Rockies (been a while) says:

    Sessions looks a lot like Elmer Fudd in some pictures; he’s probably about as smart, too.

  25. 25
    Mart says:

    @MomSense: “strip contraception coverage, preventive care, coverage for pregnancy”. This never gets to low information, “I could never vote for that bitch voters”. How do we get them to understand who is responsible for this when they lose their coverage? Rush and Fox will let them know they had to do it because Obama sucks.

    The GOP has passed a rider where the OMB can not score the cost of their hits to the ACA. Cutting funding for preventive care has a well established scientifically studied impact on increased spending. There are more babies, and more abortions. This costs a lot more than contraception. That even makes sense from the gut.

  26. 26
    MomSense says:

    @Mart:

    The amendment to protect people with pre-existing conditions and veterans has already failed.

    I don’t know what to do. Democratic Senators are in the minority but received millions more votes than the Republican Senators. More of us voted to preserve the ACA but somehow the minority is greater than the majority in our democracy.

  27. 27
    Ruckus says:

    I’ve heard some people say we will get through this. Why the fuck do we have to go through the mid 1800’s again? Wasn’t it bad enough the first time?
    Stupid mother fuckers who voted to regress 160+ yrs.
    I can not see how this country survives this. I just see no way into a positive future.
    Someone tell me that I’m wrong, that this is all a very, very bad dream. Wait, don’t bother. Fuck.

  28. 28
    Ruckus says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:
    How?
    Suggestions?
    You say we are screwed but not fucked. It sure feels like getting fucked. You know how conservatives say the reason conservatism hasn’t worked is that they just didn’t do it right, didn’t go far enough? This is them going far enough. This is them giving it that last push. This is them fucking every last one of us, just to prove that they’ve been wrong every other time as well.
    This is what it looks and feels like when you are getting fucked.
    Those people who fought other fascists? Lots and lots of them got fucked in the process, and died for the effort. Small consolation that in the end it didn’t matter which side you were on.

  29. 29
    MomSense says:

    The senate is voting now whether or not to place repeal of ACA as budget reconciliation. Dems are getting scolded for making statements when giving their vote. This is devastating.

  30. 30
    Ruckus says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:
    Can you name one of those fascists who was defeated without violence? I can’t think of one.
    It’s not the way I want to live.
    It’s not the way I want to die.

  31. 31
    Mike G says:

    @efgoldman:

    Can’t believe Gore actually put him on the fucking Democratic ticket.

    If anything good can be said to have come out of BushCo’s theft of the 2000 election, it’s that Smarm King Lieberman never got to the White House.

  32. 32
    Uncle Ebeneezer says:

    Though most of the focus was on Booker and Lewis, I thought Cedric Richmond’s speech was actually the best part (see video).

    http://www.salon.com/2017/01/1.....il-rights/

  33. 33

    The ACLU points out that Sessions has also abused his powers as a prosecutor. The worst prosecutor ever is about to become Attorney General of the USA.

    Welcome to the police state.

  34. 34

    @MomSense: Yes, Virginia, there is a Death Caucus.

  35. 35

    Sessions is Trump’s Himmler. Goddam.

  36. 36
    Shalimar says:

    I’m pretty sure Jeff Sessions will find a lot more than 4 fraud cases from 2016. I took my grandmother to the polls in 2008, the last time she voted before alzheimers made it impossible. I filled out the ballot for her, the way she wanted it filled out. If I had done this absentee at home instead of going to the polls, that is exactly what he prosecuted the Turners for over 30 years ago. A lot of people help relatives and friends in this way.

  37. 37
    Shalimar says:

    @randy khan: 10 Republicans, 7 Democrats. They have rigged committee representation so no nominees are going to be rejected in committees. Republicans have a larger advantage there than in the full Senate.

  38. 38
    randy khan says:

    @Shalimar:

    That’s actually a pretty normal distribution. Regardless, if they don’t hear from us, they have an excuse for voting however they want. It’s important to tell them.

  39. 39
    Nora says:

    Thanks, MomSense, for your report. I just fired off a note to Gillibrand (my Senator!), thanking her for her heroic efforts in opposition to the Republicans’ war on women. And I do hope the Democrats push that issue hard — yes, Virginia, there is a war on women, and the Republicans are waging it with all their weapons.

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