Sessions facing Senate following Attorney general sacking

Yesterday Donald Trump sacked acting Attorney General Sally Yates when she refused to defend his presidential order on refugee and immigration in court.

Today Jeff Sessions is facing the Senate and faces a vote on whether he can become the new Attorney General. This is likely to be contentious, with allegations that Sessions has been closely involved in aspects of Trump’s presidency.

USA Today: Sessions faces Senate vote, as Trump throws DOJ in chaos

The Senate Judiciary Committee was poised to vote Tuesday on the nomination of Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions for attorney general, just hours after President Trump fired acting Attorney General Sally Yates when she refused to defend his controversial refugee ban in court.

Sessions, who has helped shape the Trump administration’s hard-line immigration stance, is expected to pass on a strict party-line vote, though it was unclear whether Monday’s events, which cast the interim leadership at the Justice Department into turmoil, would alter the committee’s action.

Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, opened Tuesday’s meeting, asserting that Sessions played no role in the president’s controversial executive actions.

“Some on the other side have raised concerns about whether Sen. Sessions was involved in drafting or reviewing the executive orders,” Grassley said. “It’s not clear to me why it would be a problem even if he had been involved.  But the fact of the matter is he wasn’t.  In his written responses to Sen. Leahy, Sen. Sessions stated for the record ‘neither I, nor any of my current staff’ had a role in formulating or drafting the executive orders.

“Sen. Sessions has assured us that he will enforce the laws fully, fairly, and independently,” Grassley said. “These answers, combined with his life of public service and his experience working with each of us, assure me that Senator Sessions will make an outstanding Attorney General.”

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the panel’s ranking Democrat, answered Grassley with a repudiation of Sessions’ nomination, suggesting that the nominee would act as “an arm of the White House” and would carry out the president’s ”destructive policies.”

She cited Yates’ firing, saying that the acting attorney general demonstrated the “guts” necessary for the job by refusing to defend Trump’s order.

“I have no confidence Sen. Sessions will do that,” Feinstein said.

There are doubts that Sessions can be independent enough of Trump.

Washington Post: Trump’s hard-line actions have an intellectual godfather: Jeff Sessions

In jagged black strokes, President Trump’s signature was scribbled onto a catalogue of executive orders over the past 10 days that translated the hard-line promises of his campaign into the policies of his government.

The directives bore Trump’s name, but another man’s fingerprints were also on nearly all of them: Jeff Sessions.

The early days of the Trump presidency have rushed a nationalist agenda long on the fringes of American life into action — and Sessions, the quiet Alabam­ian who long cultivated those ideas as a Senate backbencher, has become a singular power in this new Washington.

Sessions’s ideology is driven by a visceral aversion to what he calls “soulless globalism,” a term used on the extreme right to convey a perceived threat to the United States from free trade, international alliances and the immigration of nonwhites.

And despite many reservations among Republicans about that worldview, Sessions is finding little resistance in Congress to his proposed role as Trump’s attorney general.

It looks like the Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee will ensure Sessions becomes their next Attorney General.

From immigration and health care to national security and trade, Sessions is the intellectual godfather of the president’s policies. His reach extends throughout the White House, with his aides and allies accelerating the president’s most dramatic moves, including the ban on refugees and citizens from seven mostly Muslim nations that has triggered fear around the globe.

The author of many of Trump’s executive orders is senior policy adviser Stephen Miller, a Sessions confidant who was mentored by him and who spent the weekend overseeing the government’s implementation of the refu­gee ban.

The tactician turning Trump’s agenda into law is deputy chief of staff Rick Dearborn, Sessions’s longtime chief of staff in the Senate.

The mastermind behind Trump’s incendiary brand of populism is chief strategist Stephen K. Bannon, who, as chairman of the Breitbart website, promoted Sessions for years.

Interesting times in the US.

12 Comments

  1. David

     /  February 1, 2017

    The Democrats need to be careful with all this politicking over nominations which while nearly unmentioned in the media is not a good look and in normal times would be a waste of political time when there are so many tasty issues to get into. The Democrats seem to be leaving official opposition to the media and a small number of vocal protesters in Democratic areas.

    • Care needs to be taken in a filibuster approach as in 2018 there are 5 Democrats up for re election in states Trump won handsomely. Filibustering is standard practice in the States and the Republicans are as good as the Democrats. However, under Obama the Dems led a party-line effort to change the Senate appointee rules. Presidential nominees require simple majorities now rather than 60 votes. This, however, does not apply to the Supreme Court.

      • Gezza

         /  February 1, 2017

        They just had a brief run through of the potential nominess for the Supreme Court on Aljaz. All very conservative judges – reactionary might be more apt for some of them. One of them at some point wanted to make homosexuality a criminal offence in his state. Another has described Roe v Wade as the greatest offence against the Constitution ever. Wish I could find a clip of that segement: I’d post it.

        The reporter said that although it was unlikely, with the House & the Senate stacked with Republicans as it is, they could if they wanted change the law to require only a simple majority for the appointment of a Supreme Court judge.

        • David

           /  February 1, 2017

          Sean Spicer seemed quite confident this morning that they had support of 9 Democratic Senators to get the nomination through. Its unlikely he will go too conservative first up but you can guarantee the media will amp the outrage level to 11 regardless. Not sure how you cope with Aljaz its to the left of the Guardian and US hating, I tried but it got ridiculous.

          • Gezza

             /  February 1, 2017

            It’s pro-Islam of course, but it hadn’t a particularly strong anti-US position, & I exercise my judgement & other research when watching it.

            If anything it’s mostly tended follow the US line, & has given Obama, Kerry & Powell supportive-to-neutral coverage.

            Running the odd documentary or discussion that highlights the Arab side of regional history, the duplicity of the GW Bush administration, the palestinian side of their oppression, the real toll of innocent casualties in the bombings & dronings by the Yanquis & Russkis, & the other horrors going on there that get reported here or in the West doesn’t make them anti-American, imo.

            I watch it because it’s free-to-air, gives wider coverage of significant international events than the dribble by TV news stations here, hosts regular, good debates by intelligent external commentators with some background expertise on important contemporary issues, and often does live telecasts of important happenings.

            There’s no doubt they’re anti-Trump though. Blatantly. And if I have any other major complaint it would be that the quality of much of the reporting is notably dropping, & it has recently acquired a ‘whoopee! bells & whistles’ Entertainment Tonight-style of late.

            • Gezza

               /  February 1, 2017

              Drat. * that don’t get reported here …

            • David

               /  February 1, 2017

              Cant argue with that, its been a while since I watched it.

      • NOEL

         /  February 1, 2017

        Irony is that voters for change were sick of the filibusters that were delaying introduction of legislation that could improve their lot. Now with the dictatorship of the Senate and changes to rules I wonder if the USA will slip from been last on the democratic countries index to first on the failed democratic countries list?

  2. “Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the panel’s ranking Democrat, answered Grassley with a repudiation of Sessions’ nomination, suggesting that the nominee would act as “an arm of the White House” and would carry out the president’s ”destructive policies.”

    She cited Yates’ firing, saying that the acting attorney general demonstrated the “guts” necessary for the job by refusing to defend Trump’s order.

    “I have no confidence Sen. Sessions will do that,” Feinstein said.”

    Gee…. look Feinstein presented with the “perfect” foil for attack during Sessions hearing, when an acting AG gets herself fired….

    It will be very interesting to see where Sally Yates ends up working…. I’ll give you a cue it will be very much aligned with the Democratic party…