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.

Sessions versus Trump

US Attorney General nominee Jeff Sessions has indicated a number of differences with policies as stated by Donald Trump when appearing at his confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Torture

Trump: pledged to bring back waterboarding, “and a hell of a lot worse than waterboarding”

Sessions:

“Congress has taken an action now that makes it absolutely improper and illegal to use waterboarding or any other form of torture.”

“So many people truly believe, think that the military conducted waterboarding. They never conducted any waterboarding. That was by intelligence agencies. Their rules were maintained. I used to teach the Geneva Conventions and the rules of warfare as an Army Reservist to my personnel, and the military did not do that.”

Muslim ban

Trump called for call for “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on.”

Sessions:

“I have no belief and do not support the idea that Muslims as a religious group should be denied admission to the United States,” Sessions said at the hearing. “We have great Muslim citizens who have contributed in so many different ways.”

Asked by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) if he would support a law barring Muslims from entering the United States, Sessions responded: “No.”

Russian election hacking

“These are the same people that said Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction,” the Trump team has said. Trump called news of the Russian hacking “a political witch hunt.” he called on the country to “move on” from discussion of the hacking.

Sessions of the FBI conclusions: “I am sure it was honorably reached.”

He called the hacking “significant event.”

Asked if he believed the conclusion of the intelligence agencies:

“I have no reason to doubt that and have no evidence that would indicate otherwise.”

Source: Politico Where Sessions broke with Trump

Who calls the shots on things like this, the Attorney General or the President? I presume to Attorney General has to abide by the laws as determined by the politicians.