Sessions takes on racism charges; pledges to recuse himself from Clinton probes
A busy schedule of confirmation hearings for Donald Trump's administration nominees kicked off Tuesday with the president-elect's pick for attorney general. Here are the highlights from the first day of his testimony with the Senate.
Sen. Jeff Sessions confronted one of the biggest criticisms surrounding his nomination to become the next attorney general, insisting he's not a racist. In the wide-ranging Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, Sessions also pledged to recuse himself from all investigations involving Hillary Clinton based on inflammatory comments he made during a "contentious" campaign season, defended his views of the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court ruling on abortion, and reinforced the congressional ban on waterboarding.
"Is grabbing a woman by her genitals without consent, is that sexual assault?" asked Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy. "Yes," Sessions said.
"I abhor the Klan and its hateful ideology," Sessions said. "I never declared the NAACP was un-American."
"I believe the proper thing for me to do would be to recuse myself from questions involving those kinds of investigations involving Secretary Clinton that were raised during the campaign and could be otherwise connected to it," Sessions said.
"I believe that would be best for the country because we can never have a political dispute turn into a criminal dispute," Sessions said.
"No I did not, I don't think. I heard it ... sometimes humorously done," he said.
"It is the law of the land, it has been settled for some time. ... I will respect it and follow it," Sessions said.
"The Supreme Court has ruled on that, the dissents dissented vigorously, but it was 5-4 and ... I will follow that decision," he said.....
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