Jeff Sessions, President-elect Donald Trump’s choice for attorney general, is under fire for withholding decades worth of records from his career ahead of his upcoming Senate confirmation hearings.
Democrats and progressive organizations such as the Alliance for Justice and People for the American Way, are reviewing the Alabama Senator’s questionnaire for the Senate Judiciary Committee, which requires such background as employment history, published writings, interviews and speeches.
As reported by Jennifer Bendery in the Huffington Post, the groups found “astonishingly deficient” responses, leaving out major details from his years as U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Alabama, which sessions served from 1981 to 1993; as Alabama Attorney General, from 1995 to 1997; and during his first term as U. S. Senator, from 1997 to 2002.
Parts of the missing timeline include Sessions’ 1986 nomination to be a federal judge, which was torpedoed when accusations of “racism” emerged, as well as dozens of more recent interviews, with some including controversial statements over then-nominee Trump.
Bendery writes: “An October interview in which Sessions gave Trump a pass for making sexist comments, because ‘everybody knows that Trump likes women’ and ‘uses this kind of talk,’ was not cited in his questionnaire. A December 2015 interview in which Sessions says ‘the predictions aren’t coming true’ about climate change having disastrous effects is also not mentioned.”
Making the omission particularly exasperating is that, in April 2010, Sessions blasted one of President Barack Obama’s judicial nominees, Goodwin Liu, for essentially the same thing – suggesting it may be a felony for doing so.
“At best, this nominee’s extraordinary disregard for the Committee’s constitutional role demonstrates incompetence; at worst, it creates the impression that he knowingly attempted to hide his most controversial work from the Committee,” said a letter Sessions and other Republicans sent to Vermont Democrat Patrick Leahy, then committee chair. “Professor Liu’s unwillingness to take seriously his obligation to complete these basic forms is potentially disqualifying and has placed his nomination in jeopardy.”
Sessions then said in a committee hearing April 15, 2010: “As a prosecutor, Title 18, Section 1001 makes it a criminal offense to make a false statement to the government. Two years in jail. A felony …”
Democratic National Committee Communications Director Adam Hodge believes that Sessions should be held to the same standard, and be disqualified from his Senate confirmation hearing, which is set to begin Jan. 10.
“Jeff Sessions has fiercely argued in the past that omitting information isn’t just wrong, that it may also be illegal,” he says in an email. “So what does he do once he’s nominated to be the Attorney General? He omits information from his dark past, particularly when he was deemed too racist to be a federal judge. Based on his own reasoning, and in keeping with Senate tradition, Sessions must recuse himself from voting on his own nomination.”