Senate Democrats escalate fight over Jeff Sessions after Donald Trump fires Sally Yates

Chuck Grassley, Dianne Feinstein, and Patrick Leahy
Sens. Chuck Grassley, Dianne Feinstein, and Patrick Leahy consider the Sessions nomination, Jan. 31, 2017. [Photo Credit: Getty Images]

Senate Democrats doubled-down on their opposition to President Donald Trump‘s pick for attorney general, Republican Sen. Jeff Sessions, questioning his independence following Trump’s Monday night dismissal of the acting attorney general Sally Yates for refusing to enforce his executive order on immigration. The vote on Sessions’ nomination has been delayed until Wednesday.

Democratic senators spent several hours Tuesday morning detailing the reservations they have about Sessions’ ability to be an independent attorney general, serving as a power-check to Trump who already believe is already pushing the bounds of his executive powers.

“That is what an attorney general must be willing and able to do,” said  the top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, California-Democrat Sen. Dianne Feinstein. “I have no confidence Sen. Sessions will do that. Instead he has been the fiercest, most dedicated and most loyal promoter in Congress of the Trump agenda.”

“Will he support and defend these broad and disruptive executive orders? Will he carry out and enforce the president’s actions that may very well violate the Constitution? It’s not difficult to assess that he will,” Feinstein concluded.

Vermont-Democrat Sen. Patrick Leahy joined in voicing his opposition.

“What we saw last night demonstrates what is at stake with this nomination,” said Leahy during the Tuesday morning meeting.

“The attorney general is the people’s attorney. Not the president’s attorney. He or she does not wear two hats at once. I have very serious doubts that Senator Sessions would be an independent attorney general,” Leahy added.

The Committee vote on Sessions’ nomination will now take place 10:30 a.m. Wednesday.