Cabinet confirmation hearings begin with Trump’s attorney general nominee in the hot seat

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WASHINGTON — Ten days to go before president-elect Donald Trump takes office and in Washington D.C. It’s go-time!

The U.S. Senate is grilling Trump’s appointees. Sen. Jeff Sessions, a Republican from Alabama, is Trump’s choice for Attorney General and the first on the hot seat.

Protesters, some wearing KKK robes, briefly interrupted Session’s confirmation session. Thirty years ago, the senator was denied from becoming a federal judge after being accused of racial insensitivity.

“I am not a racist. I am not insensitive to blacks,” he said in 1986.

Sessions denied the accusations then and denies them now. But that won’t stop congressional Democrats from resurrecting history.

“I said in 1986 that the NAACP represents one of the greatest forces for reconciliation and racial advancement of any entity in the country. Probably No. 1. That’s what I said then, and I believed it, and I believe it now, and it’s an organization that’s done tremendous good.”

He’s also being interrogated about his voting record when it comes to Women’s Rights. He opposed the Supreme Court’s ruling on Roe vs. Wade, but recognizes it’s a done deal.

“You have referred to Roe v. Wade as ‘one of the worst colossally erroneous Supreme Court decisions of all time.’  Is that still your view?” Sen. Dianne Feinstein, a Democrat from California, asked.
Sessions responded, “It is. I believe it’s a…it violated the Constitution and really attempted to set policy and not follow law. It is the law of the land. It has been so established and settled for quite a long time and it deserves respect, and I would respect it and follow it.”

Sessions’ confirmation is expected to be the most contentious of all of Trump’s nominations. But there is a sense of urgency right now and with the back-to-back hearings, some believe background checks and ethics reviews are falling through the cracks.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer is making his case by reprising a 2009 letter from then minority leader Mitch McConnell outlining a series of standards that should be met before President Barack Obama’s nominees got past the senate eight years ago. Schumer believes Trump’s nominees should be held to the same standard.

“They are almost exactly what Democrats requested, Mr. President. I don’t bring this up to play ‘gotcha.’ I’m doing it to show that our requests are eminently reasonable, and in fact have been shared by leaders of both parties.”

At last count, four of Trump’s nine choices have not disclosed their finances. But Republicans hold a majority in the senate, so it’s unlikely any of the nominees will be locked out of the cabinet.

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