Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III (born December 24, 1946) is an American politician and lawyer who is the 84th Attorney General of the United States.
Sessions previously served as a United States Senator from Alabama from 1997 to 2017, and he is a member of the Republican Party. From 1981 to 1993, he served as U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Alabama.
Sessions was nominated in 1986 to be a judge of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Alabama, but his nomination failed even though the republicans controlled the Senate committee over his alleged racist remarks. Senator Edward Kennedy stated in the confirmation hearing in 1986:
“Mr Sessions is a throwback to a shamefull era, it’s inconceivable to me that a person of this attitude is qualified to be a US attorney, let alone a United States federal judge.”
Sessions was elected Attorney General of Alabama in 1994, and to the U.S. Senate in 1996, being re-elected in 2002, 2008, and 2014.
As Attorney General, Sessions defended the states funding model for education, which allowed twice the level of funding per student for those in prosperous, mostly white areas, that those in poorer, mostly black areas.
Sessions was the first Senator to endorse Donald Trump and was heavily involved in policy in regard to immigration and national security.
Trump promised to make Sessions his Attorney General, and was confirmed in a vote of 52-47.
During his confirmation hearing, Sessions was asked about contact with the Russian embassador during the campaign, stating:
“I did not have communication with the Russians, and I am unable to comment.”
The Washington Post, later stated that he did in fact meet with Sergei Kislyak, the Russian Embassador. A day later Sessions recused himself from FBI’s investigation into the Russia investigation.
Donald Trump on Jeff Sessions July 20 2017
“How do you take a job and then recuse yourself?, I would have said ‘thanks, Jeff, but i’m not going to take you.'”
Donald Trump on Jeff Sessions July 22 2017
“So many people are asking why isn’t the A.G. or Special Council looking at the many Hillary Clinton or Comey crimes. 33,000 e-mails deleted?”
Donald Trump on Jeff Sessions July 24 2017
“So why aren’t the Committees and investigators, and of course our beleaguered A.G., looking into Crooked Hillarys crimes & Russia relations?”
Donald Trump on Jeff Sessions July 25 2017
“Ukrainian efforts to sabotage Trump campaign – “quietly working to boost Clinton.” So where is the investigation A.G.”
Donald Trump on Jeff Sessions July 25 2017
“Attorney General Jeff Sessions has taken a VERY weak position on Hillary Clinton crimes (where are E-mails & DNC server) & Intel leakers!”
Later in the day, Trump tells The Wall Street Journal:
“I’m very disappointed in Jeff Sessions.”
When asked about Sessions in the Rose Garden, Trump says:
“We will see what happens. Time will tell.”
Donald Trump on Jeff Sessions July 26 2017
“Why didn’t A.G. Sessions replace Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe, a Comey friend who was in charge of Clinton investigation but got big dollars ($700,000) for his wife’s political run from Hillary Clinton and her representatives. Drain the Swamp!”
Attorney General Jeff Sessions faced testing questions from his former colleagues on the Senate Judiciary Committee – forcing him to repeatedly deny any improper contacts with the Russian government during the 2016 US presidential campaign.
Vermont Democrat Senator, Patrick Leahy said:
“My concern is you were part of the Russian facade and went along with it. I’m sorry, I’ve known you for years, and I’m sorry you would do that.”
Sessions responded with
“It did hurt me to hear you say I’m part of a façade, I’m not part of a façade”
The committee discussed a large number of topics including Russian interference in the 2016 US Presidential election, immigration and criminal justice reform, Sessions also debated executive privilege with committee Democrats.
Sessions refused to discuss his “confidential conversations with the President,” stating:
“I can neither assert executive privilege neither can I disclose today the contents of my confidential conversations with the President. It is well established that the President is entitled to have private, confidential conversations with his Cabinet officials… such communications are the core of executive privilege.”
Senator Al Franken of Minnesota questioned Sessions over previous comments he made during his confirmation process where he said he had not had been in contact with anyone connected to the Russian government during the presidential campaign.
In response Sessions stated:
“I’ve committed myself to a high level of public service, to reach the highest level of standards and decency in my public service. You have now gone through this long talk that I believe is totally unfair to me.”
Senator Amy Klobuchar, a Democrat from Minnesota, asked whether the President could pre-emptively pardon a person under investigation.
Sessions responded with the following remarks, saying he’d prefer to answer in writing:
“Well the pardon power is quite broad. I have not studied it. I don’t know whether that would be appropriate or not, frankly.”
Vermont Democrat Senator, Patrick Leahy asked Sessions about his response to a question on his confirmation questionnaire. Leahy referred to the questionnaire, which asked if Sessions had been in contact with anyone connected to the Russian government.
“You answered emphatically, no,” Leahy said, noting that after Sessions’ confirmation it was revealed by the press that Sessions had met with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak on multiple occasions. “You answered no, you concealed your own contact with Russian officials at a time when such contacts were of great interest to the committee.”
Leahy said that as a senator, Sessions “wouldn’t tolerate being misled” and asked him if he could “understand” the impression of Democrats that his answer was “false testimony.”
Sessions responded to Leahy, pulling out the questionnaire and reading from the lead-up to the question, which referenced interference in the 2016 campaign.
“I believe my answer was correct.”
Sessions concluded with:
“I took that to mean, not any casual conversation, but did I participate with the Russians about the 2016 election. Every one of your previous questions talked about improper involvement and I felt the answer was no.”