As the Jeff Sessions confirmation hearing continues, Trump’s nominee for attorney general said that he would recuse himself from any potential future investigations or probes involving Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server while working as secretary of state, as well as any questions about her family’s philanthropic foundation.
Responding to senator Chuck Grassley if he could approach issues involving Trump’s presidential challenger impartially and objectively, Sessions said “I believe that could place my objectivity in question,” Sessions said. “I believe the proper thing would be for me to recuse myself.” He added the politically charged comments he made about the Clintons during the contentious campaign would give the appearance that he isn’t impartial.
Trump has called into question Clinton’s use of a private email server while serving as secretary of state during the campaign, and questioned whether her family’s solicitation of donations for the foundation could pose a conflict of interest. During the hearing, Grassley noted that Sessions – who supported Trump – had also made comments critical of her handling of sensitive emails and certain actions of the Clinton Foundation.
During the hearing, Sessions also denied accusations or racism. Calling it a “caricature,” Sessions denied the charges brought against him in his hearing for a federal judgeship in 1986 accusing him of being a racist. “I do not harbor those kinds of animosities and race-based ideas I was accused of,” Sessions said under questioning from Feinstein.
The comment followed his opening remarks, in which Sessions addressed allegations that he is racist and that as a U.S. attorney he wrongly pursued a voting rates case against black civil rights activists. “I was accused, amazingly of harboring sensibilities for the KKK. These are false allegations…I abhor the klan and what it represents and its hateful ideology.”
Sessions defended the case of voter fraud he brought against the black activists, saying the case was proposed by African Americans who said their ballots had been stolen and altered. He also touted a hate crime he prosecuted against a member of the Ku Klux Klan that resulted in an execution.
“I never declared the NAACP un-American or a civil rights attorney a disgrace to his race,” he said. “There is nothing I’m more proud of than my 14 years in the Department of Justice.”
The AG candidate also said he still believes Roe v. Wade is the worst Supreme Court decision of all time but it’s the law of the land and deserves respect. “It’s the law of the land, established and settled for a long time. It deserves respect and I would respect and follow it.”
Finally, in another highlight of what has transpired so far, Sessions said he does not support President-elect Trump’s campaign proposal to temporarily ban all Muslims from entering the country. Instead, he said he supports Trump’s proposed “extreme vetting” of immigrants coming from dangerous regions.
However, Sessions said a person’s religion could be a factor if they’re, for example, an extremist whose religion includes harming Americans.