tv Cory Booker and John Lewis Testify Against Jeff Sessions AG Nomination CSPAN January 11, 2017 9:34am-12:00pm EST
>> good morning, everybody. i welcome everyone back for our second date of hearing on senator sessions nominee, nomination for attorney general. as i said yesterday, i want everyone to be able to watch the hearing without obstruction. if people stand up and block the views of others behind them or if they speak out of turn, it's not fair or considerate to
others. so officers will remove individuals as they have previously. before we begin with opening statements from the panel, i want to go over a couple of housekeeping items and explain how we're going to proceed today. senator whitehouse will be acting as ranking member today, and i will give an opening statement and he can't if he wants to as well. i welcome that. then we return to our witnesses for their opening statements. following the statement will begin with the first round of questions in which each senator will have seven members. after we finish asking questions of the first panel, we will turn to the final panel for the testimony, and in regard to the timing of that it will kind of
depends upon when this panel is completed. but if we get this panel completed, let's say about lunch or 12:30, 1:00, we may adjourn for an hour or so at the time that i won't be able to make that determination until we finish here with this panel. yesterday we met here from 9:30 until about 8 p.m. so that every senator, both democrat and republican, could ask senator sessions as many questions as they wanted to. we had great cooperation every day, yesterday. and i should thank everybody for that cooperation, and we will press ahead today. we heard from senator shelby and collins who gave their strong endorsement of senator sessions. their introductions described
senator sessions extensive experience, outstanding qualifications and character. i also want to note that yesterday senator feinstein participated in our first nomination hearing as the new ranking member. i'm looking forward to working with her in her new capacity as i said yesterday. in her opening statement yesterday, senator feinstein correctly observed, and i'd like to to quote a fairly long quote, today we are not being asked to evaluate him, meaning senator sessions, as a center to pick where being asked to evaluate him for the attorney general of the united states, the chief law enforcement for the largest and best democracy in america. she continued, as attorney general, his job will not be to
advocate for his beliefs. rather, the job of attorney general is to enforce federal law even if he voted against a law, even if he spoke against it before it passed. even if he disagreed with the president saying that the law is constitutional. then she concluded, this hearing must determine whether this senator will enforce the laws that he voted against, into quote. and yesterday through 10 and a half hours of testimony, we got a clear and unequivocal answer to this threshold question. he was asked repeatedly if you would enforce the law even if he disagreed with that law as a matter of policy. time and again senator sessions reaffirmed his commitment to the fundamental principle as attorney general of the united states, his solemn duties are as
we all know and expect are to the constitution and to enforce the law duly enacted. this fundamental commitment to the rule of law emerged as a central theme of our discussion yesterday. and as i made clear in my opening statement, that's what i believe the department desperately needs. yesterdays testimony further convinced me that senator sessions is the right choice to serve as our nations chief law enforcement officer at this critical time. we know that he has very well-qualified for the position having served for 15 years as a prosecutor, and now 20 years as a senator. so that's three decades of public service. we owe senator sessions will be upfront with you -- we all -- when you say is going to do
something, he will do it. senator sessions will be an independent attorney general as he is asked so many times yesterday, and about his enforcement of the law. that's the bottom line. i now turn to senator whitehou whitehouse. >> thank you very much chairman. let me just make some very brief remarks. first, i can't help but note as a general proposition hearing after hearing the effort to push nominees into confirmation hearings before their fbi background checks are complete, before the ethics and financial disclosure filings are concluded. and i like to put into the record this hearing, the letter that senator schumer, minority leader schumer, wrote to
majority leader mcconnell in which he took a letter that majority leader mcconnell had written -- minority leader mcconnell had written to majority leader reid and simply change the names. he wrote, dear mitch, and place of dear harry, and designed his own name at the bottom. and it was a verbatim letter and what we've been asking for is exactly what republicans a vessel over and over again, what has long been the tradition of the senate. it is not the senates fault that the trump administration was not prepared and that it did not have this nominee vetted in place. i know that senator sessions has been one of the nominees who has been prepared, but i can't help point out that across the board are renting out unvented nominees, the stacking of hearings on top of hearings and the jamming of all of this up
against an unprecedented voterama for no hearing budget creates i think an unfortunate new precedent in the senate. the point i will make about the department of justice as somebody who assert in the department of justice like many of my colleagues, or a number of my colleagues, is that i think there's legitimate concern based on the hectoring in the right wing groups for a general housecleaning of career staff and for a particular targeting of named career staff. as i mentioned to my question yesterday, one of the heritage foundation spokespeople made the comparison to the aegean stables and felt as having to be washed
out of the aegean stables. i don't think it's fair to characterize the career employees of the united states department of justice as filth. nor do i think it is proper to assert that they should not be secular. and i think it's a matter of concern when an attorney general thinks that a secular attorney may have a lesser or different appreciation of truth than a religious attorney, particularly coming from rhode island where freedom of conscience has been such a principle of core values since the days of roger williams when providence was a tiny settlement in the wilderness where people who thought freely were able to get away from the theocracy of massachusetts.
we have a long history of concern about that kind of evaluation of career department professionals. and finally i would say that after a very divisive campaign that left a lot of americans and a lot of communities feeling very wounded and very vulnerable and very set upon, and after a promise that he would be a president for all americans, over and over and over and over again, we are seeing an array of cabinet nominees who run far to the right and, frankly, in many cases, out of the swamp that the president-elect promised to drain. so i thank you, chairman, for i think the thoughtful and fair way in which you run this hearing. i thought senator sessions
handled himself very well by staying to all the questions that were answered. i appreciate the procedure you have gone through, but i did want to make a record of those concerns from our site about the larger process in which these nomination hearings are taking place. and with that i yield back to you, sir. thank you. >> swear witnesses and introduce them, i think think so i don't forget it, i promised senator coons a point of personal privilege on one of the nominations. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i asked for the opportunity to introduce my friend and colleague from law school, cornell brooks, but i'm perfectly happy to wait to do so until there are other introductions spirit i would rather have you do it now. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i'm pleased to introduce cornell brooks, the president president and ceo of the naacp as one of our many witnesses on this distinguished panel here today. mr. brooks has dedicated his
entire career to ensuring that americans truly enjoy the promise of equal protection of the law. before some leadership of the naacp in 2014 he was head of the new york/new jersey base social for justice. fading for hearing on the nominee to lead the department of justice his army experience was a being a part of the department of justice as a trial attorney where he secured the been largest urban settlement for victims of housing discrimination and filed the government first lawsuit against a nursing home alleging discrimination based on race. he was also executive director of the fair housing council of greater washington, a trial attorney for civil rights under law and a law clerk for the honorable samuel irving on the court of appeals for the fourth circuit. he is a fellow alum at yale law school, holds a a master of divinity degree from boston school of theology. he is not just a lawyer and social advocate but a fourth-generation ordained minister in the african methodist episcopal church, a
husband and father. mr. brooks, thank you for your leadership and the work of justice about our nation and i look forward to your testimony here today. >> i'm going to ask you to stand and swear before introduce you. would you raise your right hand? [witnesses were sworn in] >> okay. i noticed that all of you have a firm. thank you very much. please sit down. the 81st attorney general of the united states was the honorable michael mukasey. mr. mr. casey has also served as u.s. attorney and a district
court judge, southern district of new york. we thank him for coming. our second witness, oscar vazquez, he became a citizen of the united states 2011, served honorably in afghanistan with the u.s. army. we welcome you and thank you obviously for your military service. our next witness, peter kirsanow, a member of the u.s. commission on civil rights and is very familiar with this committee, and we are familiar with you. thank you for coming. next is amita swadhin, she is a sexual assault survivor and cofounder of mirror memoirs -- i hope i'm right on that. welcome to you. then we have jayann sepich, the
mother of katie. she is a founder of surviving parents coalition. our next witness, cornell brooks. you heard him introduced but let me further say that he is president of the national association for the advancement of colored people, and he is well-known to us as well. thank you for being here today. chuck canterbury is national president of the fraternal order of police. he is familiar to a lot of us as well, so we welcome you here next we'll hear from david cole, national national legal director of the american civil liberties union. he's also a professor at the georgetown law center. we welcome you. and finally we will hear from larry thompson. he served as deputy attorney general under president bush as
a well-known u.s. attorney for the northern district of georgia. welcome back to the committee, mr. thompson. and so i think we'll start with mr. mukasey, and we will hear testimony from all of you. and then we will have questions as i indicated seven minute rounds. so proceed, will you, general mukasey? >> thank you. chairman white house, ranking member -- sorry. chairman grassley, -- not yet come right? chairman grassley, tranthree, members of the committee. this is one of those occasions that both an honor and a pleasure, and honor to appear before this committee and a pleasure to speak to the qualifications of senator sessions to serve as attorney general. i submitted a statement to this committee and am happy to answer
any questions relating to it or any other subject that can be thinks is relevant to passing on the qualifications of senator sessions. but, of course, i'm here for the convenience of the committee, not simply -- after watching yesterdays hearing on senator sessions responses to the committees questions, i think it one thing i have to add to what i have already submitted at this point is to say that the person you saw and heard yesterday is very much the person i came to know beginning in 2007 when i first appeared before this committee. principle, intelligent, knowledgeable, thorough, modest and thoroughly dedicated to the rule of law and to the mission of the department. which is to enforce the law and to reserve our freedoms. so i thank you very much for the hearing. >> does that complete your testimony? >> it does. >> thank you.
now, sergeant vasquez. thank you. please proceed. >> chairman grassley, ranking member whitehouse, thank you for the opportunity to testify before the committee. my name is oscar vazquez and i'm proud to be an american. i was born in a small town in mexico. i was 12 when my mother and i boarded a bus at the border. i did not -- is critical to became a whole. my parents made sure i was enrolled in school because he wanted me to understand the value of education. it was at this point i started to develop a passion for math and science since the equations transcended the language barrier. in high school i joined a jrotc program where my instructor for vietnam veterans. selfless service when you able to provide in the military or not. they wanted us to be better americans. i love the order and discipline and was eventually aborted that jrotc officer of the year. in my sophomore year soon after 9/11 -- [inaudible]
i knew that i wanted to join the army. when i met with a record i was told i could handle this because i was undocumented. i left that meeting that knowing what to do or what was next. i was devastated. i knew i had to figure out what else to do with my life. at the beginning of my senior year i joined the robotics club. our team of -- enter a nasa, national competition. beyond our wildest dreams my high school team won the grand prize of the competition against some of the countries top collegiate universities. when he was prove we as a dreamers have something to offer to the country always consider our home. on the leica decorative to a country by joining the military, i enrolled in arizona state university and decide to contribute by becoming an engineer. in 2005 i married my wife carla, you citizen. she started the process of petitioning for my legal status but it -- to a normal legal
obstacles and wrist. while i was a student at arizona state the arizona legislative passed a law prohibiting undocumented students from receiving state financial aid. and paying state tuition. even though arizona has been my home for many years and i was married to you citizen, i was treated like an outsider. i scraped the money together to pay for college and support my family. i graduated in 2009 with a degree in mechanical engineering. this was a few years before deferred action childhood arrivals was a childish so even though i had a stint degree and/or jobs available no one would hire me because i didn't have legal status. in 2010 after completing a legal process that involved substantial hardship to my family i was able to get a green card. having legal resident status change my life. i was able to get a drivers license, travel freely within the united states and pursue my
career in engineering. the biggest change that he noticed was the fear. i was no longer afraid of being deported or being forcibly separated from my family. i can also pursue my dream of joining the military and becoming a paratrooper. i enlisted in the army and started basic training in february 2011. i wanted to fight for the country that raised me. saying i love that the country wasn't enough. i wanted my actions to speak for themselves. shortly finishing basic training i've became a u.s. citizen. a few weeks later i found myself jumping out of a c-130. a couple months after that i was deployed to afghanistan. i look for to comment because i want to protect the traneight, serving in the army allowed me to contribute more fully to this country and make it safer. i was followed in the footsteps of other immigrants with probably served the united states. in afghanistan i fought side-by-side with my army brother spirit we wore the same
uniform. it mattered more were willing to die for each other and for our country and where we came from. did this day remember how i felt after a first firefight in afghanistan. i have put my life on my line for the brothers and my country and i felt proud to be an american. i filled in for the first time that no one could again question whether i am an american. it is been a great honor to serve my country. my son is four and in preschool. my daughter is eight and in third grade. we live in texas were volunteer to different high schools in the robotics program. i feel my family is living the american dream. but i want to continue serving my country and i will soon join the army reserve. i think now about all the doors that were unlawfully when i gained on lawful permanent residents. i can imagine what it will be like to have this taken away from me today. i also can't imagine what it's like today for my former teammates at the nearly 100,000
daca recipients to our afraid of what could happen to them in a matter of days. of course daca is only temper solution and not even that is at risk. i hope you will not be my story about a somewhat exceptional. rather i am who i am today because of the many great people that have believed in the end of given me a chance. i want to acknowledge that most dreamers and most undocumented immigrants do not have a path to legal status right now. i wanted to come here today because the coaches top law enforcement officer must be someone to understand that immigrants make our country stronger. most americans agree it's not right to deport someone who was brighter as a child. -- brought here as a child. we need an attorney general who will protect us but to also show mercy to those. thank you again for the opportunity to testify. i look forward to answering your questions. >> thank you very much, sergeant. [inaudible] >> have you pushed the red button or whatever button, color
the button is? >> thank you, chairman grassley, ranking member whitehouse, i'm peter kirsanow, i'm here in my personal capacity. u.s. commission on civil rights was established pursuant to the 1957 civil rights act to act as a national clearinghouse for matters pertaining to denials of equal protection, discrimination and voting rights and in furtherance of the clearinghouse function. my sister and i review the bills sponsored and cosponsored by senator sessions in his tenure and the senate as well as his public activities and actions that are at least arguably related to civil rights. our examination found that senator sessions approach to civil rights matters both in terms of his legislative record and his other actions is consistent with mainstream textual interpretation of relevant statutory and constitutional authority, as well as governing precedent. our examination also reveals
that senator sessions approach a civil rights is consistent, is legally sound, intellectually honest and has an appreciation and understanding of the historical bases for civil rights laws. and our examination found that several aspects about senator sessions record, unfortunately, have been mischaracterized and distorted to portray mesilla being indifferent if not hostile to civil rights. the facts emphatically show otherwise. among other things, and this is probably least consequential, senator sessions has sponsored or cosponsored a plethora of the bills honoring significant civil rights leaders, events, icons such as reverend martin luther king, coretta scott king, reverend shuttlesworth fight against segregation, three separate bills honoring rosa parks.
the scent -- he sent an apology to the descendents of victims of lynching, a bill to honor participants with some voting rights march, a bill to honor the victims of the 16th street baptist church, and on and on and on. that senator sessions commitment to civil rights transcends resolutions in support of civil rights. he has authored come cosponsored or sponsored a number of bills to protect and enhance voting rights such as the federal election act of 2001, the voter fraud act, a number of bills to protect and enhance the voting rights of servicemembers, particularly those serving overseas. he is a strong proponent of religious liberty having sponsored or cosponsored several bills to prevent discrimination against the religiously observant and to prevent the government from substantially burdening free exercise of a
person of religious beliefs. but in our estimation his most profound and important impact is on preserving and protecting the rights of american workers, particularly black workers. the employment and wage levels of black workers in america have been abysmal for several decades. labor force participation rate for black males, 61 point 8% and falling. the unemployment rate for black males is nearly double that of white males. evidence produced shows 40% of the 18 point decline in black employment levels is attributable to government failure or refusal to enforce existing immigration laws. this has a cascade effect by increasing the competition within the unskilled and low skilled marketplace driving out black workers, slashing wages particularly among black males. and this has resulted in
hundreds of thousands if not slightly over 1 million blacks having lost their jobs directly due to this phenomenon. and it is broader sociological implications as well related to incarceration and family formation rates. no one has been more committed or engaged than senator jeff sessions in protecting and enhancing the prospects of black workers in america. but for his emphatically efforts in this regard the plight of black workers now and in the immediate future and the foreseeable future would be demonstrably worse. his leadership on this matter and his leadership on the subcommittee, on immigration and the national interest has been key to restoring an even deeper downward trajectory for black workers in this country. and i will conclude by simply respectfully offering that his record on civil rights legislation, his actions as u.s. attorney, state attorney,
demonstrate an unwavering commitment to equal protection under the law and a genuine fidelity to the rule of law that should make him an outstanding attorney general. thank you, mr. chairman. [inaudible] >> i'm not sure if this is working. great. good morning. my name is amita swadhin. i'm a resident of los angeles, california, born in a while to do immigrants of indie and raised in new jersey. i'm grateful to chairman grassley, ranking member whitehouse and members of the committee for the opportunity to be a today. in october of -- prez elect to come describing forcibly kissing women and grabbing women by the genitals. in the wake of these, it's becoming public senator sessions was quoted as stating he that behavior and sexual assault. millions of sexual assault survivors were triggered in the wake of these events. i was one of those survivors.
my father raped me at least once a week from age four to age 12. i endured psychological, verbal and physical abuse from him for years. i also also grew up watching my father abuse my mother in a textbook case of domestic violence and marital rape. when i disclose the sexual abuse my mother at age 13 she called a therapist engaging mandated reporting. the prosecutor threatened to prosecute my mother for being complicit. they told me i would be harshly cross-examined by defense attorney did not connect me to any victim support services. i was too afraid to tell them my story. my father received five years probation and no jail time, and his violence continued continued for two years until my mother finally found the support to leave him. i inherited him to have of rape and sexual assault survivors to urge you not to confirm senator sessions as attorney general. as a public without survivors of child sexual abuse, many, many people have downplayed the impact of this violent,
present-day life. i live with complex post about stress disorder and struggle every day to be well. it directly negatively impacts me when people minimize such a soul. so to senator sessions initiative president-elect trump comments to constitute sexual assault, and then to consider him leading the department of justice has been incredibly worrisome. i have unfortunately far from alone in my experience. more than 320,000 americans over age 12 are raped or sexually assaulted every year. one in four girls and one in six boys will be sexually abused before age 18. these are public health issues occurring in the private sphere. in 80% of adult sexual assault, and 90% of cases of child sexual abuse, victims know and trust our perpetrators. for this reason most victims of violent crime never seek healing or accountability from the state. most violent crimes remain
unreported. thankfully we have improved the response of the criminal justice system with the creation of the violence against women act in 1994. the grants provided training to judges, prosecute police officers and other law enforcement personnel to better support survivors. in 1991 the police one the police did not contact victim services for me but today thanks to vawa, law enforcement is encouraged to provide victims and advocates who support them in breaking her silence. yet despite this progress, rape sexual assault and domestic violence still happen at epidemic rates and survivors at the intersections of oppression are especially vulnerable. lgbt people and particularly transgender women of color are disproportionately victimized. one into transgender people will be raped or sexually assaulted in their lifetime. furthermore the majority of hate and violence homicide victims are transgender women. in fact only 11 days into the new year, to transgender women of color have already been
murdered, and african-american attention to women from mississippi, and jamie, a two spirit lakota woman from south dakota. we need an attorney general who is committed to improving at enforcing our laws to ensure the most vulnerable victims of crime can come forward to seek accountability and access healing. time and again senator sessions voting record has shown us he is not the named for the job. despite his claim to be a champion for victims of violent crime he has not been a friend to vulnerable survivors. while senator sessions vote in favor of the violence against women act in the bills early years, when vawa was expanded in 2013 to ensure lgbt emigrant and tribal populations of domestic violence and sexual assault survivors are protected and have access to services, senator sessions voted against the bill. we must trust the attorney general to enforce and apply our laws fairly per our constitution is pervasive unequal protection. we must trust the attorney
general to respect the humanity of all americans, and especially, especially to be committed to seeking justice for our most vulnerable victims of crime. given his voting record on vawa and on lgbt rights, we have no reason to put our faith or our trust in senator sessions as attorney general. in conclusion i want to emphasize members of the national task force to an sexual and domestic violence including but not limited to the national coalition against domestic violence, the ywca, the, the national council of jewish women, the national center on violence against women in the black community, the national alliance to end sexual violence, the national coalition of antiviolence program breaks the cycle and jewish women international oppose senator sessions nomination because of the issues i am racing today. thank you. >> thank you very much, and now we will go to jayann sepich spirit good morning, chairman grassley, ranking member whitehouse and members of the committee. my name is jayann sepich and thank you for the opportunity to
testify today in support of the nomination of senator sessions as attorney general of the united states. in 2003 my daughter katie, daughter katie, a vivacious 22-year-old graduate student was brutally raped, murdered and set on fire. it is never easy to lose a child for any reason but the pain and horror of losing our daughter in this violent manner is beyond description. no suspects emerged into this case by katie fought for life and underneath our fingernails were found the blood and skin of her attacker. a dna profile was extracted and uploaded into the national forensic dna database. i made a comment to the investigators that the manger killed katie with such a monster, that surely would be arrested for another crime, his cheek with his wife and would soon know his identity and he would not be able to harm another young woman. that's when i learned it was not legal in new mexico in my home state or in most states to take dna at the time of felony arrest didn't go to be taken after
conviction. i was stunned. we don't use dna to i could identify persons arrested for serious crime. we release them from law enforcement custody without a check of the dna database for a possible match to other unsolved crimes. we collect fingerprints mug shot and check what other kind a person may been involved in but we do not collect dna. after considerable research i became an national advocate for the collection of dna upon arrest. my husband and i started a nonprofit association dna save. we know we can't bring katie back but we absolutely believe that we may be able to prevent new crime, prevented this horrible pain from being visited on other families by advocating for a law that allows for the collection of dna from persons arrested for serious crime. to date 30 state legislators and the united states cogs have enacted laws regarding at a dna sample be taken for qualifying felony arrest. in june 2012 the supreme court upheld these laws ruling that
taking dna at the time of booking for a felony arrest is a legitimate police booking procedure that is reasonable under the fourth amendment. senator sessions helped craft the legislative language and became the dna fingerprint act to provide authorities with the authorization to collect dna from arrestees. in 2,008,008 senator bingaman along with senator schumer as original cosponsor and it is the enhanced dna collection act which was passed in 2012. this federal law provides additional funding to the debbie smith dna backlog elimination act to the states that have enacted laws to expand the databases. once again, during the time which legislated was pending senator sessions played a significant role in helping us to craft a bill that would gain bipartisan support and eventually pass congress unanimously. as a result of stronger state and federal dna database laws we have seen many heinous criminals identified through dna testing.
my home state has seen over 1200 cases matched. california is a saying in cases matched every day on their dna database. the alabama department of forensic sciences remains one of the most successful programs in the country, and a credit senator sessions for much of the success largely due to the sport is provided from the outset of the states forensic dna program during his term as alabama attorney general. alabama has utilized the dna database to solve over 6500 previously unsolved cases. in cadiz case after more than three long years, dna finally identified gabrielle as kate is killed but he would've been identified after only three months if law enforcement had been permitted to collect dna and arrested over the past 11 years our family has worked to change dna laws across the country. we've been supported by lawmakers of both parties pick with also seen opposition from both republicans and democrats.
forensic dna as a complex issue and it is vitally important that policymakers take the time to fully understand these complexities in a truly nonpartisan manner. senator sessions has done that. with that understanding he is to install support of the use of forensic dna to identify the guilty and exonerate the innocent. he knows when a dna match is made on codis it is blind to race, ethnicity and social economic status. dna is the truth. it is science. senator sessions said in a floor speech we are spending only on getting our scientific evidence produced in an honest and effective way as a result justice is being delayed and justice delayed is justice denied. i believe senator sessions is committed to that philosophy that it is the core responsible of our government to protect public safety. he cares about victims to his been a leader on forensic policy for years and consistently has supported vital spending for dna. in conclusion our lives are
shattered when our daughter was brutally murdered. we know intimately the pain that violent crime brings to family. senator sessions that shall he understands the pain of victims at that but that understanding into action to help make changes that will make a difference. senator sessions will provide strong leadership to the united states department of justice, and i hope you will support his nomination for attorney general. thank you. >> and thank you, ms. sepich. now mr. brooks. >> good morning, chairman grassley, ranking member whitehouse and esteemed senators of this committee. my name is cornell william brooks, i serve as president and ceo of the naacp. i greatly appreciate the invitation to testify before you today to express the deep concerns of the naacp regarding this nomination of senator jeff sessions to be as attorney general. as you well know the attorney general is the chief law enforcement officer of the united states.
particularly for such a time as this with the racial divisions deepening, hate crimes rising from sanctuary to schoolyard with state imposed racially motivated voter suppression spreading in state legislatures, as well as being struck down in federal courts with police involved shootings, reduced to hashtag homicides and videos. it is critical that this committee closely examine senator sessions entire record as a prosecutor and as a legislature. to determine whether he is fit to serve as the chief enforcer of our nations of civil rights laws. based upon a review of the record, the naacp firmly believes that senator sessions is unfit to serve as attorney general. accordingly, we are representing multiple civil rights and human rights coalition. we are to this committee not to favorably report has nomination to the full senate.
as i written testimony details, senator sessions record reveals inconsistent this regard to civil and human rights of vulnerable populations. including the african-americans, latinos, women, muslims, immigrants, the disabled, the lgbt community and others. further, his, his senate voting record reflected fundamental disregard for many of the department of justice programs which are vital to the protection of americans. senator sessions votes against the hate crimes prevention act in 2000, 2002, 2004, 2,007,002, 2004, 2007 and 2009, and the violence against women act in 2012 and 2013 demonstrate a disturbing lack of concern regarding violent crimes, rape, assault, assault, murder committed against minorities and an american majority women. these cranks in particular make victims of individuals as well as of the groups to which they belong and the american values we cling to. his opposition to the lilly
ledbetter fair pay act indicates a hostility to the claims of employment discrimination and more specifically to allowing legal redress for pay discrimination against women. his consistent opposition to any meaningful gun-control shows an unwillingness to stand up to the fire arms lobby and the lack of concern regarding the destructive impact of gun violence on our children and communities because failure to condemn the present elects call for an unconscionable and unconstitutional ban on muslim immigrants as well as his opposition to a senate resolution condemning a government imposed litmus test on a global religion shows an endless to protect the rights of the vulnerable and the unpopular. which is something and attorney general must do. his call for the reevaluation of a basic constitutional principle that person born in this country are citizens of this country reflect the unconstitutional xenophobia that is fundamentally inconsistent with the duty of
the attorney general to protect the rights of all americans. he is calling into question the legitimacy of consent decrees, the question of whether he would use his powerful tool to hold accountable police department such as ferguson that engage in predatory policing and it had a practice of discrimination. with his consistent report for mandatory minimums as a prosecutor and a legislator, he stands in opposition to bipartisan efforts to bring to an end this ugly era of mass incarceration with 2.3 million americans behind bars come with overpopulated prisons and jails and depopulated families and communities. it is senator sessions record on voting rights, however, that is perhaps most telling. as this committee is well aware of the instruments -- civil rights activists were prosecuted by then u.s. attorney sessions for voter fraud, although were acquitted by jury in less than four hours on 29 counts, this
chilling prosecution against him is his civil rights workers were later given gold medals by congress painfully reverberates in the hearts of black voters in alabama, in the history of this country. senator sessions' record of prosecuting so-called voter fraud both intimidating at suppressing voters and then is now reflected in a legislative record of supporting voter id requirements that suppress votes based on the myth of voter fraud today. his record of vote suppression prosecution is connected to a record of vote suppression legislation today. rather than condemn, he has committed voter id laws like that his own state of alabama affecting a half million voters. similar to loss struck down in texas and north carolina in the fourth and fifth circuits. if we can imagine, as senator sessions laid department of justice in michael brown,
ferguson. freddie grays baltimore, towns with rising hate crimes, communities of vulnerable populations and a democracy divided by voter suppression in twitter eight civil rights movement. we can imagine that. imagining that, we we must face the reality that senator sessions should not be our attorney general. with that said i do for this opportunity to testify. i welcome your questions. [inaudible] spinning good morning mr. chairman, ranking member whitehouse, fisting whispers of the committee and, of course, my own senator lindsey graham. my name is chuck canterbury, national president of 330,000 rank-and-file police officers organizations. very pleased to have the opportunity to be here today to testify before this committee. i have testified before on cabinet nominations, agency had
nominations and even a nominee for the supreme court of the united states. i can say without reservation that i've never testified with more optimism and enthusiasm that i do today for senator jeff sessions. we wholeheartedly support his position and nomination as attorney general of the united states. following the news that president-elect trump intended to tap senator sessions, we immediately issued a statement to to the press indicating our strong support for his nomination. he has been a true partner to law enforcement in his time as a u.s. attorney, attorney general for the state of alabama, and throughout his tenure in the united states senate. senator sessions has demonstrated commitment not just to so-called law and order issue but also to issue very important to my members, officer safety safety. he was the leading cosponsor of the fop efforts to enact the law enforcement officer safety act which was offered the author by friend and former chairman of
this committee, senator leahy. the 2010 senator sessions was a republican lead cosponsor of s1132, law enforcement officer safety act improvement which made important and needed changes to the original law. he has provided true leadership in the success of a bipartisan effort. more recently senator sessions was deeply involved in the passage of s 2840, protecting 40, protecting our lives by initiating cop expansion act. he helped build bipartisan support for the legislation which passed the senate and then the house before being signed into law by the president. that law gives the office of community policing service the authority to award grants, state, political and tribal law enforcement agencies to get active shooter response training for the officers. they need for the string is obvious he been identified by numerous law enforcement leaders and by the fop. senator sessions played a key
role in the efforts to pass the fallen heroes flag act. the bill which provides a flag to be flying over this capital to surviving, provided to surviving there was a public officers killed in the light duty. this may not sound like much to you but in a time when officers are being assassinated the highest rate since the '70s and offices being assaulted at record rates, officers in the field want to know who has my back. who will protect me while i protect my community? bills like this which acknowledge and respect the sacrifices made by the rank-and-file truly resonate with my members and with the public safety committee. members of the committee may remember that years that were spent trying to do away with the disparity between the sentencing on the possession of crack cocaine versus powder cocaine. there was a considerable golf between the position of the fop and many members of this committee. in 2001 senator sessions introduce a bill to address this
issue and he worked tirelessly to bring it together. he made sure the voice of law enforcement was heard and also asserted his belief that the disparity as existed in the current law was unjust. in 2010 as a ranking member of this committee he brokered a compromise that led to the passage with our support of the fair sentencing act. we accepted that compromise because it was fair, it was adjust, and reflected the perspective of law enforcement and the law enforcement community. the importance of his direct role in this issue cannot be overstated. without jeff sessions i believe we might be a today still trying to remain unsolved. that said, i understand there's there's a certain amount of partisanship and its expected in these nomination hearings. but i ask all the members of this committee to recollect that senator sessions has worked in a bipartisan manner on many issues, officer safety issues with the fop and members of the
left. more than many times that i have been here has a senator sessions one of the soul members to stand up for law enforcement. especially when it came to the issue of asset forfeiture. without his leadership the support and the equitable sharing program may have been dismantled. for us that demonstrates jeff sessions is a man who can reach across the aisle to get things done for the rank-and-file officer, and to to protect the citizens of this country. senator sessions has worked tirelessly and faithfully for the majority of his adult life. he is above all a man who reveres the law and reveres justice. i believe he will be an exemplary attorney general, and we urge you to move this nomination forward to the senate for passage. inc. user spin thank you, mr. canterbury. now mr. cole. >> thank you for inviting me to testify. the aclu is a nonpartisan organization for a long-standing policy of neither endorsing nor
opposing nominees for federal office. we rarely testify in confirmation hearings as a result. we do so today because we believe senator sessions' record raises serious questions about the fitness senator sessions to be attorney general for all the american people. we take no position on how you should ultimately vote, but we urge you to painstakingly probe the many serious questions that his actions, words and deeds race about his commitments, civil rights and civil liberties. our concerns arise from his conduct as a prosecutor, and from his record as a senator. as a prosecutor when he exercised the power to prosecute, the most serious power that any government official and the united states
exercises, he abused that power. cornell brooks is already talked about his prosecution, ultimately baseless, of civil rights heroes for seeking to increase the black vote in alabama. he didn't investigate those who sought to help white voters in alabama, but he did investigate and prosecute those who sought to a black voters. many of the charges in that case were dismissed before they even went to the jury because they were baseless. the jury didn't acquitted all other charges. in a second case, the tyco case, senator sessions collaborated with camping contributors to his senatorial campaign to use the office of the criminal prosecutor to intervene in a private business dispute on behalf of his campaign contributors.
he filed a 222 count indictment against tyco, and engineering supply corporation. all charges in the case were dismissed. many were dismissed because, again, they were baseless. it was no evidence whatsoever to support them. the others were dismissed on grounds of prosecutorial misconduct, and the judge to dismiss of them said this was the worst case of prosecutorial misconduct he had seen in his career on the bench. mr. sessions successor, mr. pryor, did not even appeal that decision. so those actions raise serious questions about his fitness to become the most powerful prosecutor in the land. second, his record as a senator. here he has shown blindness or
outright hostility to the concerns of the people whose rights he will be responsible to protect. on voting rights he supported felon disenfranchisement laws and voter id laws and suppressed the black. when the supreme court gutted the single most effective provision of the voting rights act, the most important statute in getting african-americans the right to vote in this country, senator sessions called that a good day for the south. on religious tolerance he called islam a toxic ideology. it is, in fact, a religion practiced by millions of americans. imagine if he called christianity a toxic ideology. now he says he opposes a muslim man on entrance to the united
states, but but when donald trump propose that, he stood up and opposed a resolution introduced here in the senate to keep religion out of immigration decisions. on women's rights, now he says that grabbing women's genitals is sexual assault. but when donald trump's tape-recording bragging about his doing precisely that was made public, senator sessions said, and i quote, i don't characterize that as a sexual assault. that's a stretch. ..
on torture he now says waterboarding is illegal but he praised michael for not ruling it out and opposed senator kane's amendment which we designed to make it clear that waterboarding was illegal. on criminal justice he is an outlier. many of his republican colleagues who seek to make the criminal justice system more fair and less harsh. if someone applied an intern for one of your offices had as many questions in his record senator sessions has been a racist comments, unethical conduct, adding of his resume you would not hire him absent the most thorough investigation and inquiry if then. senator sessions is not seeking
to be an intern, and the most lot enforcement lot officer in the nation, the senate and american people deserve satisfactory answers to these questions before senator sessions, thanks very much. >> mister johnson. >> chairman grassley, ranking member whitehouse and other members of this distinguished committee. i appreciate the opportunity to appear before you today and support the nomination of senator jeff sessions to be attorney general of the united states. if i could add a personal perspective on senator sessions i have known him for 30 years and i am honored to consider him a good friend. i have talked frequently, at dinners together, and in mobile, i was united states attorney in
atlanta. in order to stretch limited government programs on travel to the department of justice, we sometimes shared a room together, two young prosecutors trying to save money. in 1982 when i was asked by william smith to head the southeastern organized crime enforcement task force because of strategic location in atlanta where my office was, a delicate situation was presented. 11 state attorney offices, any potential problem was avoided because my friend senator sessions rallied the other united states attorneys around common cause and my leadership. senator sessions had a lot to do with the success of the task force under my leadership. senator sessions, highly thought of by his colleagues and served on the prestigious attorney general advisory unit.
membership to this committee is by invitation only. i thought about this a lot and can identify without any equivocation three themes the senator will lead the department of justice, and vigorously enforce our laws, senator sessions has a strong record of bipartisan accomplishment on criminal justice and also understands the importance of what robert jackson says about what constitutes a good prosecutor. one displays sensitivity to fair play and appreciates his or her task with humility. next, senator sessions will continue to make certain the traditional role of federal law enforcement is carried out with vigor and effectiveness and independence. the department of justice under
his leadership will tackle such critical prime problems as complicated by individual and organizations, civil rights violations, serious environmental violations and espionage. finally, senator sessions will seriously look at the role of federal law enforcement to help citizens achieve a greater sense of personal safety in their homes and neighborhoods. this will be important for some minority and low income citizens against whom violent crime has a disproportionate impact of all our important civil rights, the rights to be safe and secure in one's home and neighborhood is the most important. we all know senator sessions strongly and honestly held political and policy. and he has a record of bipartisan leadership especially
criminal justice issues. we talked about it yesterday, presented by the committee, senator sessions's effort under the act of 2010 and his work with senator durbin on that important legislation. interesting that i as the beauty attorney general of the united states and the bush administration opposed this legislation would senator sessions was right and i was wrong. son of the south who has had up close experience with great civil rights movement, senator sessions is not oblivious to the fact we have more to do in the area of racial equality. he noted in a speech praising the foot soldiers of the civil rights movement that more needs to be done. we need to join closer in it. as a lawyer myself who spent a fair amount of time during my 43 year legal career supporting diversity in our great profession and equal rights this statement touched me greatly
because it reflects the man i have known over 30 years and proud to call my friend. senator sessions, the next attorney general. >> we have 7 minute rounds, starting with general mc hazy. senator sessions has noted the attorney general is not the president's lawyer. in your opinion would senator sessions have the independence and ability to say no to the president if they disagree. >> he made that clear and explicit. if necessary the alternative was to resign. >> also to you, senator sessions testify the appropriate scope of
communication between the white house. there was merit in your december 2007 memo, tell us what you believe the merits of the approach to be, what senator sessions said yesterday? >> what is in the memos contact between the white house and justice department is limited to attorney general and deputy attorney general, pending legislation which is the subject of communication between lower-level people in the white house. and other routine budget matters. other than that, no contact between anyone in the justice department and anyone in the white house and if anybody it involved they are instructed, i refer you to the people who
respond. >> mister thompson, you have known senator sessions 35 years and in that time worked closely with him so you have already said something about your service to gather, more detailed than you did in the opening statement. >> yes. i have known senator sessions for many years, had a great deal of respect for the department of justice, he was a consistent united states attorney, he had been promoted to become united states attorney, a fine lawyer, very effective prosecutor, great fidelity to principles of fair prosecution and the positions of the department of justice. >> would you, knowing him as you do, say that he is going to be
the independent head we expect that the department of justice? >> absolutely. i would expect senator sessions to understand and appreciate the practice of the traditional independent role of the department of justice and he will be attorney general of all the senators on this committee. >> since you know him, how do you think he would fare standing up to a strong-willed president who wants to take certain actions with senator sessions in his capacity as attorney general may not feel that would feel would be inappropriate. >> good question. as i said senator sessions is not only an experienced prosecutor but a mighty fine lawyer. he understands his role to counsel the president, bring the president around to a position is appropriate. at the end of the day would be independent of the president
insisted upon doing something. >> mister canterbury, you are no stranger to these attorney general hearings, you testified in support of attorney general eric holder eight years ago reflecting on the last eight years of leadership the department of justice from the perspective of the largest law-enforcement advocacy group. how did doj fair and how might it be different if the person you are supporting today for attorney general? >> we have to work with whoever is in that office and we have historically worked with every attorney general, i worked with eight attorney general since janet reno. we believe with senator sessions the communications between us will be more direct than they have been. we have had career employees, very professional. it is an outstanding
organization that we also believe information and knowledge from serving on this committee, he will serve us well in the area of criminal justice with reform efforts and training and equitable sharing and those types of things, communications will be excellent with senator sessions. >> the sheriffs association at the national level, recently noted in the past year this country has seen the highest number of law enforcement fatalities in five years including 21 officers were shot and killed. confirmed for the position of attorney general, what steps do you think senator sessions could take to reverse the trend? >> first and foremost, we believe the attorney general will not speak out on incidents that arise before a thorough and
full investigation and we believe the anti-police rhetoric tones from people who make comments without knowledge of the situation, prior to the facts being released to the media, we believe there will be a much more positive tone about reconciliation. no one this country wants to reconcile more than my member. >> senator sessions has received criticism for his enforcement of voting rights while he was a federal prosecutor and attorney general. would you evaluate senator sessions's record on voting rights. >> testimony, and respect to cases related to voting rights, and if he had failed to
prosecute the case, that would be an extraordinary dereliction of duty as opposed to facts, read all the contemporary reporting. doing so as i did. the multi-count indictment, details in excruciating detail all of the violations here. we look at the facts of the case, two separate factions of black democrats in perry county, one faction went to the attorney's office, we believe there is rampant voter fraud going on here, and 75 forged signatures on absentee ballots,
individuals who were part of -- candidates taking absentee ballots. on behalf of individuals, in the elections board. one family had a candidate for whom they voted -- all six members justified that, was checked for the other person and it was false. there was copious evidence there was voter fraud and the fact that it occurred. it is true people were acquitted. we have seen the circumstance before. the person who literally wrote the book on voter fraud, the legendary head of integrity doj, told senator sessions go forward with this, he surmised as did many contemporary witnesses that this was a classic case of voter
notification. this is a matter in which there is no way in the world the jury would convict these individuals who were civil rights advocates. and >> i was the state attorney general. and worked closely with police departments and the united states attorney. and the police chief, the police chief in providence, urban, good-sized city and the police chief in narragansett, rhode
island have different law-enforcement priorities. my view is appropriate for the police chief to convince their law-enforcement priority within their community. would you agree with that. >> yes, same with sheriff's, constitutionally elected officers are going to police their communities the way they want to be policed and set priorities that way. >> an important part for police chief is to maintain a kind of community relations between the department and the community that support the pursuit of those law-enforcement priorities. is that the case also? >> in a city with five police officers -- wherever you are
community relations is the key to successfully performing our jobs. it will be different in different communities. the method will be different in effective community relations. >> it can be. >> would you agree for the department of justice to dictate what local law enforcement priorities should be or how police department should choose to deal with its community could be a stretch too far. >> in matters of law, no but in matters of policy and procedure yes. >> the reason i ask that is one of the concerns i heard from rhode island elyse chief was -- police chief was relentless or unthinking pursuit of very low
level immigration violations could disrupt everything from orderly community relations with a latino community to even ongoing significant gang investigation in which cooperators might lose their willingness to cooperate if somebody decided to deport their mother. my point is not what is right and another is wrong but i point is the decision at the community level as to priorities and maintaining community relations is important. >> it would be but the core of what i think you are asking, sanctuary city decisions are usually made by politicians, not police chiefs and very rarely -- very rare law-enforcement officers make those decisions. as you know, politicians are --
to agree or disagree with them. >> you do establish law, to do jaywalking, robbery. that is standard law-enforcement practice. >> that requires the highest level of crime first and down there. >> something i agree very much with, employees in the department of justice and the department of justice was an outstanding organization you and i and others served as united states attorneys. what do you think about the core of the department of justice. >> the career attorneys, like yours, these are very good lawyers, they are dedicated to law enforcement, dedicated to the work of the department of justice.
i have had nothing but positive experiences in my years at the department of justice, should a career attorney in the new administration be punished for following properly the policy direction of a previous administration. >> i don't think a career attorney should be punished for anything. >> the career attorney shouldn't be judged whether there are secular or religious. >> absolutely not. >> mister brooks, the sessions candidacy expressed support from people like david duke and a white supremacist neo-nazi news site called the daily stormer
whose -- it was like working at a daily storm. you can't fault the nominee for the people who choose to be enthusiastic about his candidacy. this is not senator sessions's fault but do you believe he has distinguished himself a way from whatever the causes are from that support so that you feel comfortable going forward that he has addressed that? >> based on the record i do not believe the senator has sufficiently described the department of justice fully committed to enforcing the nation's civil rights laws. where we have hate crimes on most of which is perpetuated not in the streets but in k-12 schools. speaking out against hate crimes, making it clear
prosecuting hate crimes, you enforce the nation's civil rights law and the voting rights acts to the full throated measure, i do not believe we have heard that so he is not responsible for who endorses him that he is in fact responsible for what he endorses and his vision for the department of justice. >> thank you, my time has expired. >> thank you, senator whitehouse. welcome back, after two decades that the federal district court, the current attorney general after decades of experience as a federal prosecutor, jeff sessions will become attorney general after two decades as a us senator. no matter where in attorney general comes from, he or she has the opportunity to describe
yesterday, forcing the law fairly, evenly and without personal bias. you were here yesterday, repeating the suggestion that senator sessions would not be able to enforce the law personally that he personally disagrees with. do you agree someone's political party, general ideological perspective or personal opinions do not by themselves mean he or she cannot be impartial and fair? >> i certainly agree political background does not disqualify that person, and enforcing the law. to understand the difference between advocating the position on the one it is a legislature.
and everybody passes from one status to another. the judge from attorney general, understands that they are changing their responsibility. he is not alone in that but certainly very much alive to it. >> conservative republican senator and enforcing the laws fairly without personal bias. >> i think his statements yesterday make it clear he understands his responsibility to do that and i see no reason he won't do it. >> in his written testimony, mister brooks argued senator sessions lacks the judgment and temperament to serve as attorney general. he questioned whether senator sessions would prosecute hate crimes.
i welcome your response to that. >> i haven't known senator sessions as long as mister thompson has but i have noted more than two years and what i can tell you is i worked with several senators concerned about issues related to civil rights particularly with respect to one issue that is in my wheelhouse which is the interests of black and others and their employment prospects. we had hearings at the civil rights commission about a lot of deleterious policies to the prospects of black employment and these were quantifiable policies with pronounced effects, negative effects on black employment, we even had a hearing where every single witness on the ideological spectrum from left to right agreed massive illegal immigration decided negative
impact on wage and employment growth and provided these reports to a number of senators and other congressman, many of the senators here were alarmed by it is especially about it and other members of the civil rights commission. i provided it to members of congress including members of the congressional black caucus. one senator who reached out being very alarmed and pursuing this case with ultimate vigor with senator sessions, he was very concerned about this, the number of private conversations, we talked about what was taken aside reform immigration law which we know had a significant challenge but what can we do to improve employment prospects of black americans. he was the only senator to act in that fashion. i heard nothing from congressional black caucus
despite detail about negative impacts. i am ultimately convinced that senator sessions would take appropriate actions to enforce the law as, existing immigration law but adamant in doing that without fear or favor. >> knowing him as well as i do i agree with you. mister canterbury, i thank you for what you and thousands of officers who represent us each and every day. the pew research center today, one of the largest polls officers ever conducted involving some 8000 officers and departments across the country, as a result of the high-profile incumbent between offices and blacks, three quarters of officers more reluctant to use force as appropriated 72% have become less willing to stop and question people who seem suspicious.
i believe this effect stems from what has become almost a presumption they have done something wrong when such encounters occur. that is a pernicious and dangerous shift in attitude toward our police and is totally without foundation. it seems to me this change in attitudes cannot only negatively affect officers and actually put police safety at risk, but also make it much more difficult at community policing. ..
a number of police killed in the line of duty has significantly increased. you've made that point. mostly yesterday senator session has most police are local rather than federal. the other national law enforcement groups reported his nomination. how do you think that a change in leadership of the justice department can concretely in fact can improve things at the local level? >> first of all, the cops program, the community oriented policing teams, consent decrees, pattern and practice investigations. when you have open lines of communication where rank-and-file, management as well as citizen and activist
groups can discuss those cases. i think you can get to a place where the communities will feel safer in the police officers feel safer. we've got to reduce violence in this country. senator hatch, we been saying for a long time, systemic poverty is not charged with nor has the ability to fix, but we are willing to be good partners and we believe with jeff sessions as attorney general, we will be able to work in all of the session of the justice department to try to improve. >> we. >> we are pleased that you're here today and we are pleased you are willing to testify. thank you. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i want to thank all the members of the panel here today and especially oscar vazquez who came as my invitee for telling his inspiring life story. thank you. you've given a face to an issue which is near and dear to my heart and the hearts of millions of americans. thank you for serving our
country. gentleman casey, during the course of this hearing, i send that there is an evolving contacts relative to russia and the involvement of russia in the election. many of the questions we posed to senator sessions related to his values, his boat. and now, i think there is a growing concern of a question that you've addressed yourself and ask you to speak to again about his role if he becomes attorney general vis-à-vis the white house, the president. we now have allegations and confirmed relative to russian activity related to the president elect. as i said, alleged, unconfirmed. and director comey of the fbi saying at this point he would not talk about whether there was an ongoing investigation
relative to russia's role in the election. can you give me some clarity and i think you've addressed this. forgive me if i'm asking you to repeat. could you give me some clarity when he served as attorney general, if he received a call from the white house from any person in the white house relative to an investigation, an ongoing investigation or prosecution, what do you believe is the appropriate response in that situation? >> the appropriate response is whatever investigation it is, it is pursued to its logical conclusion, which is to say with the fact that the law lead and i'm glad the question was in the hypothetical because science fact to did not get such a call although i have gotten calls with respect to other matters. my response was generally the department would pursue its agenda as already said. >> is it your position, the
attorney general is independent in this decision-making when it comes to other members of the executive branch? >> correct. the attorney general obviously is a member of the administration and pursues priorities set by an administration. but when you talk about particular investigation and cases, that is something altogether different. senator sessions made it clear. >> another question related to that. investigations undertaken by the federal bureau of investigation, what authority does the attorney general have over the commencement or the conclusion of those investigations? >> the attorney general theoretically -- the fbi director reports to the attorney general. i see it the -- i say theoretically because acacia theoretically because occasionally does the idea of the attorney general is more independent. if we have our time i could say the story but it will have to wait until an informal meeting. the attorney general -- the fbi or works for the attorney
general. >> repeatedly senator sessions has called for attorneys general to recuse themselves rather than participate in investigations with local ramifications. most recently attorney general lynch to appoint a special counsel for hillary clinton in an op-ed he wrote on november 5th of last year. i am trying to work this through. i asked him pointedly whether he would recuse himself if there were any accusations against the president elect once he becomes president or other people involved in the trunk campaign and he basically answered that he was going to take this on a case-by-case basis. if he has the authority and power to stop an investigation at the fbi, so we are me? >> yes. >> so if there is an investigation underway, he could stop it if you wish? >> yes. >> when it comes to the appointment of a special counsel involving the conduct of the
president, is it your feeling that the attorney general showed us a general rule considers special counsel? >> no. it would depend on the case. the special counsel is to be appointed when there is a good reason why the department headed by the attorney general cannot pursue that case. i think what senator sessions -- i'm not familiar with the op-ed you mentioned so i'm speculating, but it sounds like what he had in mind was not simply the position of the attorney general that the tarmac conversation with president clinton that put her in a difficult situation. i don't think it had to do with the fact that she was attorney general appointed by the president. >> i see. thank you. mr. brooks. since the shelby county decision, the voting rights act is in a perilous situation and i
commend it to my colleagues and i commend to you a book titled white rage by carol &-ampersand teachers at emory. she talked about the evolution of racing double lawyer. it strikes me now that we are in dangerous territory about the future of the voting rights act. if preclearance is not required and the department of justice's react to an after-the-fact, there could be some delay in justice here in the intervening election or no action taken. i asked my staff to give me a listing of the cases initiated by the department of justice relative to the voting rights act for the last several years and it goes on for pages. can you address this issue about your belief of the commitment of senator sessions to enforce the voting rights act in principal post-shelby county? >> so as you well know, the voting rights act is regarded as
the crown jewel of civil rights statute. section five was regarded as the most effective provision of the most effect that civil rights action. in the wake of the shelby versus older supreme court decision, which debilitated section five section four b., we see nothing less than a machiavelli and frenzy from one end of the country to the other. so that means the department of justice has taken on more responsibility and civil rights organizations have taken on more responsibility with fewer tools. it has meant the debilitation, literally of our democracy. where we have citizens who have to wait for the violation to occur as we saw in north carolina, where the u.s. court of appeals fourth circuit held that the state legislature engaged in intentional racial discrimination with respect to voter suppression carried out with surgical precision. it took an army of lawyers, an
army of experts in order to vindicate the rights of the people in a mass movement of the north carolina state congress and the naacp with so many others in so many other legal groups. the point being here is the department of justice not only is the democracy in a perilous place, but the department of justice is in a perilous place. any strong leadership, resources and a red advancement act. >> co. shelby county, if the attorney general is not timely and aggressive in enforcing the voting rights act, the damage will be done. >> the damage is absolutely done. when we think about all the many members of this body with the foot soldiers of the movement, all that they died for, all this sacrifice for his taken in the balance. we need strong leadership because literally we can squander the fruit of their efforts and the civic sacrament of our democracy, namely the
right to vote. >> thank you, mr. chairman. there's a lot to cover in seven minutes. so let me try to be somewhat selected. first of all, thank you for being here. i can't help but believe in spite of the fact that we've had a national election that the election is still ongoing, the campaign is still ongoing. i respect each one of your right to express your point of view, but at the same time, it is amazing to me that what the senator had been cast 6000 the in the united states senate, we are focused on a handful of policy difference is that somehow people are saying those are dispositive of the qualification of this person who preserved alongside a for 15 years in my case in 20 years in the case of others. so i guess our job is sort of like the jury and a regular
lawsuit that we have to give way to the testimony and we have to figure out whose testimony is entitled to graduate because frankly the description we've heard is so wildly disparate that i would imagine for people who didn't know senator sessions and know his record as i do and those who served with him, it would be hard to reconcile. but i want to ask general mckay say, senator hatch alluded to this, but this is really to me and i just want to reiterate this. you've had the distinction of serving in the two branches of our three branches of government as a federal district judge with great distinction and as attorney general of the executive range. i had a much lower level of had the chance to serve now in three branches myself as a state court judge and attorney general of my state and now it's a legislator here at the federal level. each of those roles are
different, aren't they? and d. that is the point senator sessions made eloquently yesterday, even though he had some policy differences or cast a vote against a bill in the senate. he would respect the constitution and enforce the law. is not what you understood? >> that's precisely what i understood. he recognize the difference in the different roles he plays as a legislator from what he would play as attorney general. >> i thought yesterday he did a magnificent job responding to the questions and acknowledging the policy differences that do exist. that is just the way it is. mr. canterbury, let me ask a little bit about the role of the federal government and the attorney general's office in the department of justice in supporting local and state law enforcement. i believe the figure is roughly $2 billion a year that the
federal government hands out or distributes in terms of grants to local and state law enforcement. i think your testimony you mentioned active shooter training that we've tried to enhance through the police act, which passed congress and was signed by president obama, and making sure that more officers got that training, which is even more relevant today sadly been in the past. i would just add that the work we did recently on mental health and its intersection with the criminal justice system, dental health and the community fact part of the 20th century bill began recognizing that our jails and our streets and our emergency rooms have become the treatment centers by default for people with mental illness. we need to do more to try and get people who need help the help they need, not treat mental illness as a crime per se.
we also need to make sure that we trained law enforcement officials because we know how dangerous than the statistics we see how dangerous it can be an police officer encounters a person with mental illness and they don't have the training they need in order to de-escalate the scene. but could you talk a little bit about your experience in your organizations experience as law enforcement officials dealing with people with mental illness. >> i was in the last 10 or 15 years, the number of mentally ill individuals that law enforcement comes in contact with has exponentially gone up as mental health services at the state and local level has gone down. i've explained this recently to vice president biden when he asked about that same question. my response was in many of these
situations, regardless of whether a police officer are police officer are applying for is that professional realizes that there is a mental illness, and circumstances or tainted by the actions. and so whether or not we can recognize the particular mental illness is not as important as recognizing that there is an issue. the problem is that there is very little assistance at that level anymore for street-level mental illness and making sure that they are not a danger to themselves or others should not -- cannot be the responsibility of the first responding officer. we will never have the training to be able to do it to that extent. so it is a huge issue for local and state offices and i don't know what we're going to do to fix back, but the biggest thing is the community-based mental health facilities are just not there anymore. >> i think you will find a
friend and senator sessions as attorney general and recognizing priorities for local and state law enforcement and making sure that the mental health and safety made a fact which will provide priority for that kind of training and assistance for local state law enforcement is there. thank you for your outstanding work out of the terrible tragedy you and your family experienced in their lives, but i know you're committed make an committed make insuring a moment that doesn't doesn't happen to other families, but also through your work on dna say is that are able to bring people responsible to justice. i spend so much work that we've done here and senator sessions has been front and center as you've noticed. things that senator hatch rapid dna legislation act, the national forensic which was just
renews that was signed by president obama. but it is so important to make sure that we do provide all of these essential tools and good science to make sure we do convict the guilty, but we also exonerate people who are innocent of crimes. would you -- i just want to say thank you. the chairman has his gavel in his hand. he's getting ready to gobble me out of order. i want to express my gratitude to you for your leadership on that issue. you are right, senator sessions has been front and center to not only convict the guilty but exonerate the innocent. thank you, mr. chairman. >> i wasn't going to iraq as long as your present legislation you wrote together.
contrary to what people believe, republicans and democrats to work together on a lot of things here in the congress. you and i have worked together on things as you know. i just want to say something too fast was -- sorry for pronunciation. he is so moved in my wife did, too. we are both so proud of you and what you've done for your service in the country. as the parents of one has served in the military, you worry about those who serve.
i thank everybody for the fact that we as people who are willing to serve our country. are you concerned about what might happen under the new administration for young people registered under daca? >> definitely, mr. senator. there is huge concern for those roughly 800 people raised their hand and say the line document the right. i think that's the biggest point that make sense when there was a path, there is a way for us to come out of the shadows. people raised their hand and say they were undocumented. the fact of the matter is there was no other way than has any meaningful law that can guarantee them a path to citizenship to whatever you want to call it.
unless there is a way they can find a permanent solution, we're definitely concerned the next administration that we will stop daca and the students have to go back into the shadows. senator sessions stated yesterday that there is not enough report for 800,000 people at the same time he opposed legislation with a way to become legal. what are the young adults to do with the opposition. >> you must know an awful lot of people. is there a sense of concern about the rhetoric. >> there's definitely sense of concern. there's a lot of fear most of all. by teammate when the competition
and he will be facing the next administration. they will be repealed. we are not sure what's going to happen. there's a lot of fear out there. >> thank you. >> i raise -- i raised a question yesterday and i hear about comments that the president-elect made regarding sexual assault may explain where the first is that he seemed to be minimized to an improving by the expanded when he met
yesterday. all except. my own daughter i think my three beautiful granddaughters. the president-elect jokes about what is sexual assault. mr. sessions now in the midst of what president-elect trump is suing is sexual assault. you've dedicated your life to helping others feel after sexual assault. you are a survivor yourself. sort of a two-part question. what kind of a message is that when somebody, especially
someone in power trivializes sexual assault, even jokes about it? i was a prosecutor. i prosecuted sexual assault cases. what does it do for the vic and his willingness to come forward if they see people in power trivialize something that might be a lifelong trauma for them? >> thank you for the question, senator leahy. it is highly relevant on several levels that the impact that it has on survivors watching people in power and in this case somebody who has been elected to be the president of the united states make these kind of jokes and brag about this kind of so-called locker room behavior about assaulting women. i think it's important to go back to the point i made in my testimony that the majority of it comes to violent crime are
assailed by people who they know intimately. in cases of adult sexual assault, 80% of survivors know their assailant and 90% of cases of child sexual abuse come in a person sexually abusing the child is known and trusted and often loved by the person who is perpetrating the violence. it is already so hard for survivors to come forward because it means we have to testify against the people we put our trust in. in my case it was my father and that's not anon comment story. someone very close to you is how these crimes happen. and so to be able to trust the state more than we fear our intimately known perpetrators, we have to see people in control of the state to take a hard-line stance against sexual assault and say publicly they would support and believe survivors. unfortunately in this political climate, a man who not only does not seem to prioritize helping
sexual assault survivors heal and come forward and tries to stay, that may have actually engaged in assaults themselves. that thinks he was bragging about. it's incredibly concerning. add to that the violence we lived there has very traumatizing impacts. i live with complex ptsd, so your mental health on a day-to-day basis is dirty negatively impacted. to stay grounded enough to come forward and put your trust in a stranger, social worker, prosecutor and a police officer to get the service is coming healing and accountability you deserve is incredibly difficult. >> thank you. because i remember on the sexual assault case is where the detectives in my office, assistant prosecutors and myself having to tell people you can trust us. we actually care about what you say. we do believe it's a crime. frankly, those who trivialize it
and say it's not a crime are ignoring too many people in this country. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you, senator leahy. senator cruz. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i want to thank members of the distinguished panel for being here today and i want to take a special moment to thank larry thompson who was my boss at the day's. i would note that you should not hold you accountable for ms. missteps in the years that. i want to start, mr. kohl, by addressing your testimony. i would note that the aclu i work alongside the aclu in any number of issues here in a minute including we have work alongside each other on issues of indefinite detention. we worked on the same card on trans on the u.s. patriot act. direct in the same side working to stop the efforts of senate democrats to amend the constitution and to amend the
free speech protections of the first amendment. i'm grateful for many of the good things the aclu does. you're a professor at georgetown. i would like to ask you as a professor, how would you react to a student who submitted an exam with a one-sided and biased account of the facts that included only the facts on the students -- supporting the students view and omitting everything out. >> first of all, senator cruz, thank you for where you've worked with asp and we hope to work with you in the future where our interests align. what we did here with respect to mr. sessions to >> on getting to the for a moment. if you'll indulge me and answer the questions. >> i think it would depend if the question were tuesday meant
as grabbing a woman by the assaults or not and they responded, yes it is. i would say that the correct answer. if they responded by saying actually -- [shouting] if they responded by saying now, i wouldn't characterize grabbing a woman by her as sexual assault, i think that is a stretch. then i would say that's not good. >> we will get into the facts and substance in a moment. i think i'm on firm ground observing that if you had a student who presented a one-sided biased answer, you would grade them very poorly. i would also not you and i are both supreme court litigants in any court would not look kindly
at look kindly adding that it can't through omitted any facts or law that were to the contrary. would you agree with that if you file a supreme court brief for or argument in the case i can do and you just stick your head in the sand and ignore, that doesn't tend to be looked on to be looked onto kindly by the supreme court or any court. >> now, i think you have to address the questions that are presented by the case as they think we did. >> good. let's get into the fact. you blasted, and i'll note that your testimony -- i have to say your testimony both written and oral is disappointing to me. you characterized it as strictly nonpartisan and yet you blasted senator sessions for prosecuting african-american civil rights leaders as u.s. attorney in the 1980s and insinuating that doing so somehow made him a racist. and yeah, you did not mention in your written or oral testimony the fact that the complaint asking him to do so were brought
by african-american citizens who felt that their votes were being abused and stolen. the african-american investigator for the kerry county district attorney's office said there was anon go end quote lock on black power struggle in perry county. in 1980 to the office received numerous complaints from an incumbent black candidate and black voters that absentee ballot applications were being mailed to citizens homes without their requests. people were going to the polls trying to vote. they were told that they had already voted absentee when they did not. a grand jury, a majority of bush's african-american asked in its official report for a federal investigation of voter fraud in perry county because it was becoming very abusive and the black incumbent candidates at the time were rather terrified. as the case of senator sessions brightest u.s. attorney. my question to you, mr. cole, in
your written and oral testimony, wedded to admit the fact the plane came from african-american citizens from african-american, politicians in the indictment came from a grand jury that was a majority african american. why did you omit those facts? >> i don't think they intentionally admitted the facts, senator cruz. what i did was to express our concerns about several aspects of decades, and namely that senator sessions as the u.s. attorney investigated only counties, not just perry county, but only counties where black boats had gone up. not wear white votes had gone up, but only where black boats had gone up. number one. number two, he had conducted the investigation in an extremely intrusive way, addressing black voters at their homes, asking them how they voted, why they voted. number three the legal position
advising somebody on how to vote, what about for was a crime. when you're running for president, your advice people on how to vote. >> you also admitted the fact the evidence and acacia absentee ballots tampered with and the defendant in the case admitted he had chained absentee ballots. he argued it was that voters can send but he admitted he had changed absentee ballots. my point is simple, mr. cole. this committee can assess what occurred there, but any law student or any of that again to presented such a one-sided picture of that fact conveniently omitting every single fact that is to the contrary would not be treated as a credible witness and would not be treated as you describe in your testimony as strictly nonpartisan. and he turned briefly to a second issue you brought up which was a tyco case. he said the tyco case undermines fitness for the job as attorney general and likewise there a number of facts you omitted
further discussion. number one, the basis of your complaint was submitted to the alabama ethics commission and on july 10, 1996, the ethics commission unanimously to this the charges against sessions for insufficient backs. i've briefly mentioned that in your written testimony, that you admitted it from your oral testimony. fact number two, the alabama state bar filed a complaint based on the trial court's order that you quoted alleging over 20 ethical violations. the alabama state are adjudicated that matter and on february 16, 2000 from the state bar unanimously dismissed the complaint. again, you admitted -- omitted that fact. that is nowhere to be found. the third, most strikingly the language you rely on is the basis for your testimony. the federal court of appeals,
the 11th circuit concluded that not precise language concerning prosecutorial misconduct close quote particularly unreliable and misleading. it reversed the 11th circuit concluded there was no evidence in the record to support a finding that tyco's federal conservation rights were violated and concluded that probable cause existed to prosecute tyco. you omitted that fact that the federal court of appeals profoundly repudiated the state court ruling you are relying on an bad again is not credible or impartial testimony. i would ask the chairman for consent to introduce into the record the federal court opinion, the ethics complaint dismissal, the state bar complaint dismissal and related materials and introduce an unknown from professor ronald rotunda and william hose, concluding that the mere
specific nonspecific allegations of the party critically adopted by state court judge and rejected by the state agencies with jurisdiction over ethics complaints cannot possibly have any bearing on senator sessions ethical standings today. >> can i respond? just briefly and thank you. first of all, i did not omit that the ethics commission concluded there is not an ethics violation. that was the year before the case was dismissed for rent than prosecutorial misconduct. sakic and i did not omit the fact that the 11th circuit reversed a lower court decision for introducing the district court, the trial court opinion. i addressed it and i explained that 11th circuit decision in no way question the factual validity of the findings that senator sessions office engaged in the worst misconduct he had ever witnessed.
what the court held with that because it was hearsay, because it was hearsay and therefore the defendants weren't able to cross examine the information and because it was very prejudicial, it was improperly introduced. the court did not have before at any of facts that would allow it to assess whether the judge's findings based on the judge's record in the state trial court or ride along. >> is in a federal court didn't question the reliability. the quote from the 11th circuit is a state court's opinion was particularly unreliable and misleading. >> if you read the opinion, which i did and senator cruz, you are now presenting misleading information because if you read the opinion, the opinion makes it clear decision is based on the role of hearsay and relation to prejudice. it is not a factual determination in any way, shape
or form. you present one side. i present another side. i urge the committee to look at the facts of the case where senator sessions work don closely collaborated people making campaign contributions for 222 count indictment, every cow was thrown out. >> this time is expired by without the federal court of appeals said the statement of facts was intended to ask of a tyco -- that was self-serving and i'm reliable. that is a verbatim quote from the federal court of appeals and is contrary to what you just told this committee. >> before my time stars, can i just know that senator cruz time when over four minutes and i want to his font to something senator cruz died. i know, but can they but can i maybe have a couple extra minutes because i want to respond to something senator cruz said about omitting facts. you're the chairman.
yesterday i developed this line of questioning with senator sessions where he mr. arius the civil rights cases he had been involved in. said that he had personally handled among the 10 most important cases he personally handled, four of them were civil rights cases. and i put into evidence testimony from an op-ed article co-authored by gerry hebert. mr. cruz and following me sad that mr. hebert's testimony and 86 was discredited, that he recanted it and it was discredited. he didn't recant his whole
testimony. he recanted a small piece of this testimony that is actually in the recanting of it was senator sessions favor. he did it before -- he didn't times before the vote. it was one little piece where he had misidentified. he said discussions had stopped him from pursuing or approval to do a civil right case and had looked back at his records and got that wrong. every other part of his testimony, he did not recant and he was not discredited. so if the senator is going after a witness for not being balanced, i would suggest that the senator look at his own as of making arguments.
now, i want to know, does anybody on this panel has any of it is at all, any reason to believe that their 3 million fraudulent votes cast this election? [inaudible] >> okay, now voting rights is a big deal. it is a really big deal. and so, when we are going to be -- we are talking about the attorney general here. it is important that the attorney general care about voting rights because that is part of his job. now mr. brooks, north carolina,
that was thrown out by the fourth circuit. when was that enacted but was thrown out by the fourth circuit? >> two years ago. >> how many? >> two years ago. >> yeah, two years ago. in the intervening time, there have been elections. >> yes, sir. >> what do the fourth circuit said about how this was targeted? >> the court held that the voter suppression was intentional, racially intentional and that it was carried out with surgical precision with respect to african-american voters. >> okay, so another word, the north carolina state legislature with surgical precision went
after african-american voters to prevent them from being able to vote. and because we didn't have pre-clarence, their elections allowed to happen and which votes were suppressed, right? >> yes, senator. >> is that our democracy is supposed to work? >> know, senator. as you well know when the preclearance provision was in fact for years and years on end, these kinds of changes were regularly rejected at the department of justice. at these 20 or so a year. in the wake of the shelby decision, what we have now is a political landscape in which the violation has to occur. and then, ordinary citizens just have to find experts.
they had to find organizers, have to reach out to the naacp to right a wrong in their democracy where resources they don't have in communities often cynically speaking and this is expensive and it imposes a cost not only on the lead again, one of who i walked with from selma to the the last year with 90 some odd years of age. so this is not merely a matter of legal costs, but also the cost of their fellow citizens. >> now, because we had shelby, we didn't have preclearance. because of that, elections were held in which black votes were suppressed. that we know. that we know is the fact. now we don't have preclearance. you know, senator sessions said that, you know, this is
targeted -- of course it was targeted at state like north carolina. that is for a reason. we can get a new formula that senator cruz has tried to get passed through here, but in the meantime, can anyone guess why i ask about the evidence on 3 million suppressed vote for supposedly fraudulent vote? i think you know why i brought it up. because when you are saving the earth 3 million fraudulent vote, that is your excuse to suppress votes. there was no -- none of the state, nobody came forth with evidence of any widespread fraud. zero fraud mainly is what we
heard. and so, what i want and i'll just finish up with this. i want an attorney general who is going to protect people's right to vote. and i don't think the senator sessions we are going to have that. >> thank you very much. does anybody on the committee doubt that there are cases of voter fraud in america? they all said they don't doubt it. do you doubt it? speak up. >> senator, various studies have indicated that you can pass them on those ballots cast in the hundreds of millions, the number of instances where voters are impersonating voters for the purpose of casting a ballot are literal handful. if you look at the research at any number of scholars to indicate that it is virtually
zero. it is a relative handful 200 of millions of ballots cast. >> you are saying there really is no evidence of voter fraud? >> what happens if the county has more votes than there are people in the county? that doesn't seem right to make, but anyway, the bottom line is they think you want to do things, at least i do. make sure you can vote and nobody votes illegally. india has approached him and approached him in north north carolina has approach. we will keep working on it. mr. brooks, do give a scorecard to members of congress? >> the naacp does indeed. >> do you know what score would get into senator sessions in the 113th congress? >> senator has received a low grade as in a failing grade for years on end. >> okay.
he got 11%. what did i get? >> senator, has just consult the scorecard. >> i got 25%. hatch got 25%. grassley got 11% of the got 11%. cruise has 11%. yet to be determined. flake 29%. crapo 14%. tillis not rated, kennedy not rated. what did the democrats get on this committee? feinstein got 100%. leahy got 100%. durbin got 100%. white house got 100%, club which are about 100%. franken got 100%. coons got 96%. blumenthal got 100% in toronto
got 100%. would you say that there seems to be a difference in terms of the parties and how well they do on the naacp legislative agenda? >> the report card is based on legislation, not party affiliation. >> well, isn't it kind of odd that one party gets 100% and nobody else does very well on our side? >> i don't think -- senator, i don't think it's odd. it simply reflects -- >> i think it is really odd. well, it's speaks for itself. it means that you're picking things that conservative republicans don't agree with you on end liberal democrat do. i hope that doesn't make us all racists. and all of them perfect on the
issue. can you name one person you think would be a good attorney general on the republican side? >> senator, my purpose as you well know as a witness is to speak to the nominees fitness to serve as attorney general. with respect to your report card can would've done that for the better part of a century. >> if i may, i think the report card says volumes about how you feel republican conservatives and all of us when it comes to your organization. maybe we are all wrong and maybe you are all right. i doubt if it is that way. mr. mukasey, you've been attorney general. >> yes. >> does the job pretty well.
>> as well as you can learn it in the time i was there. >> so what you -- what makes you believe jeff is capable of doing the job. >> i think he has all the qualities of passing issues to compliment the knowledge. here's all the qualities of mind and character it takes to do the job, plus he has tremendous skill as a lawyer. he's also gotten in adage that i didn't have which is say he had 20 years in this body so he understands relationships with congress. it doesn't have to be a learned skill for him. as a dedication to the rule of law that's required to do the job properly. i have no hesitation in supporting him. >> thank you. mr. canterbury, do you work with democrats and republicans? >> up slowly, senator. many good friends on both sides of the aisle. >> can be found just sessions willing to work with the other 75 common ground?
>> absolutely. we disagreed on common issues but always willing to listen. >> heavy final fight like a tiger for what he believes in? yes, sir. >> had you say your name? you've been a big supporter of senator sessions immigration position. is that fair to say? and i've been a big opponent of that. >> that's correct. >> or observations i agree with substantively on the issue i disagree. i appreciate you coming forward and be gained. mr. vasquez, is that right? >> yes, sir. >> if i had my way, then we will find a way to replace the executive orders with legislation to protect 800,000 people who have come out of the shadows. look forward to working with you on not. do you support deporting people who have committed felonies? >> i believe that the real
spirit of immigration and come into this country is to pursue a better life. i can speak for the people i know, my parents who came here to work. we came here to pursue a better life. >> my question is do you support people have committed felonies? >> if you came here to work and for other issues, perhaps you are not representing us and you should not be giving us an opportunity. >> thank you, all. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i would like to thank the witnesses that this panel today for their moving testimony and for sharing with us there at. that is, their struggle, their work for public safety, justice, civil liberties and civil rights. the role of an attorney general is not to be a bystander or a bear witness to the passing of time. fundamentally the top law enforcement is an obligation to enforce the law, but that is too
simplistic a framing and limited resources and competing demands that every violation of laws and for a sequel at all times in every situation. the attorney general of the united states has enormous power to shape the strategy of the justice department and deploy its resources to $27 billion of 100,000 employees. at times we heard a more moderate, more reflective senator sessions who gave encouraging answers to a number of the pointed questions. but i am very concerned that senator sessions 30 year record reflects many extreme positions far out of the mainstream, not just of our legislative work here, but out of the republican party. more than that, i am concerned senator sessions record demonstrates that there was an opportunity to stand up for the vulnerable to promote civil rights promote civil rights or advanced justice. he did not take action or actively opposed bipartisan work with advanced justice. i have just a few quick questions.
first i would buy, mr. chairman, to introduce a letter from gratis talking that was sent to the chairman and ranking of senator biden back in 1986 that was apparently omitted from the record that ought to be made part of the record. i would like to first ask if i might adopt or burnt about senator sessions record has been criticized for action ranging from the 1980s and based on expressed concern as attorney general he might not enforce laws and how did dance them. after the supreme court's decision in shelby county, striking down preclearance, the most important piece that would argue in the voting rights act that is really forged in the march in selma. a number of us work to find a fix to address his concerns about the formula been updated
things that happened decades ago with diligent work to find a bipartisan solution. we did not find a partnership with him. tell me, do you believe that senator sessions as attorney general would not just be a witness to actions, but would act to advance justice? >> is upon the record, we don't believe that. the reason being here is that the act has been debilitated in the wake of shelby. we've seen these voter i.d. laws affect in at least 21 million americans. we've seen these voter i.d. laws based on the false predicate of voter fraud. card i in alabama. we have not heard the senator speak out on voter suppression in his own state. the voter i.d. law is similar to the one in alabama has been both in the fourth circuit in north
carolina and texas reared the senator has referred to the voting rights act as the debilitation of it as good for the south. he has not spoken in anyway commendable,, has not done anything to strength in the act in the wake of shelby, has not recognized voter suppression in his own state, has not spoken out in any way significantly in terms of the voter suppression that has occurred in the wake of shelby. we have no reason to be confident that as the chief law enforcement out of their of the country that he would do all that is necessary to protect the rights of americans. being a prosecutor is not fairly binary matter. who do it or you don't. if there is a matter of discussion and resources and the resources of the department of
justice to bring about justice. we've now reached to be be confident he will do that. >> he was asking about the allegation there were 3 million fraudulent vote in the last election was made by the president a lack without any foundation. we've had here infamous committee, hearings and other places and other legislatures. there is no evidence of widespread fraud to justify the voter i.d. statutes enacted in subsequent reviews not just in north carolina but other places that have found them to be unconstitutional, yet the nominee has been for about the issues. is that your case? >> let's be very clear about this. empirically pecan, one is likely to see the two thirds standing next to santa claus at the ballot box then canceling the actual instance of voter impersonation voter fraud.
those are simply the facts. for this kind of voter fraud to be a predicate of voter suppression is the same in our democracy. there is no such case of voter fraud on the magnitude by the president elect. >> thank you, dr. brooks. mr. kohl, outlined in a number of concerns about senator sessions ranging from criminal rights to torture to religious freedom. i would like to note that in the audience today i admire mr. could see her column is with us. he's spoken about his son's combat in iraq and has submitted a letter that i think is worth review by all members. but i just met for the record if i might. mr. khan in his letter spoke about his muslim faith, what it means to be an american and what it means to have real concerns about the attorney general