tv Open Phones on Attorney General Confirmation Hearing Part 1 CSPAN January 10, 2017 1:16pm-1:50pm EST
personality serving in the senate, they also have to give him accountability with respect to his record in the senate. and so we appreciate all the questions that point to his support for mandatory minimums. his opposition for -- to immigration rights. his failure to stand up for lgbtq rights and the rights of women with respent ct to hate crimes. we appreciate the lines of questioning that go to accountabili accountability. we have to be clear about this. you cannot have an attorney general who is standing on the wrong side of history, on and on the wrong side of a distrust with respect to communities and activists across this country. we have done too much. come too far to go back at this moment in history. >> and three and a half hours
just wrapped up of what is expected to be a hearing that lasts into the evening. hearing from the first nominee from the president-elect, donald trump, the attorney general nominee jeff sessions, senator from alabama, testifying before a senate committee that he is as a senator a member of. we'll take your phone calls. the number is up on your screen. if you're joining us on c-span radio, for democrats -- independents and all others, 202-748-8922. we're going to get right to your phone calls during this break. it is going to last about 30 minutes. first caller, marvin, calling from minnesota, republicans line. hi, marvin. >> caller: hello. >> go ahead, marvin. you're on the air. >> caller: yes, i'm watching c-span3 and earlier i was
watching fox, and what i'm seeing today is -- i guess i would say it is kind of un-american. i have -- my ancestors came to this country for a reason. and a lot of people are forgetting what this country was founded and based on. and what i see here, they're trying -- i mean, all the good stuff has come out about mr. sessions, and i think he is quali qualified, as good a person as you're going to find, and yet we have these other people come up and just dig up dirt and stuff going way back. i mean, they're living in the past. we need to move ahead, and go on with the future. and i think donald trump personally is going to do a good
job and i think he is trying to do the right thing and by picking the people who serve on his cabinet and i've been following this ever -- going back -- going way back. and i believe mr. sessions would be the qualified man for this job. and our representatives here from minnesota, i think, especially al franken, did a terrible job. >> democrats line, charles is calling from orlando, florida. >> caller: yes, my name is charles. i'm calling because i don't understand that you can take someone's character and make it the basis for putting them in a position where they can discriminate indiscriminately and without any cause or action to be taken. that makes no sense. you can't say you can erase his history. he has a history of bigotry and racism. at that point, he should never be nominated. he should be taken -- he
shouldn't be considered as far as i'm concerned. when you have to be in charge of individuals or be in the place where you have to make decisions based on individual's races or ethical or moral beliefs and your beliefs are horribly flawed, you should not be in that position. i feel as though he should be taken out of the nominee and put somebody else in place. >> call from ware, massachusetts, next, on the line for independents and others. paul is waiting. paul, you have the floor. >> caller: thank you for taking my call. i am watching the broadcast on c-span3. my first comment is i feel that based on what i've seen mr. sessions is a very -- seems to be very honorable person. and in many respects. i do feel, though, based on the testimony he's given so far, he seems like he's actually overqualified for the job. not sure he will be able to separate his experiences in the
senate with what the requirements are for being attorney general. i have a second point i'd like to raise. i'd like for someone to ask him about his opinion on states' rights and i'm going to focus on one particular issue and that is the legalization of marijuana. he has come out against this. i would hike like to know if he able to accept the will of people, voters in eight states that fully legalized marijuana, and over 25 states of medical marijuana, the tide is changing, i think he needs to reconsider his position. and those are the things i wanted to get out today. >> paul in massachusetts, looking at the hearing room, emptied out after three and a half hours of hearing from alabama senator jeff sessions, donald trump's nominee to be the next attorney general of the united states. and some that we did hear from just outside of the committee room as he was heading to the elevators, the former chair of the judiciary committee, he talked a little bit about something called confirmation
conversion. >> well, it is interesting to hear the answers as compared to some of the positions he's taken. maybe it is a confirmation conversion. i always believe in people reaching a conversion. >> any surprises? >> just outside there, the committee room, the meeting that was being held, senate judiciary committee meeting, the confirmation hearing for senator jeff sessions. we're taking your phone calls, want to know what you thought about the testimony from the senator and his fellow colleagues in the senate. jordan is calling, another massachusetts caller, republican
line, go ahead, jordan. >> caller: hi, yes, thank you. jordan from charlton. it's been interesting so far. i found the questions to be riveting, very good. i have issues with sessions. and i'm speaking on that from being a very quirky oddity. i'm an openly transgender republican. and sessions obviously speaks to me as a member of my party, but he also kind of speaks to me as someone who my community, the lgbtq community has a lot of issues with. with sessions, it is going to be hard. it is a hard pill to swallow. i'm not convinced with what he said about being fair and being equal with his protections of the lgbtq community. there is a history in place. and as much as members of my party and other defenders of him may want to say otherwise,
history is important. we don't know how sessions is going to act as attorney general. but what we can do is we can extrapolate based on what he's done in the past. anyone can say anything now and claim they're not going to do x, y and z, but we have to go by what they already have done. as a conservative, i have concerns with sessions as well because he's done things that traditional conservatives may be a little opposed to. by that i'm talking about the e-mail privacy act, which passed, i believe, last year, the year before. which was done to defend our privacy of -- against organizations like the nsa. and sessions tried to put in a loophole in the senate. and that kind of goes against traditional smaller government
dogma. another thing is his feelings regarding legalized marijuana as the previous caller said in massachusetts. we recently legalized it, but sessions wasn't exactly a huge fan. >> right, well, thank you, jordan. i want to get to a couple more callers. appreciate your perspective and appreciate your call. we have got jacari calling. this is from benning, georgia, on the line for independents and others. go ahead. >> yes, hello. i'm a veteran and also a wounded warrior. i have a couple of issues with him. i want him to look at this as not on either side. i'm originally from california, i grew up in the south. i have a unique perspective about a lot of things. one, it was interesting how he was called out about lying, point blafrpnk, period, just ly about a lot of the things he said. meaning the cases he claims he
was on about the civil rights cases -- >> i apologize, we have to put you on hold there. just going to listen in to senator blumenthal here. >> when things like not paying your social security taxes were enough to keep you from getting confirmed and now a series of nominees with some -- items and back grounds, whether it is the exxonmobil, russia stuff, or whether it is, you know, senator sessions -- whatever, are we -- is this changing the standard here of just -- or just the speed of it all. it seems like he's putting up people who i'm not even sure they fully vetted in the transition, doesn't seem like they have, but -- >> it has been completely inadequate vetting of the nominees. the standards of the past seem to have no application. they have been completely disregarded.
by the trump administration. and that's a real tragedy because in the past, qualifications and merit have been much more effectively considered. and some people have been disqualified for reasons that now may be disclosed after a nominee has been sworn into office. >> and it is not just about paying them, it is about financial interests that may be in the billions of dollars. >> right. well, that's my point. >> we're not talking about people who may have questionable conflicts of interest in -- dollars or even hundreds or thousands of dollars. we're talking about billionaires who may have extraordinary -- and they may not have been disclosed.
>> well, my colleague is going to say that -- [ inaudible ] >> we are just in the halls outside the senate judiciary committee where we heard three and a half hours of testimony from donald trump's nominee to be the next attorney general of the united states. that's alabama senator jeff sessions taking your phone calls, the numbers up on your screen. if you're joining us via radio, democrats 202-748-8920. republican, republicans, 202-748-8921. others, 202-748-8922. another call, patricia, tulsa oklahoma. >> caller: can you go ahead again, sorry. we have got you now. i've been listening this morning. and some of my concerns is that he's a climate change denier.
and he was talking about the voting rights act. also but he prosecuted blacks for voting -- for people who could not get out and were put the absentee ballots in the mailbox, but he prosecuted them for voter fraud. so i wonder how many times this has been done when neighbors were just trying to help neighbors out. >> thanks for the call, patricia. appreciate it. going to look now here atti khi
khan, one of the speakers from the democratic convention over the summer. >> -- convinces me that -- [ inaudible ] and there is no consultation with the president-elect and his nominee. [ inaudible ] >> oh, definitely. his names about -- >> back to your calls here. going to go to brenda, calling from broken arrow, oklahoma, republicans line. brenda, what do you think about what you heard from the testimony from the attorney general nominee? >> caller: well, i just wanted to say that i do agree with his view on illegal immigrants
coming into the country. i think the american people are fine, the majority of the american people are fine with immigrants coming into the country legally. i don't think we have any problem at all with that. but people who come across our borders illegally, we do have laws that are stated against that, and they're not being enforced. but i really agree with him on that. that if he is going to be head of our judicial system, who is going to enforce the law, that either these laws have to be enforced or they have to be changed. so i do agree with him on that. i just wanted to say that. but i think the american people do agree with immigrants coming to the country, legally, and we do welcome them. when they're coming illegally. i think we have laws that are --
that were made by congress that were set in place that are not being held up. >> all right, call from norfolk, virginia next. miss michael calling on the line for independents and others. you've got the floor. >> caller: i just wanted to make a couple of points. i'll try to make it quick. many americans are unaware that there are two organic law systems working in america right now. one is called lex regula, rule of the ruler, the other is the rule of the people. a lot of the common law has been set aside. the other point is when those questioning sessions have used blanket statements to try and create a view that sessions is against a specific law, altogether, they don't speak about the specific provision in the law that can be detrimental to the inherent rights of
individuals as americans. and so it is very important that we disseminate through this information and a lot of times people tend to make blanket statements rather than more specifics. and i think it is very important that we as americans just take a step back and really observe a lot more, not making too much judgment until we gain more knowledge and gain more experience as to what is going on. so, thank you. >> thank you for the call. monica is next, lancaster, texas, democrat, monica, go ahead. >> caller: hi. well, as a black woman i'm not republican, but i no longer claim to be a democrat after 30 plus years. i don't know what has taken over democrats, whether it is one person or group that has drug the party down to this level of a pit-like behavior. but for country's sake i pray
they find their bearings and, you know, get back on track soon. because all of this protesting and disrespect has got to stop. >> all right, thanks for the call, monica. here's some more of the testimony from earlier when the nominee for attorney general was asked -- was talking about the clue klux clan, some protesters at the very beginning of the confirmation hearing showed up in kkk outfits and were chanting. here's a look at his statement. >> let me address another issue straight on. i was accused in 1986 of failing to protent the voting rights of african-americans by presenting the perry county case, voter fraud case. and of condemning civil rights advocates and organizations and even harboring amazingly sympathies for the kkk. these are false charges. the voter fraud case my office prosecuted was in response to
pleas from african-american, incumbent, elected officials who claimed that the absentee ballot process involved a situation in which ballots cast for them were stolen, altered and cast for their opponents. the prosecution sought to protect the integrity of the ballot, not to block voting. it was a voting rights case. as to the kkk, i invited civil rights attorneys from washington, d.c. to help us solve a very difficult investigation into the unconscionable, horrendous death of a young african-american coming home from the 7/eleven store at night, simply because he was black. his -- michael donald. and actively backed the attorneys throughout the case and they broke that case. that effort led to a guilty plea and a live sentence in court for one defendant and his testimony against the other defendant. there was no federal death penalty at the time.
i felt the death penalty was appropriate in this case. and i pushed to have it tried in state court, which was done. that defendant was indeed convicted and sentenced to death. and ten years later ironically as alabama's attorney general my staff participated in the defense of that verdict and sentence and a few months after i became united states senator. that murdering klansman was indeed executed. i abhor the klan. and what it represents. and its hateful ideology. i insisted morris deese, his lawsuit that led to the successful collapse of the klan at least in alabama, the seizure of their building, at least for this period of time. as civil rights division attorneys have testified before the committee, i supported fully their historic cases that the justice department filed to advance civil rights and that i
supported, including cases to desegregate schools, abolish at large elections for cities, county commissions and school boards. these at large elections were mechanisms used to block african-american candidates from being able to be elected to boards and commissions. it was a deliberate and part of a systemic plan to reduce the ability of african-americans to have influence in the election and governing process. i never declared the naacp was un-american or that a civil rights attorney was a disgrace to his race. there is nothing i am more proud of than my 14 years of service in the department of justice. >> and some of the opening statements from donald trump's attorney general nominee, watching now the reverend al sharpton was talking with reporters, outside the halls of the committee meeting room with our c-span cameras here on c-span3.
also welcoming you if you're joining us via c-span radio. taking your calls on the testimony we already heard, expecting that testimony to continue at 1:40 p.m. eastern time, a few minutes away. and to continue throughout the evening. lucy is calling from phoenix, arizona, the line for independents and others. go ahead. >> caller: hi. i just wanted to make a comment. senator sessions has a history of following the rule of law and using his thoughts and leanings as he was in the legislative branch where laws are made, doesn't go -- doesn't -- shouldn't come into what he is testifying to now is that as a member of the justice department, the head of the justice department, he will
follow the laws regardless of what his personal feelings are. so i don't understand why -- well, some of it is lies too, that they're accusing him of. but even when he admits that he did lean an opposite way, as the top justice official, he followed the constitution and followed the laws of the land. and i think that that says a whole lot about jeff sessions right there. >> thanks a lot, lucy, in phoenix. clearwater, florida, caller is case on the democrats line. >> caller: hello. hope you have a wonderful day. i just want to quickly actually go over something more related to not policy, but his execution as he is part of the executive branch should he be nominated.
he had mentioned his disapproval of rubber stamping. and i believe senator al franken raised an important question about his record which shows that he may be one people who is rubber stamping some of these actions. and that concerns me because it does show a gross misrepresentation of his previous encounters with these -- and criminal cases that he claims to have been part of, but may have just rubber stamped. >> okay. thanks, chase, for the call. next call, republican line, tampa, florida, carmelita. >> caller: hi, i want to address quickly something that the previous caller just mentioned. and i kind of found a little bit of disrespect from al franken, someone who is not very knowledgeable with legal, basic legal procedures.
as an african-american woman, who supports jeff sessions completely, first of all, when the caller said rubber stamping his name to a particular document, that means you are legally liable for that document. and if i was a cpa, for example, if i signed a document, that means i'm legally responsible for and can be held accountable to that in regards to, like, the -- two, i don't understand why they're asking him legislative questions, because technically in the department of justice, you're technically supposed to enforce the law, not supposed to use personal opinions. the current administration, people politicize the position, like a meeting with the former president on the tarmac, and discussing the grandchildren, things like that, that shows, like, impropriety in regards to a case, in regards to secretary clinton. i really wish that the senators
would ask questions in regards to how he will enforce the law, and not so much asking for his personal opinion and what their job should be doing, which is legislating. there is a huge difference in executive -- in executing laws and legislating laws. i think people really need to pay attention to that. also, one last thing with -- with regard to provisions, that is very true. and in regards to, like, state wide, one person is mentioning marijuana, you have to listen carefully to that. when they make broad statements about a wall, one single provision could completely dismantle what the law is supposed to do, take into consideration obama care with the mandate. that's one provision, that's a very major provision that affects millions and millions of people. i want people to think more broadly, more detailed into what they're talking about when senators make accusations, when they're not actually going into detail for the common people who
may not know the legal procedures and proceedings in regards to provisions. >> thank you for the call and those points. lott in oklahoma. jim is on the line for independents and others. hi, jim. >> caller: thank you for the time. i want to commend senator whitehouse for pointing out the attorney general needs to be impartial in prosecuting, including the current incoming administration, with the potential threat corruption. and i also just like to point out that it is just very important that the attorney general maintain that impartiality and i was glad to see he said that i think we should maintain vigilance in holding him accountable to that and also to the administration for maintaining public information. >> well, the chair of the senate judiciary committee is in his chair. he is back in the meeting room, so things should be starting here momentarily. we're going to continue taking your phone calls, though.
let's hear what terry has to say, from ft. worth, texas, democrat. >> my first concern basically is why have they not all been vetted yet. the choices from donald trump's cabinet, we keep bypassing that. and that is a huge concern of many of us. the claims, also the claims of inflation of his personal involvement in the civil rights case, it leaves us feeling less than. we're not confident. and the fact that we continue to phrase women's rights, we're people. and this is just wrong. we're not talking about men's rights, men's protection. as far as the power positions that are not, you know, not recognized as something we need it pay attention to, i dpagree with the former caller. he's being nominated for
attorney general. he's not answering the question and doesn't instill confidence in us. it is that simple. america is diverse, it is free. and free is not a scary thing. do we not trust our own freedom. >> thank you, terry. dublin, georgia, caller here, debbie on the republican line. what are your thoughts on if you sougaw the testimony or the nominee himself? >> caller: i've been watching all morning. i am for jeff sessions. i'm a retired -- here in georgia. and my husband and i both have watched the politics of this administration of the last eight year and become extremely concerned. i think jeff sessions will follow the rule of law. and as far as that goes, our attorney general holder was fast and furious causing the death of a border patrol agent. when an attorney general goes to a town like ferguson and he's involved in those things, it