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tv   Washington Journal Kristen Clarke and William Smith Discuss Senator Jeff...  CSPAN  January 9, 2017 12:13pm-12:49pm EST

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today. >> from this morning's "washington journal." washingto. host: we continue our conversation for the -- about
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the nomination of just some -- jeff sessions. here.n clarke is mr. smith we want to begin with you. senator sessions will be introduced to fellow senators who are at his confirmation hearing. if you are giving the introduction, what would you say? guest: what i would say is the same way. people who have been around jeff sessions for the last 20 or 30 years now he is a kind, honest guy who shoots it straight, does not have any animus or bias. he loves people. he believes in the rule of law and believes in equal justice under the law. he will make a fine outstanding attorney job -- attorney general.
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he will do what's right. this week youk put out a statement saying when you look at his record there are gaping holes and some great questions. what are the holes and what are the questions. guest: this is the most important position in this next administration. who will sit at the town of the nation's law enforcement agency. he has a long track record that we can work from. look very carefully at his track record and what we found is a man whose euro his career has been opposed to civil rights at almost every turn. this is someone who during his tenure in congress vote to against the hate crimes he has opposed bipartisan immigration reform efforts. when we look back further into
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his career as a state prosecutor down in alabama, we find that he levied voter fraud charges on african-americans civil rights activists who live in the black belt of the state. one of the people he targeted in one of his notorious prosecution, a group known as the marion three, included charges brought against albert turner, and activists who marched alongside dr. martin luther king. he started the harry county civic league that focused its efforts on registering black people to vote and turning out the black vote. the prosecution that mr. end,ons blocked in the proved baseless. to kill black voter participation.
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he saw the voters right act as an intrusive piece of legislation. it's difficult to see how we can have this person at the howell -- how other justice department. guest: if you look at mr.'s sessions record on civil rights you will see a great record on civil rights. you will see a man who voted for the civil rights act. the three people that you just referenced, look at alfred turner's son he endorsed jeff session. that was prosecuted by jeff session and his son endorsed him. he knows that sessions is a good and honest man. a valid, it was not case. it was a valid case. this is a case where african-americans and how bama came to jeff sessions.
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this is not him going out and pursuing something on his own. the ballot box was being stuffed. so jeff sessions looked at it, the department of justice in washington signed off on it and innocente who were agreed to plead guilty. that is not no evidence. ist: why do you think there so much disagreement on jeff sessions a record on voting rights? have a bunch of innuendos, you can create some disagreement. the reason these people are the case against the marion three is what led a bipartisan group of senators to vote down his 1986 nomination to become a federal judge. let's not rewrite the history. this is a man who went before the senate and his peers said
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because of the racial hostility and animus demonstrated through this case in large part and because you called an african-american colleague you boy, and because you called the kkk and , for all of these senators said you are not qualified to become a judge. we cannot ignore that history now. what happened after those witnesses who came before the committee lift -- left the hearing. they looked at the records and they realized they had lied to the senate judiciary committee. wrote letters to the committee. they said they were sorry they lie. democrats push that information
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under the rug, just like she is doing right now. facts matter. jeff sessions will be communed -- confirm. with thestin clarke lawyers committee for civil rights under the law. what is your group? we started in 1963 at the behest of night is 23, which is a call to action for us to mobilize to help enforce civil rights laws. we are out of the nations historic civil rights organization and working to ensure equal justice under the law is our primary mission. host: stephen in cleveland, ohio, double can do good morning. going -- my name is steve, jeff sessions is a racist, pure and clean. i agree with him about illegal immigration.
12:21 pm jeff but he is a racist area -- races. -- he is a racist. or basis fordence jeff sessions being a racist. caller: jeff sessions is a racist. host: we are looking for examples. we are talking about this for the next 20 minutes. barbara and chicago, illinois, an independent. caller: good morning. i have been following this thing about jeff sessions. that this't believe person is going to represent all americans. in president elect has put
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his steve bannon and did not deny the clue klutz. -- the kkk. why would jeff sessions treat every american fairly, i don't see it. makes a this is not about politics. this is not about democrats versus the wiccans. the attorney general needs to be a person who is independent, who can distance themselves from the pressed -- president and ensure that our laws are enforced fairly and evenly -- when you look at his track record on the selective prosecution of effort and americans in his state of an -- l obama's -- alabama's immigrants communities, women, this is not somebody that we can trust with the great responsibility of being the chief law enforcement officer for the nation. mr. smith a lot of focus
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goes back to that 1986 confirmation hearing. you worked with jeff sessions, did he talk to you about that hearing? and what his takeaway was from the hearing? guest: let me talk about equal justice under the law. sessions is a man who believes in equal justice under the law. she keeps referencing in this case, this is a case where african-americans came to jeff sessions asset help us make sure our voting rights are protected. he can keep saying things that are not sure but it is not true. african-americans came to jeff sessions and said let's do this. there is evidence of mr. turner stuffing the ballot box. you have a situation where the witnesses came forward and said they had absentee ballots which were change, we do not agree to
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change the balance. we had seven of those testify at the trial to say there is voter fraud here. if you want to look at the facts, they moved for an acquittal after the evidence was looked at the jury -- presented to the jury. if there was enough evidence and there wasn't a bad case. we can say it was a bad case but it was not a bad case. if you want to know about hate crimes, every crime is a hate crime. every crime is a hate crime. the question is whether we want federal law -- if we want to impose federal law on everything. guest: hey crimes are gripping
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the nation right now and we are .efending them we need somebody who will be at the helm of the justice department prepared to fight hateagainst the horrific crimes across our nation that too many law enforcement agencies are not equipped to come that. -- combat. -- filed a federal voting rights case in alabama. during with the method of election for the three high courts in the state. if you look at those courts there are all white judges. of votingcause discrimination, which continues to linger in that state. there was a predecessor case two decades ago and jeff sessions is the one who killed a settlement deal that would have blocked those three courts into compliance with the voting rights act. we don't have to just talk about
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the marion three. sessions was somebody who stood opposed to the voting rights of african-americans. that is false. he has been a proponent of the voting rights act in he was the one who led the prosecution of the head of the kkk. he didn't stop with that, he prosecutor knows if you can't get a guy one way you get him another way. there are two members of the klan who have died in prison or remain in prison because of jeff sessions. if you want to talk about his record, let's talk about his record, what happened in the voting rights act? when that came up for renewal we had a situation where people said there should be a few changes to the voting rights act. you know what the changes were?
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to make sure that people in massachusetts who disenfranchised voters be held accountable just like the people in the cell. the democrats blocked the amendment. section five of the voting rights act was so be that way. host: kerry in philadelphia, and independent. goo are -- good morning. caller: thank you. it's interesting the gentleman med -- man, could you tell how many hundreds of law professors someone who's that signatures are petitions to block his nomination. i'm interested in what that was all about. professors and that list is growing every day who have come out in opposition of the attorney general because -- nominee because of his position on civil rights on
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immigration issues, on lgbt issues and a range of issues. there are corporate lawyers across the country, some of them who sit on the board of my organization who have come out in opposition to this nominee. session -- the here and now will begin tomorrow this is the time to ask hard questions of mr. sessions. alabama thatase in had prosecutorial misconduct during his watch as state attorney general, fabrication of evidence, the failure to turn over evidence, false charges that were levied. that was during his time leading and agency comprised of 200 employees. , 113 house and people strong.
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that are prepared to start will be an opportunity for the american people to learn and understand whether he is up to the great task of running the nation's most important law enforcement agency. guest: let me say this. professors the law letter, it is full of innuendos and has no fact associated with the letter you if a law student had turned in that letter to a professor, the professor would have failed the law student. it has no facts associated with it. next, audreyna is on the line for democrats. caller: i am calling because i am listening to what is being said about jeff sessions. in 1940, io was born grew up during the civil rights actions. i hate to see a situation like who isere mr. smith
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probably a token for this -- these people. i don't see how you can stand up for jeff's dachshund. she obviously doesn't know me or my history and doesn't know jeff sessions. just because i am a conservative's make me a token? a lot of the views he supports our support. i think it is inappropriate for this lady to call and an say i am a token. i'mdoesn't think intelligent or have a successful career before he went to work for jeff sessions? this is what we get when we have a group of people, not all people, but a group of people who don't agree with somebody's policies, they have to play the race card because i have nothing else. guest: i agree with that. we should not resort to that kind of language in our democracy today. to the comes back again
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topic at hand. we need a leader at the helm of the justice of our who will be our unifier. these are divisive times in our country and part of what will bring us together is having leadership that will be prepared to enforce our nation's laws are at something that jeff sessions is not up to task for. host: you don't think he will enforce the law? guest: if you look at loretta lynch and eric holder both of them have ignored the laws of the u.s. states. you are afraid that jeff sessions will come in and do what he says without politicizing the department of justice. even just take the marijuana laws were eric holder and loretta lynch and told the american people that they will turn a blind eye and not enforce marijuana laws are in it's not a hard law to enforce.
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they don't believe in the rule of law and jeff sessions is different. host: one of the callers mentioned the letter from people opposing jeff sessions. there are also groups out there supporting his nomination and one of them is the judicial crisis network. some of our viewers may have seen this ad. >> he saw what this place means for the people from not only alabama. he saw the was a real need for the families that was losing their loved ones, for him to be in charge of the highest law enforcement agency, he needs to be there. host: that was from the judicial crisis that were. 10 minutes later discusses
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tactic. donning claremont, california. caller: good morning. you, mr. congratulate smith, for your courage or it --. ms. clark you have to redo your history. it was an arm of the democratic party who threaten the people. anybody that stands up and tries to say you need to get the military and find out and be evaluated on what you are. you get measured in your ability in the military. partyve this democratic who is going haywire that they lost control of who they can call.
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we want to keep the discussion to senator jeff sessions. guest: the issue with jeff sessions commentary on the kkk is that he suggests a r.o.k.. his comment was that the kkk is ok except when they are smoking marijuana or words to that effect. made seriously or in just it is incredibly inappropriate for somebody who would want to take on the role of the nation's chief law enforcement officer to six just -- to suggest that the kkk is legitimate. we need a unifier. we need someone at the helm of the justice department who will stand up for the dignity of all americans. this is somebody who is called civil rights organizations communist inspired. he has called white civil right
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lawyers pathetic individuals. again, when we look throughout his history time and time again he has made statements and taken actions that make clear that he a not someone who will be fair and even an enforcer of a lot. host: mr. smith, perhaps you can what legislative action has jeff sessions ever done to advance civil rights? guest: i give you one example, he worked on the congressional gold medal for rosa parks. if you look at the situation where the naacp and other groups came to senator sessions when i -- working for him and said can you do something about that?
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they said he was doing a great job. he worked on and it was not a popular thing for a republican to do but he worked on that and made sure that there was athey t job. -- senator sessions that lets do something about it. those are two good examples. i do want to address his history and the alleged inappropriate comments. he was talking about allegations allegations allegations in if you look at 1986 this stuff did not happen, people said it was a joke. 1996, look at 1986, at 2006, no allegations. 2016, no allegations. years no allegations other than people being upset about his policy views.
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the american people look at the policy views of barack obama during this past election cycle and they rejected him. they said we are tired of the changes he brought. for the american people. that is what happened in the election cycle. guest: a bipartisan group of senators suggests -- rejected his nomination on that record. what we know today when we look at the present record -- guest: we know that was based on false testimony. host: let's hear what john has to say from chapel hill, north carolina. an independent. caller: good morning to everybody and happy new year.
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i am going to start off by saying i am 74 years old. grandson.ew i have been fighting this fight for a long time. i have to tell you that one question i would have is what has jeff sessions on in alabama to get rid of voter suppression? mr. smith is sitting there, standing on the shoulders of people like me. i'm a vietnam veteran, a lot of black people on that wall. i have to stand for -- first of everybody who works for was a person who
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says that raping women is legal? what is sessions position on that? on the his position who love men and women each other and i happen to be men and women? what is jeff sessions position on letting people have an opportunity to live their lives the way that they can legally live them. record thats has a is long. as a black man i know what he in thee and the past -- past and he is too old to change. first of all, thank you for your service. your service and appreciate the people who sacrifice for our country. say you don't know
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jeff sessions history, you don't know jeff sessions area i have read around him for 20 years. i have been in close quarters with him. i have been in conversations with him. he has never made any disparaging remarks in those 20 years. if you look at jeff sessions history, if you find people who know him, if you find people who have been around him a long time, you won't find anyone who doesn't like it. racist.ays he's a the people who don't know him, you will find people who like to raise money off of making racial allegations making these type of comments. you won't find anyone who knows him who says he is a race and spirit -- racist. i don't know if jeff sessions is a racist because mr.
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smith said that to government have passed away and -- in prison. saysee with what ms. clark , she said that several lawyers have went against him. where naacpevision won a suit against senator sessions. think they won that suit against him. guest: let me just say that my work and views are not artists. icomtwo --
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we are in crisis at the in need , federal civil rights laws. i worked at the justice department. i lived through an era of politicalization of the departments were. it is bad for the country. it took eight years to climb out of that hole and hold her and lynch built a record of real enforcement of civil rights laws of the move our nation forward. what we risk if jeff sessions is confirmed is turning the clock back and unraveling the process that has been made -- progress has been made. session says there is no voting discrimination nation -- discrimination in alabama. case after case has been filed.
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guest: discrimination is something we are struggling with in the nation. lynch, therer and is a crisis. jeff sessions is here to answer the crisis. if you look at the voting rights cases, it is happening all over the world. it's not just in the south. it is happening in massachusetts, and vermont, in all of those areas. what have you guys done? you propose expanding the voters .ight act what jeff sessions and other republicans try to do is make sure the voting rights act apply throughout the country. host: suzanne in richardson, texas. make it a please. caller: i will just say that i was a democrat almost my entire
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life, now i am happy to say i am a republican because i now see what the democratic party has become. .ery liberal i think mr. smith has now set for a flight of times what jeff sessions thoughts and feelings law abiding-- he is and nonpartisan. the lady that is here, i heard her say that she is nonpartisan. , she evident that she is a is ignoring the true facts of the cases that she gives clothing and that mr. smith keeps correcting her on. give the last 30 seconds starting with kristin clark. guest: we may not relitigate that.
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mr. turner has said mr. session positionould hold no in the land. that prosecution is what led republicans and democrats in the senate said this man cannot be a federal judge. there's no way we can elevate him to a more important role. host: do you think there will be much to trip up jeff sessions? if we look at the facts of the marion three we will see a repeat situation where the people agree to plead guilty. that suggests they had some liability there. you probably won't agree with that. the judge did not dismiss it.
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guest: as far as a hearing is concerned you will see false allegations, up against senator sessions. up the senateblew within nuclear option. you will see him be concerned -- confirm. >> a reminder that the confirmation hearing for jeff sessions is tomorrow morning. you'll be able to watch it liven starting at 9:30 eastern on our companion network, c-span3. looking in once again at the lobby of trump tower where the president-elect is meeting today with advisors. and some news reports about the transition from "the washington post" today. newspaper reports that president-elect trump nominee
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for attorney general, jeff session, want to reduce the number of highly skilled workers who come to the u.s. on what are called h-1-b visas. e each year about 100,000 of those workers come from india. they have called it a cheap labor program subject to widespread rampant abuse. according to the post, the president-elect and attorney general nominee want to overhaul or entirely eliminate the program. you can read the rest that have story in today's "washington post." the u.s. house will be debating legislation to set up a diabetes care commission and another bill that would deal with whether research programs. the house will be voting on those bills tonight at 6:30 eastern. can you see the house live here on c-span. until the house comes in, a discussion on the confirmation hearing for senator jeff sessions to be the u.s. attorney general from this morning's "washington journal." first of our two e
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roundtables today on the nomination of jeff sessions for attorney general, we are joined in studio by susan crabtree, senior congressional reporter for "the washington examiner," and steve flowers. i want to begin with you. in your columns since jeff sessions was nominated, you're confident he will be nominated for the post of attorney general. why are you so confident? guest: generally speaking, i think that confirmations for cabinet members are not as stringent as maybe supreme court judges or federal judges. having said


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