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tv   Senator Sessions Farewell Speech  CSPAN  February 9, 2017 5:03am-5:19am EST

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biesn pteinhe olce pplrorind heelveinawl ste mmraonhaershe tial iert. anwiinous those are things that may from time to time come before the office of attorney general, and i look forward to lawfully and properly advancing those items that we, as a body, share the american people believe in. the attorney general -- this is a law enforcement office, first and foremost. people expect us to be those who defend us -- defend us from terrorists, defend us from criminals, defend the country from frausers who raid the -- fraudesterring who raid the united states treasury again and again. i believe that is a big responsibility of the united states attorney general in this
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whole department of justice. as a former federal prosecutor, i work regularly nights, weekends, became personal friends with fabulous federal investigative agents. they give their lives, place their -- place their lives on the line for us, remote public safety, to try to do the right thing for america, and sometimes people think of them as some sort of beady-eyed plotters to take away our freedom. they are out there every day putting their lives on the line to advance our freedoms, to protect our liberties, to protect public safety, to stop terrorism that threaten our government. i feel tropbgly about that -- i feel strongly about that. i had the honor to lead some of the finest assistant attorneys. i was told that mobile had the
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best u.s. attorneys in america. when i came become as u.s. attorney some six years later, i told them that was our goal. we want to have the best united states attorney's office in america, and what a great time we had. we had wonderful people. they worked nights and weekends to prepare their cases. we went before great federal judges and it was a glorious time. it was really a special time and i will never, ever get over that. when i was before the committee in 1986, and senator kennedy later, my friend, spoke harshly about me. it was on the tv. they would show his statement that i should resign my office. and so i -- i got my chance some few minutes later when i had a chance to say something, i said, senator kennedy, what you said
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breaks my heart. nothing i've ever don't have i been more proud of than serving as united states attorney. and i still believe that. nothing i have ever done in -- done am i more proud of than the work that we did in that little office in mobile, alabama, for representing the united states of america. you go into court, you stand before the judge, and you say the united states is ready. i represent the united states of americin a -- united states of a in a litigation. this is a big deal. i would say to you, friends and colleagues, that this is a special honor. i feel it in my bones. i hope and's pray -- hope and pray i will be worthy of the trust you give me. let me comment a minute on the heated debate that we've had here in the senate on my
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nomination and others. it was an intense selection, there's no doubt about that. there have been strong feelings expressed during the election and throughout this confirmation process. and some of the times we have philosophical disagreements -- just sincere disagreements about policy and what's right and wrong with what the law says and what it doesn't say. i believe words ought to be given fair and plain meaning. words aren't tools that can be manipulated to make it say what you want it to say. i believe words have objective meaning. we have sometimes differences about that. and -- but that's what elections are about and i've always liked the debate. i've always enjoyed participating in this great body where we are free to speak and be able to advocate for the values that we have. but i don't think we have such a
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classical disagreement that we can't get together. i've always tried to keep my disagreements from being personal. i've always tried to be cuterus to my colleagues -- courteous to my colleagues. still, tension is built in the system, right? is it there. and the plain fact is that our nation does have room for republicans and democrats. that's what freedom is all about. i'm fairly firm, i've got to say, in my convictions, but that doesn't mean all of us have to agree on the same thing. we need latitude in our relationships. and so let's agree on what we can agree on and i suggest that to my colleagues as i leave here and take action where we can agree on things, but denigrating people who disagree with us i think is not a healthy trend for our body.
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after i've been here for a number of year, i got along pretty well with senator kennedy on the judiciary committee. he asked me to be the lead sponsor with him on the significant, pretty controversial prison rape bill. there were a number of honorable people who opposed it -- some friends of mine. and he said, i want to do this with you. some people asked me, did you ever have a reconciliation? did he apologize? he said, i want to do this bill with you, and i knew what that meant, and i appreciated that. i said i want to do it with you. so we were able to pass that bill together. it was a moment of reconciliation that meant a lot to me, and i think he appreciated it too. we later got involved in a major
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piece of legislation, just the two of us, that would have established a portable savings plan for young workers, for all americans like the federal thrift plan. about that time the financial crisis hit and he had illness and it never came to fruition, but reconciliation is important. we ought to do that in this body. we ought to try to fight for our values and not give an inch. you don't have to back down if you believe you're right and you should not back down, but there are way that's we can get along personally and i would say that would be my prayer for this body that in the future maybe the intensity of the last few weeks would die down and maybe somehow we get along better. so, colleagues, i can't express how appreciative i am for those
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of you who stood by me during this difficult time. i could start calling names, but it wouldn't be appropriate. i want to say, again, i appreciate the president and his confidence in me and by your vote tonight, i have been given a real challenge. i'll do my best to be worthy of it and look forward to working with each of you during that time and maybe to make sure we have a good open door at the department of justice. my wife is -- has picked up pretty quickly that we have a chef and we can actually invite people for lunch or breakfast there, and maybe we can do that. finally, let me thank my family because without their support i could not be here. it's great that my children have been so engaged in this. they were young when this
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happened. my 86th adventure occurred and now they are grown and paid attention to it and your support and affirmation has meant much to them. mr. president, i have here, i guess i should present to the body -- it's a letter that needs to go to this body also, but it's to governor bentley of alabama in which i state these words: i hereby give notice that i will retire from the office of the united states senator for the state of alabama, therefore i tender my resignation at # 1:55 -- 11:55 p.m. on november 28,
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standard eastern time. thank you all. i'm honored to be with you. >> jeff sessions was approved to be attorney general by a mostlyo partyline vote. this morning, he will be sworn in in the oval office. we will have live coverage here on c-span. in the afternoon, look at the conflict between russia and ukraine and russia's relationship with the u.s.. we will hear from richard armitage and chris murphy. live coverage from the carnegie endowment for international peace begins at 3:00 eastern on c-span.
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>> sunday night, melissa fleming for the high commsion f refugees tks about a young syrian wom'trip to eupe. e ntvied bth pridt rugs teatna evop wreng eyelth ndetoea? t ab ri ihaeng l ou tm. sia aesn lingnd aopesve remebuth he mean liliodanhetharan th a gngo ho. th filwanopotill acve th a cghupn ts nd eiten autheth cotrs ouhichgi. mae in cldhae re
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