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Thread: Sessions vote delayed as Democrats blast Yates firing

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  1. #1
    Administrator ALIPAC's Avatar
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    Nov 2004
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    Sessions vote delayed as Democrats blast Yates firing

    Sessions vote delayed as Democrats blast Yates firing

    Democrats use the furor over Trump's dismissal of the acting attorney general to drag out committee vote for Sessions.
    By Seung Min Kim
    01/31/17 10:58 AM EST
    Updated 01/31/17 06:50 PM EST

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    The already contentious battle over confirming Jeff Sessions as attorney general blew up further on Tuesday as Democrats used the surprise firing of Sally Yates as acting head of the Justice Department to argue that Sessions won’t be sufficiently independent from President Donald Trump.
    And Democrats successfully dragged out the Sessions debate long enough that his committee vote got kicked to Wednesday. His eventual confirmation is not in doubt given that he has support from all Republicans and at least one moderate Senate Democrat, but Democrats are using every lever they have to make his nomination fight as painful as possible.

    But for Democrats who, for weeks, have raised questions about Sessions’ ability to be an independent attorney general, Yates’ dramatic firing late Monday gave even more fodder on whether Sessions could be a check on a president who Democrats warn is already pushing the bounds of executive power.
    “That is what an attorney general must be willing and able to do,” California Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, said of Yates. “I have no confidence Sen. Sessions will do that. Instead he has been the fiercest, most dedicated and most loyal promoter in Congress of the Trump agenda.”
    Despite requests from Republicans to keep their comments short, each Democrat on the Judiciary Committee launched into lengthy speeches criticizing Sessions' record and ties to Trump. The debate went on for so long that Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) said the panel vote would slip to Wednesday, as Democrats prepared toinvoke a rarely-used rule that committees cannot meet beyond two hours after coming into session. The Senate came into session at noon on Tuesday.
    The committee will convene at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday to vote on Sessions' nomination. Though Democrats elsewhere in the Capitol boycotted a Finance Committee vote Tuesday on two high-profile Trump nominees -- Tom Price at Health and Human Services and Steven Mnuchin at Treasury -- Feinstein said Democrats on the Judiciary Committee won't do that for Sessions.
    Yates, a holdover from the Obama administration, was unceremoniously fired Monday after she announced that she would instruct Justice Department lawyers not to defend Trump’s controversial executive order barring immigrants from some Muslim-majority nations.
    The directive has already triggered mass protests and confusion at airports, as well as a stream of legal challenges and court losses for the Trump administration. The executive order is also sure to play a starring role in the confirmation fight over Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, who will be unveiled Tuesday.

    Trump fires defiant acting attorney general

    By Josh Gerstein

    Republicans sought to inoculate Sessions from the controversy brewing over Trump’s executive order, noting at the outset of the hearing Tuesday that the Alabama Republican — Trump’s chief supporter from the Senate during the campaign — had no fingerprints in the controversial directives.
    “It’s not clear to me why it would be a problem even if he had been involved,” Grassley said. “But the fact of the matter is he wasn’t.”
    In written responses to Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Sessions said neither he nor his current aides were involved in drafting the series of executive orders on immigration that were rolled out last week.
    Leahy delivered a lengthy indictment of Trump’s dismissal of Yates on Tuesday, slamming the president for firing an acting attorney general whom Leahy said was just doing her job.
    “His accusation that she betrayed the Department of Justice is dangerous,” Leahy said. “The attorney general is the people’s attorney. Not the president’s attorney. He or she does not wear two hats at once.”
    Leahy added: “I have very serious doubts that Senator Sessions would be an independent attorney general.”
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  2. #2
    Senior Member Judy's Avatar
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    Aug 2005
    Leahy delivered a lengthy indictment of Trump’s dismissal of Yates on Tuesday, slamming the president for firing an acting attorney general whom Leahy said was just doing her job.
    No, she wasn't doing her job. She was refusing to do her job. Worse, she wrote a directive instructing the entire Justice Department not to do theirs. All of her cases need to be reopened and examined for prosecutorial misconduct.
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