Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions, whose nomination as attorney general has served as a fresh lightning rod for the new administration of President Trump, was narrowly confirmed Wednesday as the nation’s chief law enforcement officer.
The largely party line vote of 52-47, yet another reflection of the deep political divisions roiling the country, was marked by bitter recriminations from civil rights advocates and Democrat lawmakers who staged a second all-night debate to voice their opposition to a former colleague who spent more than two decades in the Senate.
Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia was the lone Democrat to vote for Sessions, while the Alabama senator voted present.
Vice President Pence was expected to preside at Sessions’ swearing in Thursday morning.
Sessions’ bumpy road to confirmation as the 84th attorney general of the United States spanned a series of high political dramas that featured Trump’s abrupt firing of acting Attorney General Sally Yates for refusing to defend the administration’s disputed refugee ban in federal court and last night’s extraordinary Senate confrontation in which Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., was silenced by Republican leaders for her criticism of the nominee.
Warren was in the midst of reading from a 1986 letter from Coretta Scott King, the widow of civil rights icon Martin Luther King Jr., who condemned Sessions’ role as federal prosecutor in a controversial voting fraud prosecution of three black civil rights activists in Alabama, when she was suddenly barred from continuing.
Source: USA Today | Kevin Johnson