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VIDEO: Black lawmakers say Trump's pick unfit to be attorney general

By The Associated Press

This article was originally published January 11, 2017 at 1:47 p.m. Updated January 11, 2017 at 2:19 p.m.

sen-jeff-sessions-r-ala-president-elect-donald-trumps-nominee-for-attorney-general-testifi-es-tuesday-at-his-confirmation-hearing-before-the-senate-judiciary-committee

Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee for attorney general, testifi es Tuesday at his confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee.


WASHINGTON — Black lawmakers said Wednesday that Sen. Jeff Sessions at times has shown hostility toward civil rights, making him unfit to be attorney general, as a 1986 letter from the widow of Martin Luther King Jr., surfaced strongly expressing opposition to the Alabama senator.

In the second day of confirmation hearings, New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, Sessions' colleague, and Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., who was beaten when he marched for civil rights in the 1960s, warned that Sessions could move the country backward if confirmed as Donald Trump's top law enforcement official.

Booker said the "arc of the universe does not just naturally curve toward justice, we must bend it," and the country needs an attorney general who is determined to bend it.

"Sen. Sessions' record does not speak to that desire, intention, or will," Booker said, noting his opposition to overhauling the criminal justice system and his positions on other issues affecting minority groups.

Lewis told the Senate Judiciary Committee that the country needs "someone who's going to stand up, speak up and speak out for the people that need help, the people who have been discriminated against."

And Louisiana Rep. Cedric Richmond, the chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, urged senators to reject Sessions' eventual nomination because he has "advanced an agenda that will do great harm" to African-Americans.

The lawmakers' criticism echoed Cornell Brooks, the head of the NAACP, who told the panel earlier in the day that the organization "firmly believes" Sessions is unfit to serve.

The Alabama Republican was rejected by the Judiciary panel in 1986 for a federal judgeship amid accusations that he had called a black attorney "boy" — which he denied — and the NAACP and ACLU "un-American."

Sessions on Tuesday called those accusations "damnably false" and said he is "totally committed to maintaining the freedom and equality that this country has to provide to every citizen."

On Tuesday, the NAACP released a 1986 letter from Coretta Scott King, widow of the civil-rights leader, in which she said that Sessions' actions as a federal prosecutor were "reprehensible" and that he used his office "in a shabby attempt to intimidate and frighten elderly black voters."

"Mr. Sessions has used the awesome power of his office to chill the free exercise of the vote by black citizens in the district he now seeks to serve as a federal judge," Coretta Scott King wrote. She died in 2006.

Read Thursday's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.

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Comments on: VIDEO: Black lawmakers say Trump's pick unfit to be attorney general

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Displaying 1 - 3 of 3 total comments

titleist10 says... January 11, 2017 at 2:14 p.m.

The naacp will only accept a black as attorney general.we can't let them run the country. If they are unhappy they can leave the country with all the hollywood people who said they would leave if Trump was elected I don't think anyone has left

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WAN2026 says... January 11, 2017 at 4:47 p.m.

The article did not mention the Black co-workers who testified that he was fit.

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haphog says... January 11, 2017 at 9:20 p.m.

black bs. forget the racist bs! we will only advance as one. forget the racist ranting of the idiots who call for reparations, etc. USA, USA, USA. forget the afro-american crap. Be AMERICANS.......black or white or yellow or pink. Forget color.

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