Sessions: Charges of Racism Are 'Damnably False'
He also vows to recuse himself from any Hillary Clinton investigations
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 10, 2017 12:07 PM CST
Updated Jan 10, 2017 1:55 PM CST
Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala.,, is sworn in on Capitol Hill.   (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

(Newser) – Some of the early highlights from Tuesday's confirmation hearing of Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions, who is Donald Trump's pick to be attorney general, via the Hill, the New York Times, Politico, and the Washington Post:

  • Hillary Clinton: Given his support of Trump during the campaign, Sessions said he would recuse himself from any investigations of her use of a private email server. When asked, he said he never chanted, "Lock her up!"
  • Racial allegations: He called accusations of racism against him "damnably false charges." Sessions was rejected for a federal judgeship on those grounds decades ago, but "the caricature of me in 1986 was not correct," he said. "I do not harbor the kind of animosity and race-based discrimination ideas that I was accused of. I did not."
  • Waterboarding: He said current law makes it "absolutely improper and illegal."

  • Opposing his boss: He said he would not be "a mere rubber stamp" for Trump and would oppose him when necessary.
  • Russian hacking: Sessions says he's confident the FBI's conclusion that Moscow interfered with the US elections through hacking was "honorably reached."
  • Muslim immigration: “I have no belief and do not support the idea that Muslims as a religious group should be denied admission to the United States."
  • Overall immigration: Sessions made clear, however, that he views the current process as flawed. "Fundamentally, we need to fix this immigration system."
  • 'Dreamers': Sessions called President Obama's plan to protect an estimated 700,000 young undocumented immigrants from deportation "constitutionally questionable."
  • In general: “You know who I am. You know what I believe in. You know that I am a man of my word and can be trusted to do what I say I will do. You know that I revere our Constitution and am committed to the rule of law. And you know that I believe in fairness, impartiality, and equal justice under the law.”
  • Protesters: A group including men dressed in KKK uniforms interrupted the hearing. See the AP.

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