01.25.17

After Senator Sessions Fails To Provide Clear Answers, Senator Leahy Demands Answers From AG Nominee

Senator Patrick Leahy on Wednesday released additional written questions to Senator Jeff Sessions after the Attorney General nominee failed to directly answer Leahy’s questions about his views on the Violence Against Women Act, anti-Muslim extremist groups, Russia’s interference with the presidential election, ethics concerns with the new Trump administration, and other matters.

Today’s follow up comes days after Senator Sessions failed to provide clear answers to written questions, refusing even to say whether he considered VAWA’s constitutionality to be “reasonably defensible.”  Sessions’ other responses on whether he would follow established recusal standards as Attorney General raised serious concerns about his independence.

Our nation’s chief law enforcement officer must be independent and fair.  Senator Sessions’ failure to provide direct answers to my written questions raises serious concerns that he would not be an independent Attorney General.  The Judiciary Committee must have answers before we consider this important nomination,” Leahy said. 

Earlier this week, the Washington Post editorial board called on Sessions to recuse himself from Justice Department investigations of Russia’s hacking.  Senate Judiciary Committee Democrats have also called on Sessions to allow investigations of Russia hacking to proceed and to recuse himself from those proceedings if he is confirmed. 

Sessions’ nomination to be the nation’s chief law enforcement officer has generated significant concerns from leading organizations including the National Task Force to End Sexual and Domestic Violence.  In an open letter, the task force wrote that “The Attorney General is tasked with ensuring that VAWA’s protection and programs are available and accessible to all. Senator Sessions’ opposition to the VAWA protections and his prosecutorial record leave us gravely concerned that he would not vigorously or consistently apply these protections.”

Senator Leahy’s follow up questions to Attorney General nominee Jeff Sessions Wednesday can be found online

Senator Leahy’s first round of questions and Senator Sessions’ responses can also be found online.

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