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Randolph County Herald Tribune - Chester, IL
  • 5 things to know about attorney general pick Jeff Sessions

  • Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama has been named attorney general by president-elect Donald Trump's transition team, and his appointment to become top cop comes after having already filled multiple important roles in Trump's quest for the White House over the course of the past nine months.
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  • Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama has been named attorney general by president-elect Donald Trump's transition team, and his appointment to become top cop comes after having already filled multiple important roles in Trump's quest for the White House over the course of the past nine months.
    It was back in February, when there were still four Republican contenders for the nomination, that Sessions became the first major endorser of the real-estate mogul. It was a gambit that paid off mightily some thirty years after he was first nominated -- and denied -- for a federal judgeship.
    Here are five things to know about Sessions, the nominee for U.S. attorney general: He's a former prosecutor
    After seeing as an assistant U.S. attorney in Alabama, Sessions was nominated by President Ronald Reagan to be the to be the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Alabama, something went on to do for 12 years before becoming a senator in Washington.
    Reagan tried to elevate him to become a federal judge, but Sessions had been caught calling the ACLU and NAACP "un-American" and "Communist-inspired" because they "forced civil rights down the throats of people."
    He was never confirmed by the Senate Judiciary Committee, although later he would ironically become one of their members. He supports the border wall
    Sessions has a well-documented opposition to large scale immigration and amnesty, and has voiced support in the past for a fence along the U.S. border with Mexico. "Look, we can fix this situation on the Mexican border," he said in February. "It is fixable. And a wall, a barrier, is an essential part of that."
    He has also stopped attempts to create a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants, coming up with 15 amendments to a reform bill in 2013 that had bi-partisan support.
    For Trump, he has served as the lead advisor on national security and his top aides helped the president-elect hone his points on immigration while on the campaign trail.
    Vice President-elect Mike Pence and AG-elect Jeff Sessions (Wikimedia Commons)Vice President-elect Mike Pence and AG-elect Jeff Sessions (Wikimedia Commons)
    He opposes the Trans-Pacific Partnership
    While Trump and Sessions probably disagree on the amount that needs to be spent on domestic programs in the face of a growing national deficit, there's a lot of common ground between the two.
    Page 2 of 2 - Even Bernie Sanders would agree with the president-elect and Sessions on the subject of TPP, which the Alabama senator has called "badly mistaken."
    "We are now and will continue to be engaged in trade. That will not change," he said. "But Americans know these agreements have allowed trade practices that unfairly close manufacturing plants, costing millions of high paying jobs. Our people are hurting. We cannot afford to lose a single job because of a bad trade deal." His putative hate speech has dogged him for years
    Sessions is a controversial figure for his comments that some construed as racist. The Southern Poverty Law Center has accused him of hate speech.
    In response, he said, "I am not a racist, I am not insensitive to blacks. I have supported civil rights activity in my state. I have done my job with integrity, equality, and fairness for all."
    On this basis the Progressive Change Campaign Committee has called his appointment unacceptable, likening the appointment to the the proverbial fox guarding the henhouse.
    Former Vice President Dick Cheney and Sen. Jeff Sessions (Wikimedia Commons)Former Vice President Dick Cheney and Sen. Jeff Sessions (Wikimedia Commons)
    He is very, very conservative
    Not only has Sessions opposed climate change science, he is a budget hawk who was one of 25 senators to vote against the Troubled Asset Relief Program signed by President George Bush at the height of the Great Recession. At the time, he said the bank bailout "undermines our heritage of law and order, and is an affront to the principle of separation of powers."
    Sessions is vehemently anti-abortion, and in the case of marijuana legalization and the War on Drugs he has said, "I’m a big fan of the DEA."
    The southerner has opposed Obamacare at every turn, and once proposed national amendment to ban same-sex marriage. In a departure of the views held by Trump, Sessions has been a big supporter of the U.S. invasion of Iraq and other efforts to intervene in Middle East wars over the past 15 years.
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