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Udall reads Coretta Scott King letter on Senate floor after Warren is silenced

Sen. Tom UdallThomas (Tom) Stewart UdallWHIP LIST: Shutdown looms as Senate lacks votes to pass House spending bill Dems harden line on stopgap measure Overnight Finance: Shutdown drama grips Capitol | White House backs short-term spending bill | Mulvaney begins consumer bureau shake-up MORE (D-N.M.) early Wednesday read Coretta Scott King’s letter opposing Sen. Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsDems pick up deep-red legislative seat in Missouri Grassley to Sessions: Policy for employees does not comply with the law New immigration policy leaves asylum seekers in the lurch MORE (R-Ala.) on the Senate floor hours after Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenGovernment watchdog finds safety gaps in assisted living homes David Crosby: Shared dislike for Trump could reunite Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young Dem senators tell Trump he doesn’t have ‘legal authority’ to launch preemptive strike on North Korea MORE (D-Mass.) was silenced for trying to read the same letter.

A few minutes into his formal remarks on the floor, Udall asked to enter the letter into the Senate record, which had no objections.

"I would like to read into the record today the letter from Mrs. King which supports her opinion of Mr. Sessions's lack of commitment to justice for all and leave it to my colleagues here today to assess in considering his nomination," he said.  

"To me, that letter that she wrote back in March 19, 1986 goes right to the heart of what we are debating here on the Senate floor. What we are debating is our voting rights and whether we will have for the next four years or eight years an attorney general who is going to enforce the laws, particularly with regards to voting rights. So here’s her letter."

During a debate against the nomination of Sessions as attorney general on Tuesday evening, Warren quoted from the 1986 letter from the civil rights activist and widow of Martin Luther King Jr., citing her concerns about Sessions during his then-nomination for a federal judgeship.

She wrote that Sessions “had used the awesome power of his office to chill the free exercise of the vote by black citizens" as a U.S. attorney in Alabama.

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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellDems confront Kelly after he calls some immigrants 'lazy' McConnell: 'Whoever gets to 60 wins' on immigration Overnight Defense: Latest on spending fight - House passes stopgap with defense money while Senate nears two-year budget deal | Pentagon planning military parade for Trump | Afghan war will cost B in 2018 MORE (R-Ky.) interrupted Warren and said that she had violated Senate rules by impugning her colleague, Sessions.

Senate Republicans voted to rebuke Warren, and she was barred from speaking on the Senate floor for the remainder of the debate on Sessions.

On Wednesday, Udall defended Warren on Twitter after reading Coretta Scott King's letter on the floor, and said that “her words should not be silenced.”

Sen. Jeff MerkleyJeffrey (Jeff) Alan MerkleyPentagon: War in Afghanistan will cost billion in 2018 Trump has declared war on our climate — we won’t let him win Lawmakers left with more questions than answers on Trump infrastructure plan MORE (D-Ore.) and Sen. Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell BrownTrump accuses Dems of 'treasonous' behavior Former Ohio football star faces conservative rival in GOP primary fight Dems press Trump for 'Buy American' proposals in infrastructure plan MORE (D-Ohio)  also read portions of the the letter from the floor on Tuesday night, soon after Warren was rebuked, without interruptions. 

Warren herself finished the letter from outside the Senate, reading it out loud in a Facebook live video.

The Massachusetts senator thanked her colleagues for reading the letter on the Senate floor.