Top Dem signals likely opposition to Sessions nomination

Sen. Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurrayFinding a path forward to end surprise medical billing Trump's new labor chief alarms Democrats, unions Overnight Health Care — Presented by PCMA — Sanders mounts staunch defense of 'Medicare for All' | Biden, Sanders fight over health care heats up | House votes to repeal ObamaCare 'Cadillac Tax' | Dems want details on fetal tissue research ban MORE (D-Wash.) is signaling she'll likely oppose Sen. Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump hits media over 'send her back' coverage House gears up for Mueller testimony Trump's no racist — he's an equal opportunity offender MORE's attorney general nomination next year. 

The Washington senator — who will be the No. 3 Senate Democrat in 2017 — said the Senate rejected Sessions three decades ago because of civil rights and racism allegations and "those same concerns linger."


"I’ve seen him vote against the Violence Against Women Act, the Voting Rights Act, and hate crimes legislation," Murray said in a Facebook post. "And for these reasons and more, I have major concerns with his nomination to this position and am not sure what I could hear in this confirmation process that would allow me to support it." 

Sessions has denied the accusations that he called an African-American assistant U.S. attorney “boy” or that he called the NAACP and the American Civil Liberties Union “un-American.” He also supported the Voting Rights Act in 2006 and Eric HolderEric Himpton HolderFeds will not charge officer who killed Eric Garner The old 'state rights' and the new state power The Hill's Morning Report — Harris brings her A game to Miami debate MORE's nomination to be the first African-American attorney general.  

Echoing larger concerns from Democrats, Murray added on Monday that the attorney general must be able be willing to defend the rights of all Americans equally. 

"We need to do everything we can to fight for an Attorney General who is truly committed to standing up for and protecting the rights of everyone in this country," she said. "Given Senator Sessions’s record, it is difficult to see how he could pass this most basic, most essential, test.

Murray also pointed to Sessions's immigration stances as a cause for concern, questioning if he would use his post to "pursue his anti-immigration agenda." 

Sessions is well-liked among his Senate colleagues. Republicans signaled last week that they wanted to quickly move his nomination through the upper chamber next year.  

Democrats are pledging to give Sessions a thorough grilling, though they face an uphill battle to stop his nomination. 

Sessions will only need support from a simple majority of senators to clear the upper chamber. Republicans are expected to have 52 seats next year, and Sen. Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinPoll: McConnell is most unpopular senator Dems open to killing filibuster in next Congress Trump nominees meet fiercest opposition from Warren, Sanders, Gillibrand MORE (D-W.Va.) has said he will support Sessions. 

Five former attorneys general and five former deputy attorneys general, all of whom worked for Republican administrations, backed Sessions’s nomination in a letter Monday to Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinTop Democrats demand security assessment of Trump properties Democrats warm to idea of studying reparations Hillicon Valley: Senators unload on Facebook cryptocurrency plan | Trump vows to 'take a look' at Google's ties to China | Google denies working with China's military | Tech execs on defensive at antitrust hearing | Bill would bar business with Huawei MORE (D-Calif.), the two top members of the Judiciary Committee next year.