Senate

Tim Scott endorses Sessions for attorney general

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Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.), Senate Republicans’ only black member, announced on the eve of Sen. Jeff Sessions’s confirmation hearing that he will support the Alabama Republican’s attorney general nomination. 

“We may not agree on everything … [but] I have gotten to know Jeff over my four years in the Senate and have found him to be a consistently fair person,” he said in a statement. 
 
Scott’s endorsement comes roughly 30 years after Sessions’s nomination for a federal judgeship was derailed over allegations of racism, accusations that Sessions has repeatedly denied. 
 
{mosads}Scott said it was “no secret” that Sessions was blocked from becoming a judge in 1986. The fight, he noted, was part of what led him to pay close attention to Sessions’s attorney general nomination, even though he isn’t on the Judiciary Committee. 
 
“I have put a special emphasis on this nomination in terms of doing my own homework and determining the facts from the allegations,” Scott said. 
 
Scott invited Sessions to Charleston in December for a meting between law enforcement, minority leaders and black pastors, calling it a “productive conversation” that helped shed light on Sessions’s positions. 
 
Scott noted that he also reviewed testimony and news coverage from the 1986 hearing, as well as examining Sessions’s record as a whole. 
 
“While many of the allegations brought up 30 years ago were and are disputed, there are many facts that remain absolutely clear. Jeff is committed to upholding the Constitution of the United States,” he said. 
 
Scott pointed to Sessions’s work as a U.S. attorney, prosecuting a member of the Ku Klux Klan, and his vote for Eric Holder, the first African-American attorney general, as evidence. 
 
Scott’s announcement came hours after another black senator, Cory Booker (D-N.J.), said he’ll break with Senate precedent and testify against Sessions during his confirmation hearing. 
 
Booker stressed that he did not make the decision “lightly” but said he had myriad concerns about his GOP colleague’s nomination. 
 
The Senate Judiciary Committee will start its confirmation hearing for Sessions on Tuesday. President-elect Donald Trump must still formally nominate Sessions once he is sworn in later this month.
 
Though the GOP senator is well liked in the Senate, Democrats have been pledging to fight his nomination for months. They face an uphill, if not impossible, battle to block him from becoming Trump’s top law enforcement official. 
 
Sessions will only need 50 votes to clear the upper chamber and Republicans — who have coalesced behind him — have a 52-seat majority. 
Tags Donald Trump Eric Holder Jeff Sessions Tim Scott

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