The Senate voted Wednesday night to confirm Sen. Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsMueller's investigation ends, but divisive political circus will continue Mueller delivers report to Justice, ending investigation Trump says 'people will not stand' for Mueller report MORE (R-Ala.) as attorney general, capping a vicious debate that left Democrats and Republicans alike seething at times.

No Republicans went against Sessions in the 52-47 vote. Sen. Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinManchin says he won't support LGBTQ protection bill as written Senators offer bipartisan bill to fix 'retail glitch' in GOP tax law Murkowski, Manchin call for 'responsible solutions' to climate change MORE (D-W.Va.) was the only Democrat to back Sessions.

While Republicans broke out into applause after the vote closed, Democrats largely stood silently. A handful of Democratic senators — including Manchin, Sen. Joe DonnellyJoseph (Joe) Simon DonnellyLobbying World Lobbying World Overnight Energy: Trump taps ex-oil lobbyist Bernhardt to lead Interior | Bernhardt slams Obama officials for agency's ethics issues | Head of major green group steps down MORE (Ind.) and Bob MenendezRobert (Bob) MenendezThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Manafort sentenced to total of 7.5 years in prison Acting Defense chief calls Graham an 'ally' after tense exchange William Barr is right man for the times MORE (N.J.) — went over and shook Sessions's hand after the vote. Sen. Tom CarperThomas (Tom) Richard CarperBiden's challenge: Satisfying the left Dems introduce bill requiring disclosure of guest logs from White House, Trump properties Lobbying world MORE (D-Del.), who didn't support Sessions, hugged him on the Senate floor. 

The fight over Sessions escalated this week, when Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenHere's what the Dem candidates for president said about the Mueller report Booker takes early lead in 2020 endorsements Harris wants Barr to testify on Mueller report as 2020 Dems call for its release MORE (D-Mass.) read a letter that Coretta Scott King had written in 1986 that accused Sessions, a U.S. attorney at the time nominated for a federal judgeship, of using the power of his office to prevent blacks from voting. 

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellConservatives wage assault on Mueller report Overnight Energy: Interior reverses decision at heart of Zinke criminal probe | Dem divisions deepen over approach to climate change | GM to add 400 workers to build electric cars Trump: Green New Deal 'the most preposterous thing' and 'easy to beat' MORE (R-Ky.) objected to Warren’s speech, saying she had impugned another member of the Senate. In a 49-43 vote, the Senate agreed, preventing Warren from speaking on the Senate floor on Wednesday. 

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Democrats accused McConnell of sexism for silencing a woman on the floor, and Warren went on a media blitz against the Republican senators and Sessions. 

The tensions were on full display during the debate over Sessions’s nomination.

“We all know our colleague from Alabama. He’s honest," McConnell said. “He’s fair. He’s been a friend to many of us, on both sides of the aisle.” 

Democrats defended their criticism of Sessions’s record on issues of race and civil rights. 

“When we make a big issue of the position of Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions on the Voting Rights Act, it's with good cause. It is historically an issue which has haunted the United States since the Civil War,” Sen. Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinSenate Dems petition Saudi king to release dissidents, US citizen GOP moves to rein in president's emergency powers Senate votes to confirm Neomi Rao to appeals court MORE (Ill.) — the No. 2 Senate Democrat — said ahead of the vote. 

Republicans decried the Democratic tactics, arguing they were going to new lows to smear Sessions.

Sen. Orrin HatchOrrin Grant HatchNY's political prosecution of Manafort should scare us all Congress must break its addiction to unjust tax extenders The FDA crackdown on dietary supplements is inadequate MORE (R-Utah) — a long-serving Senate traditionalist — said Democrats are treating Sessions like a “terrible person,” urging his colleagues on Tuesday night to think of Sessions’s wife.

The fiery words in the last days of the debate over Sessions were somewhat surprising.

While the issue of race had always hung over the debate, Sessions is well-liked personally by many senators. That made the stinging words all the more noteworthy — and raises questions about the ability of lawmakers to work together going forward.   

Sessions will now take over the Justice Department’s defense of President Trump’s controversial order barring people from seven predominately Muslim countries from entering the United States. A former aide to Sessions was instrumental in the order’s writing, and Democrats argued the Alabama senator would not be a firm defender of an independent Justice Department.

“Senator Sessions is not a man apart from this agenda. He is not independent of [Trump's] agenda,” said Sen. Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinDem senator: 'Appropriate' for Barr, Mueller to testify publicly about Russia probe GOP lawmaker offers constitutional amendment capping Supreme Court seats at 9 Overnight Energy: Judge halts drilling on Wyoming public lands over climate change | Dems demand details on Interior's offshore drilling plans | Trump mocks wind power MORE (D-Calif.), the top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee.

Sessions only needed 50 votes to be confirmed. 

Democrats changed the filibuster rules for presidential nominations when they held the Senate majority, eliminating the need for 60-vote majorities on procedural votes held for Cabinet and some judicial nominations.