Sanders: 'Duh' I would use DOJ to go after fossil fuel companies

Sanders: 'Duh' I would use DOJ to go after fossil fuel companies
© Greg Nash

Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersWarren says making Israel aid conditional on settlement building is 'on the table' Warren says she will unveil plan to finance 'Medicare for All' Ocasio-Cortez says endorsing Sanders early is 'the most authentic decision' she could make MORE (I-Vt.) said Thursday that, if elected president, he would use the power of the Department of Justice (DOJ) to hold fossil fuel companies accountable for damaging the environment.

At a climate forum hosted at Georgetown University, MSNBC host Chris Hayes asked Sanders if he would pursue litigation tactics similar to those that secured a massive settlement from the tobacco industry.

“Duh,” Sanders said. “Of course I would.” 

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The Vermont senator, a 2020 Democratic presidential nomination contender, told Hayes the government would have a strong case given that fossil fuel companies knew their product was having a damaging effect on the climate. 

“I’m not a lawyer, and I’ll need a good attorney general to help me out with this,” he said, stressing the need to hold company CEOs accountable.

"They knew that it was real. Their own scientists told us that it was real," Sanders said of fossil fuels' impact on climate change. 

This isn’t the first time Sanders has used a drawn-out “duh” in response to a question on the environment. During the CNN climate forum, Sanders used similar remarks to express his support for reversing President TrumpDonald John TrumpZuckerberg launches public defense of Facebook as attacks mount Trump leaning toward keeping a couple hundred troops in eastern Syria: report Warren says making Israel aid conditional on settlement building is 'on the table' MORE’s rollback of efficiency standards for lightbulbs. 

--Updated at 3:15 p.m.