Senator Jeff Sessions now seems like sure thing to be confirmed as Attorney General. Critical commitments of support continue to come in. The attempts by Democrats to stir up controversy over some distorted and overblown comments that may or may not have been made in the past now seem to be becoming increasingly irrelevant.
A spokesman for Arizona Republican Senator Jeff Flake, who sits on the Senate Judiciary Committee, confirmed on Friday that the Senator will support his Alabama colleague, what had been a question mark given Flake’s vocal opposition to Mr. Trump and his opposition to border security.
Democrat Senator Joe Manchin (WV) in many ways more like a Republican than some Republicans, and Republican-lite Susan Collins of Maine have also pledged their support.
Provided Senator Sessions can clear committee his nomination appears to be unstoppable on the full Senate floor. Democrats eliminated the 60-vote threshold for most nominations three years ago.
Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA) said of Sessions, “He knows the Justice Department as a former U.S. attorney, which would serve him very well in this position. With this background, I’m confident he would be reported favorably out of the committee.”
The Senior Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, Dianne Feinstein of California was non-committal, an endorsement of sorts, saying, “Senator Sessions has served on the Senate Judiciary Committee for many years so he’s well aware of the thorough vetting he’s about to receive. While many of us have worked with Senator Sessions closely and know him to be a staunch advocate for his beliefs, the process will remain the same: a fair and complete review of the nominee.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was positive in his remarks, saying, “I look forward to the Senate’s fair and expeditious treatment of our colleague’s forthcoming nomination, just as it promptly processed ‘president’ Obama’s first Attorney General nomination, which concluded with a timely up or down vote.”
Chuck Schumer, the new Minority Leader once Harry Reid is blessedly no longer infesting the Senate, joked that their working out together in the gym would not absolve Sessions of tough questioning. He said, “Given some of his past statements and his staunch opposition to immigration reform, I am very concerned about what he would do with the Civil Rights Division at the Department of Justice and want to hear what he has to say.” Shut it down and send Vanita Gupta back to the ACLU would be best, Senator Schumer, in the interest of fairness and an end of the anti-white witch hunt.
Thanks to Harry Reid there’s not much the Democrats can do other than listen, as they are not in a position to block his nomination, given his emerging GOP support. Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC) said, “We’ll be honoring decisions that they made when they were in the same position,” keeping the lower voting thresholds in place. Still the cushion is only three votes, so there can be no defections, a difficult task sometimes for Republicans. Unbelievably, something beneficial came of the re-election of Senator John McCain.
If Sessions is confirmed, Alabama’s Republican governor, Robert Bentley, will select an interim replacement with a special election to follow at a future time, so the slim Republican margin should remain intact for at least two years.
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