During now-U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ confirmation hearing, a letter that Coretta Scott King wrote about his character became a flash point in the fight to keep him out of the Department of Justice (DOJ). Now, as the nation learns that Sessions plans to “pull back on” suing police departments for civil rights violations and that he allegedly lied under oath about having conversations with Russian officials, King’s warning takes on renewed relevance.
In a February 28 speech to members of the National Association of Attorneys General, Sessions indicated that the DOJ would decrease its monitoring and prosecuting of police departments that have been cited for violating civil liberties.
“We’ll do our duty, I’ve done that as United States attorney, to prosecute police officers who do wrong. We need, so far as we can, in my view, help police departments get better, not diminish their effectiveness,” Sessions said. “And I’m afraid we’ve done some of that. So we’re going to try to pull back on this, and I don’t think it’s wrong or mean or insensitive to civil rights or human rights. I think it’s out of a concern to make the lives of people, in particular the poor communities, minority communities, live a safer, happier life.” This passage is not in his prepared remarks, as released by the DOJ.
Sessions also announced the creation of the Task Force on Crime Reduction and Public Safety, which will include the heads of the FBI; Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; Drug Enforcement Administration and the U.S. Marshals Service. Watch the full speech below.
One day later (March 1), The Washington Post reported allegations that Sessions spoke to Russia’s ambassador to the United States twice last year—despite the fact that he testified before Senate in January that he did not have any contact with the foreign government that has been implicated in manipulating the general election to the benefit of now-President Trump.
Video of Sessions under oath denying he had any contacts with the Russians during the campaign pic.twitter.com/cnbAP187dZ
— Judd Legum (@JuddLegum) March 2, 2017
Sessions denied the allegation in a statement issued by DOJ spokesperson Sarah Isgur Flores on Wednesday night: “I never met with any Russian officials to discuss issues of the campaign. I have no idea what this allegation is about. It is false.”
Statement from Attorney General Sessions: pic.twitter.com/kZic12DW0R
— Sarah Isgur Flores (@whignewtons) March 2, 2017
Of course, Twitter could not let this news pass without recognition. Coretta Scott King’s name trended today (March 2) as social media users reminded the world that King warned the Senate not to put him in office in a 1986 letter, in which she called Sessions’ behavior as a U.S. attorney “reprehensible.” Here are some key responses:
Mood: Coretta Scott King drinking tea pic.twitter.com/O5mgpaYdgl
— Bree Newsome (@BreeNewsome) March 2, 2017
Tonight is further evidence that it is a good idea to listen to and heed the words of Coretta Scott King. #Sessions #TrustBlackWomen pic.twitter.com/ngCGpIa1ky
— Women’s March (@womensmarch) March 2, 2017
Coretta Scott King looking at the TL right now… pic.twitter.com/Oim2Zhg9kl
— Terrell J. Starr (@Russian_Starr) March 2, 2017
Folks are livid about Russian lies when Coretta Scott King herself wasn’t enough to stop you before.
Perjury is perjury-but miss me w that
— Brittany Packnett (@MsPackyetti) March 2, 2017
live footage of Coretta Scott King bidding Jeff Sessions a fond farewell pic.twitter.com/bOLyn0xasS
— wikipedia brown (@eveewing) March 2, 2017