Update, January 11, 4:31 p.m. ET:
Watch day two of Session’s confirmation hearing below. It includes testimony from Senator Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Representative John Lewis (D-Ga.).
In November, President-elect Donald Trump announced that he would nominate Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions to the office of Attorney General, the member of the Administration who runs the U.S. Department of Justice and sets policy for police departments nationwide. Today (January 10), Sessions appears before the Senate Judiciary Committee for his confirmation hearing.
Sessions has been the subject of much debate and protest. A Republican-led Senate refused to confirm him for a federal judgeship back in 1986 because he had a history of making racist remarks. Last week, the NAACP staged a sit-in in his Mobile, Alabama, office, calling on him to remove himself from consideration. Today’s hearings started at 9:30 a.m. ET, and there have already been three interruptions from protestors, including one who cut him off at 10:17 during his opening statement, yelling, “We have to keep these fascist pigs from getting into power!”
As part of the hearings, Senator Cory Booker (D-N.J.) is expected to testify against Sessions. Per his office, he is the first sitting U.S. senator to testify against another senator who is being considered for a Cabinet position. “I’m breaking a pretty long Senate tradition,” he said on MSNBC’s “All in With Chris Hayes” yesterday (January 9). “We’ve seen Jeff Sessions—that’s Senator Jeff Sessions—consistently voting against or speaking out against key ideals of the Voting Rights Act, taking measures to try to block criminal justice reform.” He went on to say that Sessions “has a posture and a positioning that I think represent a real danger to our country.”
It is unclear what time Booker will testify. Representative John Lewis (D-Ga.) and Congressional Black Caucus chairman Representative Cedric Richmond (D-La.) are also expected to appear before the Committee during the two-day hearing.
In his opening statement, Sessions said he wanted to directly address what he called “damnably false charges” leveled against him with regard to racism. He said that he has a long record of fighting for the civil rights of Black Americans, and that he is not a fan of the Ku Klux Klan. “I abhor the Klan and what it represents and its racist ideology,” he said. Sessions also said that he never said that the NAACP was un-American or called a White civil rights attorney a “disgrace to his race.” He went on to say that he understands the impact “systemic discrimination and the denial of voting rights has had on our African-American brothers and sisters.”
*Updated to include livestream of the hearing.