Tags: Donald Trump | Healthcare Reform | Homeland Security | Immigration | Trump Refugee Ban | Jeff Sessions | administration

Critics See Sessions' Influence in Refugee Ban

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Sen. Jeff Sessions (Getty Images)

By    |   Monday, 30 Jan 2017 06:16 PM

Attorney General nominee Jeff Sessions, one of President Donald Trump's earliest supporters, has become "the intellectual godfather" of the president's policies, The Washington Post reported.

Writers Philip Rucker and Robert Costa reported Sessions' aides and allies have fueled Trump's "most dramatic moves, including the ban on refugees and migrants from seven mostly Muslim nations."

And, they reported, Sessions – whose confirmation hearing is set for Tuesday – helped devise Trump's first-week strategy, in which the president signed a blizzard of executive orders to fulfill his signature campaign promises.

"His influence in the administration extends far beyond the Justice Department," they wrote. "From immigration and healthcare to national security and trade, Sessions is the intellectual godfather of the president's policies."

According to the Post, many of Trump's executive orders were written by senior policy adviser Stephen Miller, a Sessions confidant, while the "tactician turning Trump's agenda into law" is deputy chief of staff Rick Dearborn, Sessions' longtime chief of staff in the Senate.

"The mastermind behind Trump's incendiary brand of populism is chief strategist Stephen K. Bannon, who promoted Sessions for years as chairman of the Breitbart website," the pair wrote.

And Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner, "forged a bond" with the Alabama senator while orchestrating Trump's trip last summer to Mexico City.

In an email, Bannon told the Post, Sessions is "the clearinghouse for policy and philosophy" in Trump's administration, writing:

"In America and Europe, working people are reasserting their right to control their own destinies. Jeff Sessions has been at the forefront of this movement for years, developing populist nation-state policies that are supported by the vast and overwhelming majority of Americans, but are poorly understood by cosmopolitan elites in the media that live in a handful of our larger cities."

Newt Gingrich, a former House speaker and informal Trump adviser, told the Post that Sessions "is the person who is comfortable being an outsider to the establishment but able to explain the establishment to Trump."

"There is this New York-Los Angeles bias that if you sound like Alabama, you can't be all that bright, but that's totally wrong, and Trump recognized how genuinely smart Sessions is," he said.

But more mainstream Republicans have been alarmed by Sessions' ascent, according to the Post.

John Weaver, a GOP strategist who was a consultant on Sessions' first Senate campaign and is now a Trump critic, said Sessions is at the pinnacle of power because he shares Trump's "1940s view of fortress America."

In an email to The Washington Post, the president described Sessions as "a truly fine person."

"Jeff was one of my earliest supporters and the fact that he is so highly respected by everyone in both Washington, D.C., and around the country was a tremendous asset to me throughout the campaign," Trump wrote.

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Attorney General nominee Jeff Sessions, one of President Donald Trump's earliest supporters, has become "the intellectual godfather" of the president's policies, The Washington Post reported.
Jeff Sessions, administration, influence, godfather
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2017-16-30
Monday, 30 Jan 2017 06:16 PM
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