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Conservatives Laud Trump Choice of Jeff Sessions as AG: 'Principled, Forthright'

Conservatives Laud Trump Choice of Jeff Sessions as AG: 'Principled, Forthright'

Sen. Jeff Sessions on the campaign trail with Donald Trump (AP)

By    |   Friday, 18 November 2016 04:31 PM

Conservatives far and wide on Friday praised President-elect Donald Trump's plan to nominate Sen. Jeff Sessions as attorney general, with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell calling the four-term Alabama Republican "principled, forthright, and hardworking."

"He cares deeply about his country and the department he will be nominated to lead," McConnell said. "As a senator, he has worked tirelessly to safeguard the public and to improve the lives of Americans from all walks of life.

"Jeff has always looked out for the safety, security and freedoms of his constituents and the nation."

South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, who lost to Trump in the primaries, said that he has known Sessions for more than two decades.

"He has the experience and ability to serve as Attorney General of the United States," Graham said. "He was an early supporter of Donald Trump in the Senate and he has earned the right to serve President-elect Trump and our nation at the highest level."

In his announcement, Trump praised Sessions as "a world-class legal mind." He is a senior Republican member of the Senate Judiciary Committee and has served as a U.S. attorney and as Alabama's attorney general.

Sessions, however, has not yet accepted the president-elect's decision, a spokesman told Newsmax.

"He was offered the position," the representative said, declining to comment further.

Sessions, 69, was among three top national security picks announced Friday by the president-elect's transition team.

Kansas Rep. Mike Pompeo, 52, who was elected in the tea party wave in 2010, will be nominated to head the CIA. Michael Flynn, 57, former head of the Defense Intelligence Agency, was tapped as Trump's national security adviser.

They all have bitterly attacked President Barack Obama's handling of terrorism and international relations. By naming Sessions and Flynn, Trump is also rewarding loyalty from two of his most ardent supporters during the campaign.

Sessions and Pompeo would require Senate confirmation before assuming their designated roles, whereas Flynn would not.

Regarding the upcoming debate on Sessions, McConnell said that "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."

McConnell was referring to Obama's nomination of Eric Holder in January 2009. He was confirmed the following month on a 75-to-21 vote.

But Holder regularly clashed with Republicans over several scandals, including the botched Fast and Furious gun-running scheme that led to the attorney general being held in contempt in 2012.

Democrats are expected to oppose Sessions over several issues.

In 1986, he withdrew from consideration for a federal judgeship after being accused of making racist comments as a U.S. attorney in Alabama, including calling an African-American assistant U.S. attorney "boy" in conversation.

Sessions denied the accusation.

He also has squared off with Holder and his successor, Loretta Lynch, on whether terrorism suspects deserve American constitutional rights in civilian court and on the planned closure of the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay.

Sessions also has been protective of the attorney general's right to refuse a legally unsound directive from the president — and he continues to maintain a longstanding hardline position against illegal immigration.

Former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay said Friday that if Democrats try to block Sessions during confirmation "they'll suffer the consequences" with American voters.

"When people see Jeff Sessions in hearings on a national stage, they'll see the real man," he told Brooke Baldwin on CNN. "If the Democrats want to continue to dig the hole that they're in, let them do this.

"The American people will reject them and reject their whole premise that any time you criticize anybody you're a racist."

In New York, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee told reporters in the lobby of Trump Tower that he responded to Sessions' appointment with "a standing ovation."

Huckabee, another former 2016 presidential candidate, met briefly with the president-elect. He is rumored to be under consideration for Commerce Secretary.

"Jeff Sessions is one of the stalwart conservatives in the Senate," Huckabee said. "He's also been a loyal, faithful ally to Donald Trump throughout this entire campaign.

"I've always considered him one of my favorite senators. I think that was a great choice. I was thrilled."

Utah Sen. Mike Lee said that the Alabama senator's "solid understanding of the Constitution and firm commitment to the rule of law is exactly what the Justice Department needs.

"I have worked closely with Sen. Sessions on the Judiciary Committee over these past six years — and I have every confidence that he will make a great attorney general for all Americans."

Timothy Head, executive director of the Faith & Freedom Coalition, said that with Sessions as attorney general, "American citizens will be safer, the Constitution will be better protected, and law enforcement will have a champion leading the Department of Justice."

Jay Sekulow, chief counsel of the American Center for Law and Justice welcomed Trump's three selections as "excellent leaders."

They will "help set the tone for a Trump administration that is serious about upholding the Constitution and the rule of law while elevating our intelligence capabilities at a time when our country is facing grave danger from terrorists," he said.

Regarding Sessions, Sekulow said that he will "bring stability and credibility back to a troubled Justice Department under the Obama administration.

"Sen. Sessions has the knowledge, leadership, and capability to restore the institutional credibility at the Justice Department."

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Conservatives far and wide on Friday praised President-elect Donald Trump's plan to nominate Sen. Jeff Sessions as attorney general, with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell calling the four-term Alabama Republican "principled, forthright, and hardworking."
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Friday, 18 November 2016 04:31 PM
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