Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer opposes the nomination of his colleague Jeff Sessions for attorney general, saying Thursday morning in a statement that he's not confident the Alabama Republican will be able to check President-elect Donald Trump's administration.
Sessions was an early supporter of Trump's, and was tapped to be the nation's chief law enforcement officer after Trump won election. He answered questions at a Senate committee hearing Tuesday, and supporters and opponents, including another senator, testified about his nomination Wednesday.
"After reviewing his record and giving careful consideration to his answers during the hearing, I am not confident in Senator Sessions' ability to be a defender of the rights of all Americans, or to serve as an independent check on the incoming administration," Schumer said. "I am also deeply concerned by his views on immigration, which I saw firsthand during the push for comprehensive immigration reform."
It's the highest-profile opposition to Sessions' nomination so far, though the New Yorker didn't call for other Democrats to oppose Sessions as well. Republicans control the Senate by a narrow margin, and Sessions will likely have enough support to be approved.
On Wednesday, New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker took the unprecedented step of testifying against the nomination of a colleague for a Cabinet post, saying Sessions would not help the country heal or aim to protect the marginalized. Senators usually
At his hearing Tuesday, Sessions promised that as attorney general, he would crack down on illegal immigration, gun violence and "radical Islamic terrorism." He said he opposes barring Muslims from entering the United States, a Trump campaign proposal from which the Republican later backed away.
He also promised to recuse himself from any investigation into former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, citing comments he'd made during the campaign. The FBI concluded last year that Clinton should not face criminal charges for using a private email system while serving as secretary of state.