With all the sterile formality we’ve come to expect from a gathering in the U.S. Capitol building, the Senate confirmation hearings for Senator Jeff Sessions (nominated by Donald Trump for Attorney General) began on Tuesday.
And it didn’t take long for the harmony of the occasion to be shattered by protestors shouting undiscernible things (at least to TV viewers) from the gallery before they were forcibly removed by the police.
Such was the atmosphere on day one of Sessions’ run before the Senate gauntlet which began with brief but glowing introductions from fellow Republican senators Richard Shelby and Susan Collins and then moved to an opening statement from Sessions himself and proceeded from there to question and answer segments from each of the senators on the Judiciary Committee.
Seung Min Kim and Josh Gerstein of Politico report, “Deviating from his prepared remarks, Sessions addressed the allegations that sank his bid for the federal judiciary in 1986 — accusations that ran the gamut from making racially improper comments to not protecting voting accessibility for black voters in a high profile voter fraud case. He was also accused of being sympathetic to the Ku Klux Klan.
“’These are damnably false charges,’ Sessions told the Judiciary Committee on Tuesday. ‘The voter fraud case my office prosecuted was in response to pleas from African-American, incumbent elected officials.’”
Sessions’ family was sitting behind him for the morning portion of the meeting. They looked disturbed and upset with the protestors’ frequent eruptions, very human reactions to the left’s unfeeling and callous attempts to smear the reputation of a good man.
In the course of his questioning Sessions didn’t say anything that was particularly shocking – at least to people who are familiar with him – but Democrats appeared to be getting frustrated when the Alabama senator wouldn’t play along with their efforts to label him as a racist, bigot, homophobe, etc…
When it came to be his turn to speak, Illinois Democrat Sen. Dick Durbin seemed particularly perturbed that Sessions refused to engage in a policy debate with him over immigration. When asked to elaborate on what he would do about the 800,000 (where did they get this number?) underage illegal aliens currently untouchable under Obama’s unconstitutional executive orders, Sessions merely replied that he hoped Congress would resolve the issue and he would then follow the law in dealing humanely with those effected.
Durbin grew agitated as he pointed out that Sessions was one of the leading opponents of the “comprehensive” immigration amnesty bill in 2013. I felt like cheering right then.
While many of the Democrats were content to dig for dirt, most of the Republican senators went out of their way to praise Sessions as a man of integrity and great principle. Their ten minute blocs of time were long on personal statements and relatively short on questions and answers. Fair enough. There’s really only so many times a man like Sessions needs to say “I’m not a racist” and “I will follow the law.”
Overall, the hearing moved along fairly steadily without any fireworks, but Sessions jarred everyone awake when he said he would recuse himself from any matters under his authority that have to do with the Clintons and their various scandal investigations. Reasoning that his many political statements on the issue would give the impression of bias, Sessions announced he wouldn’t be part of any possible prosecutions.
Lastly – at least for Tuesday – Sessions said he would not be in favor of banning Muslim immigration by the group but did indicate his willingness to consider the part of the world potential asylum seekers are from in evaluating their application status.
On the whole, Sessions came off very well on Tuesday, unflappable and steady, dedicated to his duties and offering a reverence for America’s laws and law enforcement officers. I’m not sure he convinced any wavering Democrats to support him but he should have more than enough votes to be confirmed in any case.
Contrary to claims, Trump has surrounded himself with plenty of people who will tell him “no”
Just as Senator Sessions was receiving his verbal undressing by the Democrats on the Judiciary Committee intent on making him appear to be something he’s not, some of Donald Trump’s detractors were busy trying to undermine his presidency in other ways.
Those in the #NeverTrump contingent have been walking a fine line ever since the election. The most verbose of the type have humbly admitted they were wrong in assessing Trump’s chances of winning the election but they still insist they were right about the man himself.
As a result, they’ve vowed to continue to watch Trump closely and critique him when called upon -- as if their observations at present would be any more insightful and accurate than they were just a short time ago.
#NeverTrumper Steve Berman was one of Trump’s harshest critics during the campaign and now that Inauguration Day is approaching rapidly, doesn’t seem to have gotten over his notion that Trump is a hopeless egomaniac and narcissist who puts himself, his business interests and his family over the wellbeing of the country.
In a post titled “We Do Not Pledge Allegiance To A Man Or His Giant Ego,” Berman wrote at The Resurgent, “Trump is no more presidential a mere 11 days before his inauguration than he was 15 months ago. Nothing has changed; Trump is still fighting everyone that merely looks sideways at him, or brings up his past transgressions, which he never seems to move beyond…
“From what I see on Twitter every day, Trump’s acolytes continue to act like a school of moonfish. Not one swims against the group. The slightest criticism of their Dear Leader sets off a paroxysm of denouncement and denigration. The Trump cult would rather nobody be left to hold their god accountable. Do they see how dangerous that is when we’re talking about the President of the United States?”
Berman concludes by arguing Trump’s enormous unrestrained ego will compel him to repeat the same mistakes Obama made in failing to unify the country.
In his post Berman takes particular issue with the proposed elevation of Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner to serve as a top advisor in the new administration, arguing “nepotism” has no place in the White House because it positions family loyalty above the interests of the country.
While a reasonable person would agree “nepotism” is a concern in any position of power, I don’t think it’s a particular problem for Trump as, despite what Berman claims above, the president-elect has already surrounded himself with plenty of people who are willing to put country above loyalty to their boss, friend or father-in-law.
In Jeff Sessions’ testimony yesterday, for example, the very first question he took from Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley was about his willingness to “say no” to the president if he should ever step out of legal bounds.
Sessions answered the query simply, replying he would assist the president where possible and will resist actions that are contrary to the Constitution whenever they arise. Sessions then responded to several of Senator Dianne Feinstein’s questions on abortion and same-sex marriage by stating “I will follow the law.”
In Trump’s administration the law will be supreme. Could the same be said for Obama’s? Or Bill Clinton’s?
Further, as reported by Byron York of the Washington Examiner the other day, Sessions has already addressed the “loyalty” question. “Sessions has worked for, or with, or overseen the Justice Department for 40 years. He has watched a number of attorneys general do their job. Recalls one associate: ‘What he used to tell me, when we looked at a Janet Reno or an Alberto Gonzales, was, 'If you want to be Attorney General of the United States, you need to have the backbone to walk into the Oval Office, pound your fist on the desk and say, 'Mr. President, you can't do that,' if what he proposes to do is against the law. And if you don't have that backbone, you don't need to be Attorney General of the United States.'”
There’s no evidence Sessions has changed his philosophy on this subject nor is there basis to believe Trump’s other close advisors, Stephen Bannon and Kellyanne Conway, are simply “yes” people who bury their principles out of blind loyalty to the man they work for. In fact, Conway also addressed this issue in a piece by Lorena Zito of the Washington Examiner on Monday.
Zito wrote, “Great leaders, she (Conway) says, always have someone in the room who can tell them ‘no,’ and Conway says she does that, although others believe she sugarcoats things.
“’It is actually the opposite. I think, because of our relationship and how much I respect him, that allows me to deliver a crisp message when I feel like it is in his best interest. You can do that respectfully, as long as it is accurate, smart and relevant’” Conway said.
Contrary to what Berman and Trump’s harshest critics are claiming, Trump has actually filled his administration with individuals who will be given a great deal of autonomy to accomplish great things – and that may include son-in-law Kushner in an advisory capacity. These people are still subject to the same oversight and accountability and disclosure that any public servants would be required to provide.
And that includes Trump himself. But I also have little doubt Trump will fire his advisors or cabinet members quickly if they openly defy his wishes as president or do something to undermine the integrity of the office.
To do otherwise would be failing to do his job.
Protestors plotting to disrupt Trump’s inauguration should be ignored
Anyone who followed the 2016 Republican primaries and then the general election campaign knows protestors were present just about everywhere the candidates went, interrupting speeches, picketing events and organizing to cause as much trouble as they could possibly get away with, all in the attempt to influence the narrative presented by the press.
Of course after the election we all know what happened; college campuses erupted with spoiled privileged children screaming about the unfairness of the outcome. Near riots broke out in Democrat controlled cities with people shouting things like “not my president” and other unmentionable utterances.
For a politician, protestors come along with the job like ticks in long grass in summer, the only difference being there’s no such thing as “repellant” for this particularly kind of human pest.
So it shouldn’t come as any great surprise that protestors are gearing up to disrupt next week’s inauguration too.
Ryan Lovelace of the Washington Examiner reports, “Anarchists who believe ‘the peaceful transition of power is a threat to all of us’ are planning to lead thousands of protesters to Washington next week to ruin Donald Trump's inauguration.
“The group, called #DisruptJ20, is planning protests in cities nationwide on Jan. 20, but the protests in Washington would receive the most attention if the protesters' plans succeed. Organizer Legba Carrefour told the Washington Examiner the protesters' preparations began in June and are culminating in what they call ‘Operation Clusterf--k.’ The #DisruptJ20 group is providing housing for 1,000 participants thus far and is working with other groups for its protest.”
Plans include blocking access to downtown Washington DC, forming human barriers at checkpoints and of course, conducting the usual noisy marches. After the formal parade the same groups intend to go to all the inaugural balls and “ruin them.”
Aside from the incredible and obvious stupidity and insanity behind these brainless demonstrations, there has to be money to fund the organizing efforts. As much as we’d like to think they’re fostered by individual groups of losers banding spontaneously together to cause a ruckus, they’re more likely the result of high-level organizations funded by the likes of George Soros committed to undermining the entire country.
Just like with the idiots who repeatedly interrupted Jeff Sessions’ hearing and those who cropped up at different meetings of the Electoral College last month, one wonders what these people really hope to accomplish by making fools of themselves. Certainly the portion of the American citizenry that’s sympathetic to the fringe is small at best – and they’re already ticked off enough as it is.
There will be pro-Trump rallies on January 20 as well. The police are going to have their work cut out for them to keep the groups separate, for I fear the much larger Trump inaugural audience will certainly contain some who will have little patience for this type of disgusting public spectacle.
I would suggest attendees treat the anti-Trump derelicts like Senator Sessions did on Tuesday – smile and do your best to ignore them.