“I consider this serious stuff”
Lies and the lying liars who tell them isn’t just the name of a hilarious book by former “SNL” star Al Franken, it’s also a succinct way to summarize how Sen. Al Franken quickly tore apart the inflated civil rights record of fellow Sen. Jeff Sessions, President-elect Donald Trump’s pick to become our country’s next Attorney General.
“Our country needs an Attorney General who doesn’t misrepresent or inflate their level of involvement on any given issue,” Franken said during Tuesday’s hearing.
“I hear you,” Sessions replied.
“I consider this serious stuff, as I know that you would if you were in my position,” Franken said. “Tell me, did you file 20 or 30 desegregation cases, or is it some other number?”
The tense exchange occurred because back in 2009 Sessions gave an interview in which he claimed to have worked on between 20 and 30 school desegregation cases while serving as Alabama’s Attorney General. However, it turns out that number was greatly exaggerated. Even the four cases Sessions listed on a form before his Senate confirmation hearing are now being called into question by several former Justice Department officials who say his involvement literally amounted to nothing more than putting his name on a piece of paper.
Sessions was so burned by the rays of transparency, he had no choice but to admit fault.
“The records don't show that there were 20 or 30 actually filed cases,” he acknowledged. However, Sessions wouldn’t budge on the four cases he did list in his Senate confirmation form. That flies in the face of an op-ed in The Washington Post by former Department of Justice officials who wrote:
“We worked in the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, which brought those lawsuits; we handled three of the four ourselves. We can state categorically that Sessions had no substantive involvement in any of them. He did what any U.S. attorney would have had to do: He signed his name on the complaint, and we added his name on any motions or briefs. That’s it.”
All of that is of special importance because Sessions also has a very questionable record on civil rights, even calling the NAACP and the ACLU “un-American” and “Communist-inspired,” who tried to “force” civil rights laws "down the throats of people.”