Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) had many “anxieties” and “fears” about Sen. Jeff Sessions’ (R-AL) nomination to attorney general, she said in her opening statement during his confirmation hearing on Tuesday. Can he effectively “dispatch himself from President-elect Donald Trump and his record,” she wondered. In particular, Feinstein insisted that Sessions’ job does not include the prosecution of former secretary of state Hillary Clinton, who we all know abused her email use and put national security at risk. During the 2016 presidential campaign, Trump suggested that he was going to hire a special prosecutor to “look into her situation.”
“An attorney general does not prosecute at direction of the president,” Feinstein said. Nor, she said, does he or she wear two hats – one as the president’s lawyer and one as the people’s lawyer.
“The attorney general must put aside loyalty to the president,” she said. The law and Constitution, she emphasized, must come first and foremost.
She hopes Sessions is up for this “awesome responsibility.”
Feinstein had a few other concerns. She claimed there’s much “fear” in the African-American community regarding Sessions’ attorney general nomination.
Not according to these gentlemen, who pointed out Sessions' history of standing up for civil rights.
Feinstein also worries that Sessions would, under the direction of Trump, reintroduce enhanced interrogation techniques.
To paraphrase, Feinstein doubts Sessions has a mind of his own.
Later in the hearing, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) asked Sessions if he'd be able to say "no" to President Trump.
"I will do so," the cabinet nominee responded.
This post has been updated.