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Senate Confirms Jeff Sessions as Attorney General

Variety logo Variety 2/9/2017 Ted Johnson
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Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Alabama) was confirmed as President Trump’s attorney general on Wednesday following a bruising, protracted confirmation process.

The Senate voted 52-47 to confirm, with Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W. Va.) breaking with Democrats to confirm him.

The battle over Sessions’ nomination intensified on Tuesday night, when Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) was rebuked and cut off from speaking further by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). Warren had been speaking out against his nomination on the Senate floor, determined to read a 1986 letter from Coretta Scott King that opposed Sessions in his nomination for a district court judgeship back then.

McConnell invoked a Senate rule that prohibit members from impugning the integrity of a fellow senator, but Warren and other Democrats have spent the better part of the day using the incident as a rallying cry against Sessions’ nomination.

His confirmation is not a surprise — no Republican had publicly come out against him, giving him a clear shot at commanding a majority. But it is likely that he will face additional scrutiny and criticism as he takes over the Justice Department, particularly when it comes to issues like civil rights and voting rights.

He is also expected to move quickly to name a chief of antitrust enforcement, a choice that could prove pivotal to the fortunes of AT&T’s planned merger with Time Warner.

“I have no hesitation to enforce antitrust law,” Sessions said at his confirmation hearing.

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