US Senate confirms Jeff Sessions as attorney general
The US Senate confirmed Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama as the new attorney general, the media reported on Thursday.
Sessions — one of Trump’s closest advisers and his earliest supporter in the Senate — was confirmed after there were 52 votes in favour and 47, CNN reported.
The swearing-in of Sessions will take place on Thursday morning at the White House.
“It was a special night,” Sessions told the media on Capitol Hill after his confirmation.
“I appreciate the friendship from my colleagues — even those who, many of them who didn’t feel able to vote for me. They were cordial, and so we continue to have good relations and will continue to do the best I can.”
Shortly before the vote, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell took to the Senate floor to sing the praises of Sessions, after Democrats spent hours criticising him, CNN said.
“He’s just a likable guy, one of the most humble and most considerate people you’ll ever meet,” McConnell said. “He’s a true Southern gentleman”.
The Alabama senator passed the vote in the Judiciary Committee last week, the most complex stumbling block, and he only needed a simple majority on the Wednesday vote.
Given his extreme views on immigration and women’s issues, the senator’s difficult road to confirmation became even more controversial after US President Donald Trump removed acting attorney general Sally Yates from office on January 31 for insubordination when she said she would not defend the executive order to temporarily ban the entry of citizens from seven Muslim-majority countries, Efe news agency reported.
The Democrats praised Yates’ decision and accused Sessions of helping Trump to draft the order, a claim that Judiciary Committee chairman Republican Chuck Grassley denied.
It took more than a week for Sessions to finally succeed in having his position put to the vote, as the Democrats, who are fiercely opposed to his appointment, extended the debate time allocated to these cases in the Senate.