During the confirmation hearings for Donald Trump’s attorney general, Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) caught Sessions in a major lie.
Franken’s questioned concerned a questionnaire in which Sessions was asked to name the “most significant litigated matters which you personally handled.” Sessions listed four voting rights and desegregation cases.
However, the three attorneys who actually worked on those cases told the Washington Post that Sessions had very little involvement in those cases.
‘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.’
When specifically asked about the claims made by those lawyers, Sessions admitted that he did not know them, but affirmed that he supported the legal action they took.
‘I signed the complaints that he brought; and as you know, may know, Senator Franken, when a lawyer signs a complaint, he’s required to affirm that he believes in that complaint, and supports that complaint, and supports that legal action, which I did. We sued.’
Sessions did acknowledge that he had never met the attorneys who worked on the cases he cited, but said his role was to provide them advice and counsel. ThinkProgress spoke to Joe D. Rich, one of the attorneys who wrote the article of WaPo, and he said that Sessions did not give him any advice on civil rights matters.
‘Now that’s closer to the truth, but also not truth. He never provided any advice or guidance to me. His name wasn’t even on the brief that I filed in 1985, the brief that was related to the decision he was claiming credit for in 1986.’
Sen. Ted Cruz(R-T.X.) defended Sessions and said he had been completely honest with the Senate. However, Rich disputed those claims. He said that Sessions was trying to make people believe that he was a firm supporter of civil rights when that simply was not the case. Rich acknowledged that Sessions did not oppose them, but he didn’t help either.
‘It seems like, if you’re nominated to be a cabinet member, particularly the Attorney General, you ought to be telling the true story,” Rich said. “That’s why we wrote the op-ed — this was not a true statement. I think he’s trying to paint a picture that he was a vigorous enforcer of the civil rights laws by saying this, and that’s not true. At the same time, he didn’t try to interfere, he didn’t try to stop us. But that he’s trying to claim something he didn’t do is a problem in my eyes.’
For more information, you can see the full exchange between Franken and Sessions below:
Featured image via Getty Images.