Sen. Cruz at Sessions Confirmation Hearing: 'I Have Every Confidence You Are Going to Make a Superb Attorney General'
Discusses lawlessness of Obama DOJ and the promise of reform under AG Designee Sessions
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) questioned Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) during Sessions’ confirmation hearing today to be United States Attorney General. Sen. Cruz congratulated Sen. Sessions on his nomination, praised his integrity as a senator and law enforcement official, and commended his commitment to upholding the rule of law.
Sen. Cruz highlighted the history of the lawless and highly politicized Department of Justice during the administration of President Barack Obama and inquired of Sen. Sessions whether it would be appropriate for him to continue with a politicized agenda now that the White House will be in Republican hands. Below is a rush transcript of an excerpt of their exchange.
CRUZ: “Senator Sessions, congratulations on your nomination. You are a friend. You are a man of integrity. You and I have worked closely together on this committee, on the Armed Services Committee. And I have every confidence you are going to make a superb attorney general. This has been an interesting day at this hearing, listening to Democratic senator after Democratic senator give speeches and praise the rule of law. And I am heartened by that. I am encouraged by that because for eight years it's been absent. For eight years we have seen a Department of Justice consistently disregarding the rule of law. When Eric Holder's Department of Justice allowed illegal gun transactions, illegally sold guns to Mexican gun traffickers as part of Fast and Furious, guns that were later used to murder border patrol agent Brian Terry, the Democratic members of this committee were silent. When Eric Holder was found in contempt of Congress for refusing to cooperate with Congress' investigation into Fast and Furious, once again, the Democratic members of this committee were silent. When the IRS illegally targeted United States citizens for exercising their First Amendment views, for exercising their roles in the political process, Democratic members of this committee were silent. When the Department of Justice refused to fairly investigate the IRS targeting citizens and indeed assigned the investigation to a liberal partisan Democrat who had given over $6,000 to President Obama and Democrats, Democrats on this committee were silent.
“When numerous members of this committee called on the attorney general to appoint a special prosecutor to ensure that justice was done in the IRS case, Democrats on this committee were silent. When the Department of Justice used Operation Choke Point to target legal businesses because they disagreed politically with those businesses, the Democrats on this committee were silent. When the Obama Justice Department sent millions of dollars of taxpayer money to sanctuary cities that were defying federal immigration law, the Democrats on this committee were silent. When the Obama administration refused to enforce federal immigration laws and unilaterally rewrote those laws, the Democrats on this committee were silent. When the Obama administration released tens of thousands of criminal illegal aliens, including rapists and murderers into the general population, Democrats on this committee were silent. When the Department of Justice signed off on the Obama administration paying a nearly $2 billion ransom to Iran contrary to federal law, the Democrats on this committee were silent.
“When the Obama administration ignored and rewrote provision after provision of Obamacare, contrary to the text of the law, the Democrats on this committee were silent. When the Obama administration signed off on illegal recess appointments that the Supreme Court had to strike down unanimously, the Democrats on this committee were silent. And when the Obama administration released five Guantanamo terrorists without the prior notification of Congress, the Democrats on this committee were silent.
“That pattern has been dismaying for eight years. But I take today as a moment of celebration. If once again this committee has a bipartisan commitment to rule of law, to following the law, that is a wonderful thing and it is consistent with the tradition of this committee going back centuries. Now, if we were to play a game of tit-for-tat, if what was good for the goose were good for the gander, then a Republican attorney general should be equally partisan, should disregard the law, should advance political preferences favored by the Republican party. Senator Sessions, do you believe that would be appropriate for an attorney general to do?’
SESSIONS: “No, I do not. I believe -- and I think we do have to be aware that when something like this is done, and some of the things I'm familiar with enough to agree with you, that I thought were improper, I do believe it has a corrosive effect on public confidence and the constitutional republic of which we are sworn to uphold.”
CRUZ: “I think you are exactly right. You and I are both alumni of the Department of Justice. And it has a long bipartisan tradition of staying outside of partisan politics. Of simply and fairly enforcing the law. I will say right now if I believed that you would implement policies, even policies I agreed with contrary to law, I would vote against your confirmation. And the reason I am so enthusiastically supporting your confirmation is I have every degree of confidence you will follow the law faithfully and honestly and that is the first and most important obligation of the attorney general.”
Sen. Cruz’s full line of questioning may be viewed here.