|84th Attorney General of the United States|
From: February 9, 2017 –
|Successor||Incumbent (no successor)|
|U.S. Senator from Alabama|
From: January 7, 1997 – February 8, 2017
|Predecessor||Howell T. Heflin|
|Spouse(s)||Mary Blackshear Sessions|
Jefferson Beauregard "Jeff" Sessions III (born December 24, 1946) is the 84th United States Attorney General, serving under Republican President Donald Trump. Previously, he served under a variety of government positions, most notably as the junior United States Senator from Alabama from 1997 to 2017.
Sessions is a strongly conservative member of the Republican Party. As a United States senator, Sessions focused his energies on opposing illegal immigration, protecting American workers against harmful "free trade" agreements, maintaining a strong military, upholding the rule of law, limiting the role of government, and providing tax relief to stimulate economic growth and empower Americans to keep more of their hard-earned money. As Attorney General, he advanced conservative law enforcement policies (see "United States Attorney General" section below).
Early life and career
Sessions was born on December 24, 1946, in Selma, Alabama, and was raised in Hybart, Alabama. He graduated from Huntingdon College in Montgomery in 1969 and received a Juris Doctorate degree from the University of Alabama in 1973. In the same year, 1973, Sessions was admitted to the Alabama Bar, and he practiced law in Russellville from 1973 to 1975. He also served in the U.S. Army Reserves from 1973 to 1986 and reached the rank of Captain.
Early political career
Sessions served as an Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of Alabama from 1975 to 1977. In 1981, President Ronald Reagan nominated him and the U.S. Senate confirmed him to serve as the United States Attorney for Alabama's Southern District, a position he held until 1993. In 1986, Sessions was nominated for a federal judgeship by Reagan. However, the nomination was killed by Senate Democrats. Sessions was elected Alabama Attorney General in 1994 and served until 1996.
In 1996, Sessions won the Republican primary for U.S. Senate, after a runoff, and then defeated Democrat Roger Bedford, 52%–46% in the November general election. Sessions served in the Senate from 1997 until 2017. He served as the ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee. He was known for his role in defeating the "Gang of Eight" illegal immigrant amnesty bill in 2013. In his last election, in 2014, Sessions was unopposed in both the primary and general elections.
Sessions frequently stood alone, at least essentially, in the Senate due to his very conservative positions.
Support for Donald Trump
Sessions became the first sitting U.S. Senator to endorse Donald Trump for U.S. President. He strongly supported Trump due to their policy agreements. It was reported that Steve Bannon convinced Sessions to endorse Trump, and he knew he was making a big risk in doing so.
United States Attorney General
After winning the 2016 election, President Trump nominated, and the U.S. Senate subsequently confirmed, Sessions as United States Attorney General. He set out to enact the conservative policies he fought for – and was isolated because of – in the Senate. As Attorney General, Sessions enacted conservative policies and reformed the Justice Department from what it had been under Eric Holder and Loretta Lynch. He stayed strong, even when President Trump himself publically attacked him, and he had broad support among conservatives. However, Sessions refused to investigate or charge Hillary Clinton or Lois Lerner for serious allegations of misconduct.
Sessions set into motion the chain of events which led to the appointment of special counsel Robert Mueller to investigate Russian collusion. By recusing himself in March 2017, the issue was ceded to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, an establishmentarian who caved immediately to pressure from the Democrats. His role in fomenting the unnecessary investigation and undermining the first year of Trump's presidency led to strong criticism from the President. Additionally, Sessions deeply disappointed conservatives with his reluctance to investigate figures such as Hillary Clinton and Lois Lerner, despite the clear reasons for investigating. Some conservatives called on Sessions to quit because of these actions (or lack of action).
For more information on Sessions's tenure at the DOJ, see:
- Donald Trump achievements: Criminal justice, law enforcement, and other DOJ matters
- Donald Trump achievements: Immigration, illegal immigration, and border security
Sessions was ranked by the National Journal as the fifth-most conservative United States Senator in their March 2007 conservative/liberal rankings. He backs conservative Republican stances on foreign affairs, taxes, and social policy. In 2006 he was a vocal critic of the John McCain-Ted Kennedy Immigration reform bill. Sessions voted against the $700 billion Wall Street bailout and against the $787 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Jeff Sessions is also an opponent of the mainstream media attacks on arbitration. His arbitration bills, introduced in Congress in 2000, 2002, 2007, and 2011, would ensure due process safeguards in arbitration. This sensible, conservative, approach to arbitration contrasts against the liberal Arbitration Fairness Act, which would prohibit the enforcement of predispute arbitration agreements in broad areas of commerce.
Accusations of "racism" from liberals
Liberals have accused Sessions of somehow being a "racist" throughout his career. Sessions has been criticized for reportedly calling the NAACP and ACLU "un-American" and saying the KKK was good "until they smoked marijuana". But the truth is that Jeff Sessions has fought for civil rights during his career as Attorney general and later senator of Alabama. Sessions pushed to desegregate public schools in Birmingham and prosecuted and then gave the death penalty to a KKK member who slit the throat of a black man.
"Omnibus explains why ‘Voters are in open rebellion’" (December 16, 2015). Nine-minute condensation of speech before U.S. Senate on the December 2015 2,000 page 'omnibus' year-end funding bill. Received 225,000 views on YouTube as of March 2016.
"Senator Jeff Sessions endorses Donald Trump at Madison, Alabama rally" (February 28, 2016). Five-minute speech endorsing 2016 Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump. Received 89,000 views on YouTube as of March 2016.
- SESSIONS, Jefferson Beauregard, III (Jeff). Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved July 25, 2017.
- Attorney General Jeff Sessions: What to know. Fox News. July 25, 2017. Retrieved July 25, 2017.
- Stinson, Jim (July 25, 2014). Jeff Sessions makes history by being unopposed for U.S. Senate, and re-election campaign is in no hurry. AL.com. Retrieved July 25, 2017.
- State of Alabama – Canvass of Results General Election, November 4, 2014. Secretary of State of Alabama. Retrieved July 25, 2017.
- Gurman, Sadie (July 30, 2017). For Sessions, being attorney general is chance to make mark. Fox News. Retrieved August 1, 2017.
- Ferris, Sarah (February 28, 2016). Trump gets first Senate endorsement. The Hill. Retrieved July 25, 2017.
- Boyle, Matthew (July 25, 2017). Jeff Sessions: A Man Who Embodies the Movement That Elected Donald Trump President. Breitbart News. Retrieved July 25, 2017.
- Smith, Allan (July 26, 2017). Bannon convinced Jeff Sessions to endorse Trump, and Sessions worried his career in the Republican Party might end because of it. Business Insider. Retrieved July 26, 2017.
- Shaw, Adam (July 26, 2017). Jeff Sessions Stands Firm, Gains Broad Support as Trump Ramps Up Attacks. Breitbart News. Retrieved July 26, 2017.
- Chakraborty, Barnini (November 3, 2017). Trump slams Sessions, DOJ for not going after Clinton, DNC. Fox News. Retrieved November 3, 2017.
- Munro, Neil (September 8, 2017). Jeff Sessions’ DoJ Will Not Investigate IRS Suppression of Tea Party Groups. Breitbart News. Retrieved October 28, 2017.
- Multiple references:
- 2 GOP lawmakers want Sessions to quit, say he's lost control. Fox News (from the Associated Press). January 4, 2018. Retrieved January 4, 2018.
- Starr, Penny (January 5, 2018). House Freedom Caucus Conservatives: AG Sessions Has Lost Command, Should Step Down. Breitbart News. Retrieved January 5, 2018.
- King, Steve (January 5, 2018). Rep. Steve King: Attorney General Jeff Sessions is the right man, in the right place, at the right time. Washington Examiner. Retrieved January 5, 2018.
- Mason, Ian (January 5, 2017). Rep. Steve King Rushes to Jeff Sessions’s Defense. Breitbart News. Retrieved January 7, 2018.
- Binder, John (September 5, 2017). 27 Times Jeff Sessions Fought for Americans Against DACA, Amnesty and Open Borders. Breitbart News. Retrieved September 5, 2017.
- "Sessions: Omnibus Explains Why ‘Voters Are In Open Rebellion’" (December 16, 2015). YouTube video, 9:11, posted by SenatorSessions.
- "Donald Trump Endorsed by Senator Jeff Sessions in Madison, AL (2-28-16)" (February 28, 2016). YouTube video, 5:11, posted by Right Side Broadcasting.