His shameful career

A former federal prosecutor tells us what it’s like to watch Jeff Sessions be the Attorney General.

I guess I tried to put out of my mind that Jeff Sessions, the hand-picked Trump-appointed attorney general, lost his nomination for a federal judgeship in the 1980s because of racist remarks he’d made while working at the Alabama U.S. attorney’s office. And, it’s only recently that I learned of Sessions’ claim that the American Civil Liberties Union and the NAACP are “un-American,” and that he voted as a senator against hate crime bills, the Violence Against Women Act, and Loretta Lynch as attorney general because President Barack Obama’s nominees had “ACLU DNA.”

Against the backdrop of Sessions’ historical shame, I’ve tried to come to terms with the fact that he had contacts with members of the Russian government and then lied about those contacts to Congress during his confirmation hearing.

I’ve tried to put the best spin on that fact that Sessions left President Donald Trump in a room alone with then-FBI Director James Comey, likely knowing that Trump was going to try and extract an oath of loyalty from Comey and a promise to drop the investigation of national security adviser Michael Flynn. I tamped down my feelings of anger and injustice when Sessions directed DOJ attorneys to file a series of briefs and internal memos ensuring that raw discrimination is protected and encouraged when it is frosted with a claim of religious freedom.

And when Sessions supported the nomination of anti-civil rights attorney Eric Dreiband to be in charge of DOJ’s civil rights division and Brian Benczkowski, a former attorney for a Russian bank, to run the criminal division at DOJ, I bit my tongue — hard. When Sessions directed federal law enforcement officers to rip children from their parents, who were seeking legal asylum in this country, I did what I needed to do to hold back the tears.

Each of these daggers to the heart of DOJ made me question if the DOJ I knew and dedicated my professional career to still existed in some semblance of what I knew it to be. Then, a story hit the internet recently that the attorney general of the United States, while at a rally of right-wing high school students, chimed in with chants from students who were screaming “Lock her up.” And, according to reports, while repeating the mob-inspired anti-Clinton creed, Sessions laughed.

I didn’t believe it so I searched for the video and found it. There was the head of law enforcement in the United States laughing and joining the crazed chants of an angry gang of teenagers calling for Trump’s defeated political opponent to be locked up.

He felt sick, not figuratively but literally.

Don’t we all.

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