On June 13, millions of people turned on their TVs and their livestreams on Facebook to watch Attorney General Jeff Sessions testify regarding his knowledge of the 2016 Russian hackings and the firing of FBI Director James Comey in front of the Senate Intelligence Committee. Initially, the hearing was supposed to be private and only between the committee and the Attorney General, but it was later revealed that Sessions wanted to have the hearing before the public because it was “important for the American people to hear the truth directly from him.”
Fortunately or unfortunately, the hearing actually portrayed Sessions in an even more problematic manner than before, not because he said something scintillating but because he didn’t say much of anything. For any questions regarding conversations with President Trump, Sessions declined to discuss anything under an unspecified policy of “protecting” Trump’s right to assert executive privilege. Sessions either did not recall or flat-out denied any meetings with Russian officials at the Mayflower Hotel during campaign events, and aggressively denied any nefarious background to his failure to initially disclose meetings with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak. Several members of the committee tried asking him the same question in different ways, but Sessions always gave the same answer, which proved from frustrating to infuriating for committee members.
Many senators felt that the Attorney General was digging a bigger hole for himself rather than just giving a straightforward answer to a simple question: was he or was he not involved in or aware of Russian meddling in the election? It appeared to many that Sessions was merely filling the time and unwilling to tell the committee about all he knew regarding President Trump and his campaign’s dealings with Russia.
Outside of this investigation, Sessions has been accused of several stances that are not considered morally correct, such as allegations of racism going back to the late 1980s, and supporting President Trump’s travel ban preventing citizens of six Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States. In fact, in his recent testimony he claimed that President Trump’s executive order of the banning of Muslims in six Muslim countries was “well within his lawful authority” — despite the ban currently being blockaded by two legal circuits and heard by the Supreme Court — and that nothing seemed to be wrong with how he was handling potential threats of terrorism in the United States.
Let it be known that no other president since the 1950s has taken matters of national security to this level of extremism. Many believe that it is illegal and immoral to prevent tens of thousands of innocent people from entering the country, whether they aim to pursue the American Dream or simply visit. Attorney General Sessions does not think that the President has crossed the lines of his executive privilege, a stance which may prove to pit him against the highest court in the nation.
These are definitely interesting times we are currently living in. Increasingly, political culture has morphed to become popular culture as well, and sub-groups of people have been unapologetically cruel or just downright hateful against others for trivial matters such as the color of their skin or the creeds they ascribe to. Jeff Sessions is one of those unapologetic people, and not because he is an alleged racist or potentially corrupt in the eyes of millions of Americans, but because he has the audacity to sit in front of the Senate, comprised of some of the highest-ranking lawmakers in our country, and assert an executive privilege of silence that he has no authority to unilaterally yield; silence, as well as convenient forgetfulness and conflicts with Comey’s testimony, which lends itself to public confusion at best and increased suspicion and mistrust at worst. The man’s sole duty is to be the representative of the law of the United States, and if what he is representing is withholding information, internal legal conflicts and allegedly compromising an election, then does that really inspire confidence?