(National Sentinel) Butt Out: Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley of Iowa ripped into Attorney General Jeff Sessions, his former Senate Republican colleague, over the latter’s opposition to a bipartisan criminal justice reform bill.
As reported by Politico:
The legislation, which Grassley has worked on for more than two years, is expected to win committee approval Thursday. But it faces a tough climb to the Senate floor amid reluctance from GOP leaders and conservative resistance. Sessions, who opposed the reform effort during his time on the Judiciary panel, piled on Wednesday with a letter warning that the bipartisan proposal “risks putting the very worst criminals back into our communities.”
In response, an obvious irritated Grassley said that the letter represented “Senate Sessions talking, not a person whose job it is to execute law, and quite frankly I’m very incensed.”
What his former colleague’s letter “doesn’t recognize here,” Grassley added, “and why I’m incensed about it is, look at how hard it was for me to get him through committee in the United States Senate. And look at, when the president was going to fire him, I went to his defense.”
He also told Politico that “all kinds of” potentially polarizing Justice Department nominees who have proved “very difficult to get through the United States Senate” have also fallen to him to get through as head of the powerful Judiciary Committee.
“If he wanted to do this,” Grassley said regarding Sessions, “he should have done what people suggested to him before: Resign from attorney general and run for the Senate in Alabama again. We’d have a Republican senator.”
Grassley was referring to the unexpected victory of Sen. Doug Jones, D-Ala., who ran for and won Sessions’ old seat by defeating GOP nominee Roy Moore, who was bedeviled with allegations of teenage sexual misconduct.
Politico reported further:
But Grassley hasn’t abandoned the push to win floor time for the legislation, which would ease mandatory minimum sentences for certain nonviolent offenders and end the required life sentence for some repeat drug offenders. Other elements of the proposal would create new mandatory minimum sentences for other categories of offense and bolster punishment for those convicted of trafficking in drugs containing the opioid fentanyl.
Sessions’ critique of the legislation “makes it sound like these guys are going to be out on the streets as soon as the judge makes the decision,” Grassley added. “So he can have his strong position, and I can have my position that brings a little bit of fairness to it.”
Sessions’ time as President Donald J. Trump’s attorney general has been fraught with controversy.
Soon after he was confirmed, Sessions bowed to Democratic pressure to recuse himself from any part of the multiple “Russian collusion” investigations that were taking place within the FBI and Justice Department. His recusal was reported to have upset Trump, who expressed frustration publicly in a series of tweets last summer.
That left Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein in charge of those probes. Soon after Sessions recused himself and Trump fired FBI Director James Comey, Rosenstein appointed Robert Mueller as special counsel.
Republicans have little faith in Mueller’s probe because they believe it is all based on the so-called “Trump dossier,” none of which has been substantiated.
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