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Senate Proceeding on May 9th, 2011 :: 1:30:35 to 1:54:15
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Jeff Sessions

1:30:33 to 1:30:54( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: appointment of mr. cole, who had had a number of opposition statements in the committee and was not looking at smooth sailing, i do believe that we should oppose his confirmation and his permanent appointment.

Jeff Sessions

1:30:35 to 1:54:15( Edit History Discussion )
Speech By: Jeff Sessions

Jeff Sessions

1:30:55 to 1:31:15( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: based on some concerns i have with his record, specifically his criminal justice view on the war on terror, which i believe is utterly wrong and his questionable decisions as an outside consultant for a.i.g.,

Jeff Sessions

1:31:16 to 1:31:36( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: the big insurance company that had to be bailed out to the tune of, i think, $170 billion in its last bailout matter. he was an independent consultant, supposed to be monitoring that company for other errors they had made previously, and so that -- that

Jeff Sessions

1:31:37 to 1:31:58( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: is a concern to me. i served 15 years in the department of justice as a united states attorney for almost 12 and as an assistant united states attorney, i respect the department, i love the department of justice, but i'm getting concerned a and i'm not happy with some of

Jeff Sessions

1:31:59 to 1:32:19( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: the decisions and philosophy that are emanating from the department. i believe they do not reflect the highest standards and qualities that we expect from that great department, and this nominee has a lot of good qualities.

Jeff Sessions

1:32:20 to 1:32:41( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: i believe he has a number of strengths that as management has some experience in the department that i would give him credit for. but at this point in history, i believe that his approach, particularly to the war on terror, along with the attorney general's approach to the war on

Jeff Sessions

1:32:42 to 1:33:03( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: terror, are i have just about had enough of it, and i'm just going to say this. i'm not voting for another nominee, and i'm not going to vote for this one who spent their time defending terrorists. before they go to the department, it's all right to

Jeff Sessions

1:33:04 to 1:33:29( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: defend an unpopular person, but 13-16 members of the department of justice, political appointees by this administration have had as their background defending terrorists, including the solicitor general who is going to be coming up, i guess, in committee this week, and also aclu.

Jeff Sessions

1:33:30 to 1:33:51( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: and so you get this much of a tilt in the leadership of the department, it gives me great concern that the great department i loved and respected is getting off base. so i think it's important to note that we are hearing warnings right now that one of

Jeff Sessions

1:33:52 to 1:34:13( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: the top priorities of the department of justice must be the recent warning we received that the terrorist groups -- quote -- "almost certainly" -- close quote, will try to avenge the death of osama bin laden and the continuing economic crisis that faces our country. i believe that the president

Jeff Sessions

1:34:14 to 1:34:35( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: should be nominating proven prosecutors, prosecutors of terrorists, frankly, for top positions in the law enforcement agency, the united states department of justice. i don't think we need any more terrorist defense attorneys. when i was united states attorney, i hired a lot of united states assistant attorneys.

Jeff Sessions

1:34:36 to 1:34:57( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: i look for proven prosecutors wherever i could find them. i didn't go around and look for people who spent their spare time volunteering to defend terrorists or writing papers defending criminals. that's just the way i see it, frankly. i have to be honest about it. so we have had this one, we have had that one, we have had another and another and another.

Jeff Sessions

1:34:58 to 1:35:19( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: now 13-16 have been appointed to the department of justice who have had this background. defending the unpopular is not disqualifying. we voted and i voted for a number of people in the department who have been involved efforts, who file lawsuits

Jeff Sessions

1:35:20 to 1:35:42( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: against president bush. they really thought they were really doing something great. i guess they didn't turn down the evidence if it helped in any way lead to the location of osama bin laden, but we do have standards about how we should gather evidence and lines should

Jeff Sessions

1:35:43 to 1:36:03( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: not be crossed, but that doesn't mean we're not in a war. it doesn't mean that the people who are attacking us are common criminals that need to be tried in civilian courts. they're at war with us. bin laden said he's at war with us. he declared war on us.

Jeff Sessions

1:36:04 to 1:36:24( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: you don't treat prisoners of war, captured enemy combatants like you treat common criminals. this is fundamental. i served in the army reserve a number of years, some of that time as a j.a.g. officer. i taught prisoners of war, how to treat prisoners, what the standards of the field manual

Jeff Sessions

1:36:25 to 1:36:46( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: are. don't claim to be a great expert at it, but i did it, had some experience in it. mr. cole consistently, some of these nominees to the department take the view that terrorists

Jeff Sessions

1:36:47 to 1:37:08( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: are criminals and not unlawful combatants. let me just say briefly, if you catch a person, a murderer, a rapist or a -- any kind of criminal virtually of any kind, when they're taken into custody,

Jeff Sessions

1:37:09 to 1:37:30( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: as the presiding officer knows who is a good prosecutor himself, they have to be, before you can interview them, once they are in custody, you have to give them miranda warnings. that authorizes, tells them -- basically, it tells them you don't have to make any statements at all. it basically says if you're an

Jeff Sessions

1:37:31 to 1:37:51( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: idiot, you'll make statements. you're entitled to a lawyer. if you don't have any money, they'll appoint you a lawyer. you have to go before a magistrate in a matter of hours. you're entitled to discovery of the government's case in short order and you're entitled to a speedy trial, and you're entitled to prowl around in the government's case and find all

Jeff Sessions

1:37:52 to 1:38:16( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: the evidence that the government has. whereas in war, that's not so. a classic case with ex parte inquirying in world war ii where german saboteurs were dropped off on our coast from a submarine and they were going to sabotage the united states of america.

Jeff Sessions

1:38:17 to 1:38:37( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: they were apprehended, taken to military tribunal, tried and executed in a matter of months, and the case went to the supreme court ex parte querin and was affirmed. there has never been any doubt that unlawful combatants can be tried for their crimes in

Jeff Sessions

1:38:38 to 1:38:58( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: military courts. it's done all over the world. it's an established principle. now, let's get one thing straight. if you're a lawful combatant and you are captured on the battlefield, whether you're a japanese soldier or a german soldier or an italian s

Jeff Sessions

1:38:59 to 1:39:19( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: and you have complied with the laws of war and you wear your uniform and you don't attack deliberately men, women and children, civilians and try to kill them and you comply with other rules of war, you can't be tried, you can just be detained until the war is over, but you don't get lawyers.

Jeff Sessions

1:39:20 to 1:39:40( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: you don't get trials and discovery and all of that sort of thing. but if in conducting your military campaign, you violate the internationally respected laws of war, you cannot only be held as a prisoner of war, but the nation that's holding you can try you for violation of the

Jeff Sessions

1:39:41 to 1:40:02( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: laws of war. so that's how these 9/11 attackers who didn't wear uniforms, who attack deliberately civilians perfectly fit to be tried as war

Jeff Sessions

1:40:03 to 1:40:23( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: criminals, unlawful warriors. at war, nevertheless, they have announced their intention to destroy the united states, to attack the united states. they said they were at war with us, but they have done it in an unlawful way and they can be tried in military commissions. this allows the military to conduct interrogation according

Jeff Sessions

1:40:24 to 1:40:45( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: to the laws of war, and over a period of months even. years even. and sometimes after months a prisoner will start talking. you never know why they start talking. but to deny ourselves the right to allow those kinds of things

Jeff Sessions

1:40:46 to 1:41:06( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: to happen, to say that we have to try these individuals like malid sheikh muhammed in civil court is clearly an error. that's the attorney general's position. he testified about it last week when i questioned him before the

Jeff Sessions

1:41:07 to 1:41:30( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: judiciary committee. he indicated -- he said it still remains the policy of the department of justice that persons who are arrested as terrorists are presumed to be tried as in civilian court. although congress has passed a law prohibiting moneys to be

Jeff Sessions

1:41:31 to 1:41:53( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: expended for that on the 9/11 attackers and the attorney generals in a huff had to say that khalid sheikh muhammed will be tried in guantanamo under military procedures as a -- an unflawfl combatant. but he doesn't like it, that's not his view. it looks like everybody he wants to hire to be in the department

Jeff Sessions

1:41:54 to 1:42:15( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: of justice agrees with that erroneous view. it's not a close question. this is not a close question. there is no reason a terrorist who is apprehended in the united states ought to be provided lawyers and miranda warnings.

Jeff Sessions

1:42:16 to 1:42:37( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: they are combatants. they are not common criminals. and thinking this way has caused dangerous confusion. as our troops and intelligence community continue to work night and day to keep our country safe, it's imperative that we view the war on terror as a real war and not a criminal matter

Jeff Sessions

1:42:38 to 1:42:59( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: and regard those who wish to perpetrate terror on this country as enemy combatants, not plain criminals. like many in the administration, mr. cole disagrees. in 2002, after 9/11, not long, he wrote an op-ed, published it, criticizing then-attorney

Jeff Sessions

1:43:00 to 1:43:24( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: general john ashcroft's decision to try the 9/11 terrorists in military commissions. they researched the law. attorney general ashcroft knew what he was doing. they decided they were going to try these individuals by military commissions. at his hearing -- but he had written an op-ed attacking the

Jeff Sessions

1:43:25 to 1:43:46( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: attorney general for it, so now that's the man we have got to nominate for deputy attorney general of the united states. at his hearing last congress, mr. cole repeated a prevailing and confusing justice department position that decisions regarding whether captive terrorists should be tried in civilian courts or in military

Jeff Sessions

1:43:47 to 1:44:08( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: commissions -- quote -- should be made on a case-by-case basis based on all the relevant facts and circumstances available at a time of a suspect's capture." close quote. is this going to happen in yemen? afghanistan, pakistan, wherever

Jeff Sessions

1:44:09 to 1:44:29( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: else they may be? in the united states? it's not a practical policy, because you have to tell the individuals who are making the apprehension what the rules are. and as the attorney general said, they still adhere to the view that the presumption is that the individual will be

Jeff Sessions

1:44:30 to 1:44:53( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: tried in civilian court. therefore, the presumption is that within a short time of their being taken into custody, they should be given miranda warnings, offered a lawyer and set for a preliminary court appearance, which could reveal to all the other terrorists exactly that their partner in

Jeff Sessions

1:44:54 to 1:45:16( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: war has been captured. and allow them to escape. so it's just a wrong view. and why they persist in this is beyond my understanding. congress understands it. the american people do also. this administration has established a policy that declares there is a presumption

Jeff Sessions

1:45:17 to 1:45:37( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: of civilian trials and -- but has -- and has failed to articulate a clear policy for designating captured terrorists as enemy combatants or criminals. so i'm -- i remain very unconvinced that the next captured terror suspect will not be given the rights of a common

Jeff Sessions

1:45:38 to 1:45:59( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: criminal and told he has the right to remain silent, to the detriment of crucial intelligence gathering. 9/11 commission, in one of their most significant findings, was that intelligence gathering, intelligence possession about what the enemy is doing is "the"

Jeff Sessions

1:46:00 to 1:46:20( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: best way to protect our country, not prosecuting them after the fact. so telling someone they have a right to remain silent and they've got a lawyer that's going to insist that they not make any statements, does that help us gather intelligence? well, if it's required by the u.s. constitution, we will do it.

Jeff Sessions

1:46:21 to 1:46:41( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: we'll just plain do it, regardless, but it's not required by law, history or the constitution. law, history and the constitution allows them -- these enemy combatants to be tried in military commissions and they don't have to be given miranda warnings, which was a court created rule a number of

Jeff Sessions

1:46:42 to 1:47:03( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: years ago that never was understood before and is not practiced, to my knowledge, in any other nation in the whole world. and, of course, all of this provides poor guidance for our law enforcement, military and intelligence officers as they go

Jeff Sessions

1:47:04 to 1:47:24( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: about our -- their efforts, and it's a grievous and dangerous mistake to continue this policy. it seems to me that mr. kohl and attorney general holder are cut from the same cloth on this issue. i'm uneasy about these two individuals holding the top two positions in the department of justice.

Jeff Sessions

1:47:25 to 1:47:45( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: and now the solicitor general seems to be the third one that will be coming along as one of the highest-ranking people in the department. their policy views appear to control the department of defense. in other words, if they say this is the rule, the department of defense has to give the miranda warnings and so forth if they're

Jeff Sessions

1:47:46 to 1:48:08( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: involved in a capture and it directly controls the f.b.i., which is part of the department of justice. as the acting second in command at justice department, mr. cole would play a lead role in

Jeff Sessions

1:48:09 to 1:48:31( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: decision making in the terror prosecutions throughout the country. the justice department's continued insistence on a presumption of civilian trials for terrorists confirms my concerns that mr. cole has adhered to the failed pre-9/11 law enforcement approach to terrorism, approach that the 9/11 commission and the nation

Jeff Sessions

1:48:32 to 1:48:53( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: as a whole recognized was in error and should be changed. i thought we clearly made that move. apparently we haven't. also of concern, from 2003-2007, mr. cole represented a saudi prince against insurance

Jeff Sessions

1:48:54 to 1:49:16( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: carriers and september 11th victims who alleged that the saudi prince helped finance terrorists. reportedly, mr. cole's client was linked through treasury department documents to the financial support of extremist groups through the al harah mane foundation, a saudi charity that has diverted funds to al qaeda

Jeff Sessions

1:49:17 to 1:49:37( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: before and after 9/11. while attorneys are free to and should be free to represent unpopular clients, mr. cole is one in a long line of political appointees at the department of justice who seem to me to have

Jeff Sessions

1:49:38 to 1:49:58( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: made questionable choices -- seem to be questionable choices for the key post at the agency that's charged with defending our national security, given their previous efforts to defend those involved in attacking the united states or killing americans.

Jeff Sessions

1:49:59 to 1:50:19( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: according to press reports, at least 13 to 16 current obama administration political appoint eedz, including the -- appointees, including the current solicitor general nominee, who represented jose pedilla, the shoe bomber, or

Jeff Sessions

1:50:20 to 1:50:42( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: suspected terrorists or enemy combatants being held in detention or to left-wing organizations who actively sought to reverse bush administration antiterrorist and detainee policies, policies that, i might add, were a contributing factor to the elimination of bin laden and many other terrorists through

Jeff Sessions

1:50:43 to 1:51:06( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: this past decade. i'm curious to know if they've appointed anyone to key posts in the department of justice who's ever prosecuted a terrorist. i'd like to know that. maybe they have. surely somebody has. but it looks odd to me that so many of those who've been on the other side have been given top

Jeff Sessions

1:51:07 to 1:51:28( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: appointments. and i'm very disappointed in another subject with this administration's abdication of its duty to defend congressionally enacted laws. specifically, the defense of marriage act. the attorney general has stated

Jeff Sessions

1:51:29 to 1:51:49( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: that the president decided -- attorney general holder -- that the president had decided that he would no longer defend this law. review the -- after reviewing the attorney general's recommendation that doma falls under the exception in which -- quote -- "the department of justice cannot offer a

Jeff Sessions

1:51:50 to 1:52:12( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: reasonable argument in defense of the statute's constitutionality." well, it's been defended and upheld by a number of courts. how do we just waltz in now and decide we're not going to defend a congressionally enacted statute signed into law by

Jeff Sessions

1:52:13 to 1:52:33( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: president clinton because they don't like it? that's what it appears to me. the administration apparently came to this conclusion after unilaterally deciding that -- quote -- "classifications based on sexual orientation warrant heightened scrutiny." in the face of precedent from 11 circuit courts of appeals

Jeff Sessions

1:52:34 to 1:52:58( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: holding that such classifications should be reviewed under the much lower normal rational basis standard. there's a very big difference between refusing to defend the law that the administration regards as unconstitutional and refusing to defend a law that the administration opposes on

Jeff Sessions

1:53:00 to 1:53:20( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: policy grounds. the presiding officer: 15 minutes. mr. sessions: mr. president, i would ask for one additional -- ask unanimous consent to speak for one additional minute. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. sessions: mr. president, the department of justice is a great department and they have some very, very fine people there. i know mr. cole has some good qualities.

Jeff Sessions

1:53:21 to 1:53:42( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: i supported mr. holder for attorney general. but i'm very uneasy about the direction the department is taking on a large number of issues, and i believe one of the reasons this is happening is because they've surrounded themselves with a group of

Jeff Sessions

1:53:43 to 1:54:04( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: leftist lawyers, activist lawyers who don't operate according to the more traditional views of justice in america that's my view. other senators may disagree. that's my view. and i would just say that i'm not able to support mr. cole for that and the reasons i've stated and i hope in the future that

Jeff Sessions

1:54:05 to 1:54:15( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Sessions: the administration will appoint more nominees that have proven records of independence, effective prosecution and commitment to law. i thank the chair yield the floor.

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