Elizabeth Warren

Remarks before Confirmation Vote on Attorney General Nominee Jeff Sessions - Feb. 7, 2017

Elizabeth Warren
February 07, 2017— Washington, D.C.
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Thank you, Mr. President.

I rise today to express my strong opposition to the nomination of Senator Jeff Sessions to serve as attorney general of the United States.

And I ask, where are the senators who will say no to the nomination of Senator Jeff Sessions as attorney general of the United States? I hope there are at least enough senators here who understand that America is careening over a constitutional cliff and that all of us -- all of us -- regardless of political party need an attorney general who can be relied on to enforce the laws fairly and to fight back against lawless overreach by an out-of-control president.

On January 27, the world turned upside down for tens of thousands of people directly affected by President Trump's executive order turning America’s back on refugees around the world and immigrants from seven Muslim-majority countries.

Last week I told many of their stories. I spoke about students and professors, about mothers and children, about friends and neighbors, real people who were turned away, detained or deported based solely on their religion or the simple fact that they were fleeing war.

We all breathed add sigh of relieves when a court temporarily halted that order, but we know that the fight continues to permanently overturning this unlawful, this unconstitutional and deeply immoral executive order.

But that isn't all that happened last week. Last week the acting attorney general of the United States refused to defend President Trump's unlawful and unconstitutional executive order. So President Trump fired her. That's right. The president of the United States fired the nation's top law enforcement officer for refusing to defend an unlawful, unconstitutional and deeply immoral order.

And last week, after days of slow-walking or ignoring judicial decisions, President Trump went on the attack. He raged against the judge who temporarily halted his order, calling him a "so-called judge" and questioning his authority to act. That's right. The president of the United States attacked the legal authority of an individual district court judge, lawfully appointed by George W. Bush, and confirmed unanimously by the Senate to pass judgment on Trump's executive orders.

You know, these are dangerous times. At times like this, it is more important than ever that the attorney general of the United States has the guts and the independence and the good moral judgment to stand up to the president when he seeks to violate the Constitution and ignore the law.

At his confirmation hearing last month, Senator Sessions claimed to be that person. I've got to say, I wish it were true. I really do. I wish the president's campaign had been different. I wish his actions now were different. I wish that we could give his nominees the benefit of the doubt, but I will not ignore the real world, as unpleasant as it is. And neither can anyone in this Senate.

In the real world, Senator Sessions obviously isn't going to stand up to the president's campaign of bigotry. How could he?

In the real world, Senator Sessions is one of the principal architects of that campaign. Senator Sessions made a special name for himself for being a particularly vitriolic opponent of common-sense immigration policies. He railed against legal immigrants. He attacked cities and states that focus on keeping their communities safe instead of serving as a national deportation force. He's called Islam a toxic ideology and a threat to our nation.

Despite the plain language of the Constitution, Senator Sessions doesn't say that children born in the United States should automatically become citizens. He wants to round up and deport DREAMers who were brought to the United States as kids.

Does all that sound familiar? Well, it should. Because Senator Sessions was an early and energetic supporter of then-candidate Donald Trump, and the senator played a key role in shaping what has become the most extreme, most divisive and most dangerous immigration policies of any president in decades.

Senator Sessions' radical views are not limited to immigration. On issue after issue after issue, Senator Sessions has displayed open hostility to the rights of all Americans. He has made derogatory and racist comments that should have no place in our justice system. As a federal prosecutor, he got involved in a voting rights case against those who were trying to help American citizens who were lawfully registered to vote. Yes, that's right. He brought a case against civil rights workers who helped African American voters submit absentee ballots.

While serving as Alabama’s attorney general, he reportedly made numerous racist comments, including saying he thought the KKK was okay until he learned that they smoked weed. He called a white attorney representing black clients in a civil rights case a disgrace to his race. He claimed that the NAACP and the ACLU were un-American. In a speech in 2006, he said -- and I’m quoting here -- "fundamentally, almost no one coming from the Dominican Republic to the United States is coming here because they have a provable skill that would benefit us and would indicate their likely success in our society." End quote.

According to Sessions, Dominicans come to the United States by engaging in fraud.

Senator Sessions is also extraordinarily hostile to any effort to root out discrimination based on gender or sexual orientation. According to Senator Sessions, marriage equality is a threat to the American culture. Roe v. Wade is constitutionally unsound. Employers should be able to fire you because they don't like who you love. He's voted against equal pay for equal work. He's even voted against the Violence Against Women Act. And it doesn't stop there.

On crime, Senator Sessions' solution is to lock up people for even minor low-level offenses, throw away the key. He has advocated for expanding prisons for youth, aggressively prosecuting marijuana offenses and eliminating parole or reduced prison time for good behavior.

During the 2016 presidential campaign, he heaped praise on then-candidate Donald Trump for having once taken out a racially tinged full-page newspaper ad advocating for the death penalty for the central park five, the black and Latino teenagers who were falsely accused and convicted of raping a young woman in New York’s central park.

You know, Senator Sessions is not a plain old conservative Republican. No. Senator Sessions occupies a place way out at the radical fringe of his party, regularly taking positions that are far more extreme than his other Republican colleagues.

For example, when Republicans and Democrats came together to pass a common-sense bipartisan immigration bill, Senator Sessions worked overtime to make sure that the bill did not make it through the House. When Republicans and Democrats came together to propose legislation to reform our broken federal criminal sentencing laws, Senator Sessions was part of the handful of senators that ensured that the bill would not get a vote here in the Senate.

Senator Sessions has been a public figure for decades. None of this -- none of this -- is secret, and much of it is completely indefensible. But President Trump wants this man. So the same Republican senators who once fought Senator Sessions tooth and nail have now launched a massive P.R. campaign to try to repair his public image.

That case against the civil rights workers helping blacks in Alabama to vote -- hey, you got it all wrong. He was just trying to help out other African Americans who were concerned about voting irregularities. Yeah, his vote against the Violence Against Women Act, his position on LGBTQ rights, his opposition to a woman's right to choose -- hey, don't worry about it. He says he will vigorously enforce the law once he becomes attorney general. Give me a break.

The law enforcement power of the United States of America is an awesome thing. In the right hands, in steady and impartial hands, it can be used to defend all of us, to defend our laws, to defend our constitution. But in the wrong hands it can be used to bully and intimidate the defenseless, to destroy lives, to undermine American democracy itself.

Senator Sessions is not misunderstood. Senator Sessions has never been misunderstood. For decades it has been absolutely clear where he stands, and now the time is here for every senator to make absolutely clear where they stand as well.

Let's be clear -- winning a seat in the United States Senate does not exempt a Cabinet nominee from the close scrutiny that all nominees to lead our government deserve. It does not change the Senate's constitutional responsibility to examine a nominee, to make certain that that nominee will faithfully and fairly force the laws of the United States of America. And it does not relieve the Senate of its duty to reject nominees whose records demonstrate that they will not stand up for American values and constitutional principles.

When it comes to the Senate, confirming someone to be attorney general, the highest law enforcement officer in this country, we are all personally responsible for that choice.

To put Senator Sessions in charge of the Department of Justice is an insult to African Americans.

To put Senator Sessions in charge of the Department of Justice is a direct threat to immigrants.

To put Senator Sessions in charge of the Department of Justice is a deliberate affront to every LGBTQ person.

To put Senator Sessions in charge of the Department of Justice is an affront to women.

So I ask again, where are the senators who will say no to Senator Sessions as attorney general of the United States?

Thirty years ago a Republican-controlled Senate took the extraordinary step of rejecting Senator Sessions' nomination to serve as a federal judge. They had the courage to stand up for the principles that transcend party affiliation. Fairness, equality, justice for all, their rejection sent a message that that kind of dangerous, toxic hatred has no place in our courts. I urge them again today to exert that moral leadership and to send a message that this kind of dangerous, toxic hatred has no place in our justice department. I urge them to set aside politics and do what they know is right.

Now I would like to read two statements that really stood out to me as I was reviewing Senator Sessions' record on civil rights. One is the powerful speech that the late senator from Massachusetts, Ted Kennedy, gave in 1986. And the other is a very moving letter from Coretta Scott King, a letter that she wrote to the Judiciary Committee that same year.

I want to start with what Senator Kennedy said. He said,

"The confirmation of nominees for lifetime appointments to the federal judiciary is one of the most important responsibilities of the Senate mandated by the U.S. Constitution. And the examination by the Senate of a nominee's fitness to serve as a federal judge is the last opportunity to determine whether the candidate possesses the education, experience, skills, integrity and most importantly, the commitment to equal justice under law, which are essential attributes of a federal judge. Once confirmed, a federal judge literally has life and death authority over citizens that appear before him, with limited review of his decisions. Our federal judiciary is the guardian of the rights and liberties guaranteed to all of us by the U.S. Constitution. And the decisions of federal judges are constantly shaping and reshaping those rights and liberties. This committee has a duty to our citizens to carefully examine the qualifications of nominees for the federal bench and give our approval only to those who have demonstrated a personal commitment to the principle of equality for all Americans and a sensitivity to the long history of inequality which we are still struggling to overcome. Mr. Sessions, as the U.S. attorney for the southern district of Alabama, comes to this committee with a record which regrettably includes presiding over the now infamous so-called Perry County voting fraud prosecutions. In the Perry County case, the government indicted three well-known and highly-respected Black civil rights activists on charges of voter fraud and assisting elderly black voters to vote by absentee ballot. But for the efforts of the defendants 20 years ago, these Black citizens would not have been allowed to vote. All three of the defendants were acquitted on all charges in the indictments, and some of the elderly Blacks have responded to their experiences during the prosecution vowing never to vote again. Mr. Sessions' role in that case alone should bar him from serving on the federal bench. But there is more, much more. We just received a sworn statement from a Justice Department attorney I know which will be the subject of a good deal of questioning during the course of this hearing who has worked on civil rights cases with Mr. Sessions over the period Sessions has been U.S. attorney. Mr. Hebert has stated to the committee, investigators, that Mr. Sessions on more than one occasion has characterized the NAACP and the ACLU as un-American, communist-inspired associations. Mr. Hebert reports that Mr. Sessions said these organizations did more harm than good when they were trying to force civil rights down the throats of people who were trying to put problems behind them. Mr. Hebert also stated that Mr. Sessions suggested that a prominent white civil rights lawyer who litigated voting rights cases was a disgrace to his race for doing it. Mr. Sessions is a throwback to a shameful era which I know both Black and white Americans thought was in our past. It is unconceivable to me that a person of this attitude is qualified to be a U.S. attorney, let alone a U.S. federal judge. He is, I believe, a disgrace to the Justice Department and he should withdraw his nomination and resign his position.”

Those were the words of Senator Ted Kennedy, and I will stand with Senator Kennedy and, like he did, I will cast my vote against the nomination of Senator Sessions.

Coretta Scott King also wrote to the Judiciary Committee about the Sessions nomination in 1986, and this what she wrote:

"Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, thank you for allowing me this opportunity to express my strong opposition to the nomination of Jefferson Sessions for federal district judgeship for the southern district of Alabama. My long-standing commitment, which I shared with my husband Martin, to protect and enhance the rights of Black Americans, rights which include equal access to the democratic process, compels me to testify today. Civil rights leaders, including my husband and Albert Turner, have fought long and hard to achieve free and unfettered access to the ballot box. Mr. Sessions has used the awesome power of his office to chill the free exercise of the vote by Black citizens in the district he now seeks to serve as a federal judge. This simply cannot be allowed to happen. Mr. Sessions' conduct as U.S. attorney from his politically motivated voting fraud prosecutions to his indifference toward criminal violations of civil rights laws indicates that he lacks the temperament, fairness, and judgment to be a federal judge. The Voting Rights Act was and still is vitally important to the future of democracy in the United States. I was privileged to join Martin and many others during the Selma-to-Montgomery march for voting rights in 1965. Martin was particularly impressed by the determination to get the franchise of Blacks in Selma and neighboring Perry County. As he wrote, 'Certainly no community in the history of the Negro's struggle has responded with the enthusiasm of Selma and her neighboring town of Marion. Where Birmingham deemed largely on students and unemployed adults in participate in the nonviolent protest of the denial of the franchise, Selma has involved fully 10% of the Negro population in active demonstrations and at least half the Negro population of Marion was arrested on one day.' ”

Mrs. King continues:

"Martin was referring, of course, to a group that included the defendants of recently prosecuted for assisting elderly and illiterate Blacks to exercise that franchise. In fact, Martin anticipated from the depth of their commitment 20 years ago that a united political organization would remain in Perry County long after the other marchers had left. This organization, the Perry County Civic League, started by Mr. Turner, Mr. Hoag, and others, as Martin predicted, continued -- quote -- 'to direct the drive for votes and other rights' -- close quote. In the year since the Voting Rights Act was passed, Black Americans in Marion, Selma and elsewhere have made important strides in their struggle to participate actively in the electoral process. The number of Blacks registered to vote in key southern states has doubled since 1965. This would not have been possible without the Voting Rights Act. However..."

Ms. King continues,

"...Blacks still fall far short of having equal participation in the electoral process, particularly in the South. Efforts continue to be made to deny Blacks access to the polls, even where Blacks constitute the majority of the voters. It has been a long uphill struggle to keep alive the vital legislation that protects the most fundamental right to vote. A person who has exhibited so much hostility to the enforcement of those laws --"

PRESIDING OFFICER: The Senator is reminded that it is a violation of rule 19 of the standing rules of the Senate to impute to another senator or senators any conduct or motive unworthy or becoming a senator.

WARREN: Mr. President, I don't think I quite understand. I'm reading a letter from Coretta Scott King to the Judiciary Committee from 1986 that was admitted into the record. I'm simply reading what she wrote about what the nomination of Jeff Sessions to be a federal court judge meant and what it would mean in history for her.

PRESIDING OFFICER: This is a reminder not pertinent necessarily to what you just shared. However, you stated that a sitting senator is a disgrace to the Department of Justice.

WARREN: I think that may have been Senator Kennedy, although I would be glad to repeat on my own words.

PRESIDING OFFICER: The rule applies to imputing conduct or motive through any form or voice of a sitting senator. Includes quotes, articles, or other materials.

WARREN: So quoting Senator Kennedy calling, then-nominee Sessions a disgrace is a violation of Senate rules? It certainly was not in 1986.

PRESIDING OFFICER: In the opinion of the Chair, it is.

WARREN: So let me understand then—

PRESIDING OFFICER: The Senator is warned.

WARREN: So can I ask a question in the opinion of the Chair? I want to understand what this rule means.

PRESIDING OFFICER: The Senator may state her inquiry.

WARREN: So is it the contention of the Chair that under the rules of the Senate, I am not allowed to accurately describe public views of Senator Sessions, public positions of Senator Sessions, -- quote -- "public statements" of Senator Sessions?

PRESIDING OFFICER: The Chair has not made a ruling as with respect to the snow the senator's comments. The senator is following process and tradition. By reminding the senator of Massachusetts of the rule.

WARREN: I’m asking what this rule means in context. So can I continue with Coretta Scott King’s letter?

PRESIDING OFFICER: The Senator may continue.

WARREN: Thank you. I'll pick up then with Mrs. King's letter to the Judiciary Committee when the Judiciary Committee was considering not then Senator Sessions, nominee Sessions for a position on the federal bench. She makes the point,

"Blacks still fall far short of having equal participation in the electoral process, particularly in the South. Efforts continue to be made to deny Blacks access to the polls, even where Blacks constitute the majority of voters. It has been a long uphill struggle to keep alive the vital legislation that protects the most fundamental right to vote. A person who has exhibited so much hostility to the enforcement of those laws and, thus, to the exercise of those rights by Black people should not be he elevated to the federal bench. The irony of Mr. Sessions' nomination is that, if confirmed, he will be given life tenure for doing with a federal prosecution what the local sheriffs accomplished 20 years ago with clubs and cattle prods. Twenty years ago when we marched from Selma to Montgomery, the fear of voting was real, as the broken bones and bloody heads in Selma and Marion bore witness. As my husband wrote at the time, 'It was not just a sick imagination that conjured up the vision of a public official sworn to uphold the law who forced an inhuman march upon hundreds of Negro children, who ordered the Reverend James Bell to be chained to his sick bed, who clubbed a Negro woman registering and who callously inflicted repeated brutalities and indignities upon nonviolent Negros peacefully petitioning for their constitutional right to vote. Free exercising of voting rights is so fundamental to the American democracy that we cannot tolerate any form of infringement of those rights. Of all the groups who have been disenfranchised in our nation's history, none has struggled longer or suffered more in the attempt to win the vote than the Black citizen. No group has had access to the ballot box denied so persistently and intently. Over the past century, a broad array of schemes have been used in attempts to block the Black vote. The range of techniques developed with purpose of a repressing Black voting rights run the gamut, from the straightforward application of brutality against Black citizens who tried to vote to such legalized frauds as the grandfather clause exclusions and rigged literacy tests. The actions taken by Mr. Sessions in regard to the 1984 voting fraud prosecutions represent just one more technique used to intimidate Black voters and, thus, deny them this most precious franchise. The investigations into the absentee voting process were conducted only in the Black Belt counties where Blacks had finally achieved political power in the local government. Whites had been using the absentee process to their advantage for years, without incident. Then when Blacks, realizing its strength, began to use it with success, criminal investigations were begun. In these investigations, Mr. Sessions, as U.S. attorney, exhibited an eagerness to bring to trial and convict three leaders of the Perry County Civic League, including Albert Turner, despite evidence clearly demonstrating their innocence of any wrongdoing. Furthermore, in initiating the case, Mr. Sessions ignored allegations of similar behavior by whites, choosing instead to chill the exercise of the franchise by Blacks by his misguided investigation. In fact, Mr. Sessions sought to punish older Black civil rights activists, advisors, and colleagues of my husband who had been key figures in the civil rights movement in the 1960's. These were persons who, realizing the potential of the absentee vote among Blacks, had learned to use the process within the bounds of legality and had taught others to do the same. The only sin they committed was being too successful in gaining votes. The scope and character of the investigations conduct the by Mr. Sessions also warrant grave concern. Witnesses were selectively chosen in accordance with the favorability of their testimony to the government's case. Also, the prosecution illegally withheld from the defense critical statements made by witnesses, witnesses who did testify were pressured and intimidated into submitting the correct testimony. Many elderly Blacks were visited multiple times by the F.B.I., who then hauled them over 180 miles by bus to a grand jury in Mobile where they could have more easily testified at a grand jury just 20 miles away in Selma. These voters and others have announced they are now never going to vote again. I urge you to consider carefully Mr. Sessions' conduct in these matters. Such a review, I believe, raises serious questions about his commitment to the protection of the voting rights of all American citizens and, consequently, his fair and unbiased judgment regarding this fundamental right. When the circumstances and facts surrounding the indictments of Al Turner, his wife Evelyn, and Spencer Hoag are analyzed, it becomes clear that this motivation was political and the result frightening. The wide-scale chill of the exercise of the ballot for Blacks who suffered so much to receive that right in the first place. Therefore, it is my strongly held view that the appointment of Jefferson Sessions to the federal bench would damage my husband, Al Turner, and countless others who risked their lives and freedom over the last 20 years to ensure equal participation in our democratic system. The exercise of the franchise is an essential means by which our citizens ensure that those who are governing will be responsible. My husband called it the number one civil right. The denial of access to the ballot box ultimately results in the denial of other fundamental rights for it is only when poor and disadvantaged are empowered that they are able to participate actively in the solutions to their own problems. We still have a long way to go before we can say that minorities no longer need to be concerned about discrimination at the polls. Blacks, Hispanics, Native Americans, Asian Americans are grossly underrepresented at every level of government in America. If we are going to make our timeless dream of justice through democracy a reality, we must take every possible step to ensure that the spirit and intent of the voting rights act of 1965 and the 15th Amendment of the Constitution is honored. The federal courts hold a unique position in our constitutional system, ensuring that minorities and other citizens without political power have a form on which to vindicate their rights. Because of this unique role, it is essential that the people selected to be federal judges respect the basic tenants of our legal system, respect for individual rights and a commitment to equal justice for all. The integrity of the courts, and thus the rights they protect, can only be maintained if citizens feel confident that those selected as federal judges will be able to judge with fairness others holding different views. I do not believe Jefferson Sessions possesses the requisite judgment, competence and sensitivity to the rights guaranteed by the federal civil rights laws, to qualify for appointment to the federal district court. Based on his record, I believe his confirmation would have a devastating effect on not only the judicial system in Alabama, but also on the progress we have made everywhere toward fulfilling my husband's dream that he had envisioned over 20 years ago. I therefore urge the Senate Judiciary Committee to deny his confirmation. I thank you for allowing me to share my views.”

Mrs. King's views and words ring true today. The integrity of our Justice Department depends on an attorney general who will fight for the rights of all people. An honest evaluation of Jeff Sessions’ record shows that he is not that person.

My concerns regarding Jeff Sessions go far beyond his disappointing record on civil rights. Take immigration, for example. The Daily Beast published an article a few weeks ago entitled "Donald Trump's refugee ban has attorney general nominee Jeff Sessions' fingerprints all over it."

Here is what the article says:

“To long-time Jeff Sessions observers, the chaos that unfolded in American airports Saturday morning wasn't a surprise at all. Rather, the refugee ban was the predictable culmination of years of advocacy from two of President Donald Trump's most trusted advisors, White House senior advisor Steven Miller and attorney general designate Jeff Sessions. For years, Sessions and Miller, who was the Alabama senator's communications director before leaving to join the Trump campaign -- pushed research and talking points designed to make Americans afraid of refugees. Press releases, email forwards, speeches on the Senate floor -- Miller and Sessions used it all to make the case against Obama’s refugee program was a huge terror threat. The executive order Trump signed late in the day on Friday is just the logical conclusion of their work. I started getting press releases that Miller sent on behalf of Jeff Sessions in March 2013 shortly after I moved to D.C. to cover Congress. The emails went to my gmail and kept coming over years, hundreds and hundreds of them. By the time he left Sessions' office to join the Trump campaign, Miller's press releases were legendary among Hill reporters. There were just so many of them at all hours of the day and they never stopped. Some were lengthy diatribes, some were detailed homemade charts, some were one liners, one was just a link to a Facebook stock page on google finance with a subject line, ‘Does this mean Facebook has enough money now to hire Americans?’ Quote: ‘I wanted to put together a little book about the best emails I ever sent,’ Miller told POLITICO last June. 'I spent hours and hours of research on those.' Some of that research had serious methodological problems, according to Alex Nowrasteh, an immigration expert at the libertarian KATO Institute. Quote: ‘Miller's work vastly overstates the threat of foreign terrorists to the homeland.’ He pointed to Miller's efforts to chronicle cases of refugees implicated in terrorist activity. 'It is true that some refugees in the U.S. have been indicted for terrorist-related crimes,' Nowrasteh said, 'but instances of refugees actively planning terror attacks on American soil,' he added, 'were vanishingly rare.' Again, quote: 'Almost all the refugees that I was able to specifically identify in his set were trying to support a foreign terrorist organization by giving them money or something like that,' Nowrasteh said."

I don't know about you, but I think there's a big difference between sending a militia in your home country funds and trying to blow up a mall in Cincinnati. The collective effect of Miller and Session’s messaging to enthusiastically push a narrative that now dominates the Trump administration, that refugees and other immigrants steal American’s jobs, suck up too much welfare money, incubate terrorists in their communities and overall are a big problem. The conclusion was always the same, the government should let in far fewer refugees and think twice about welcoming Muslims, and now that is exactly what trump is doing. For instance, in one "dear colleague" letter that Sessions coauthored with conservative Republican David Brat, a letter that Miller blasted out to the press list, the would-be attorney general ripped into the refugee program. Quote, from the letter: 'There can be no higher duty as lawmakers than to keep our constituents and their families safe," Brat and Sessions wrote. "Yet our reckless refugee programs, lax green card and visa policies, other policies to enforce rampant visa overstays, along with our wide open southern border, put the U.S. at grave and needless risk. Grave and needless risk -- it's a view that clearly informs Trump's decision to temporarily ban refugees."

And a Miller press release blasted out on November 25, 2015, included this ominous title: "U.S. issued 680,000 green cards to migrants from Muslim nations over the last five years."

Sessions then forwarded that email to his email list on January 12, 2016, the day of Obama’s final state of the union address and he added this note -- quote -- "Some numerical context for any discussions of refugee policy that may arise tonight. As further context, the top-sending country for migrants are Iraq and Afghanistan, according to Pew, quote, "nearly all Muslims in Afghanistan, 99%, and most in Iraq, 91%, and Pakistan, 84%, support Sharia law as official law.' "

The implication was clear as a bell: Muslim immigrants are flooding into the U.S. and they are bringing Sharia with them.

Someone who agreed with Miller's assessment would do just what Trump did. Just about any time a refugee living in the U.S. was charged, implicated or otherwise connected to terrorism, Miller emailed his list about it.

Another Sessions press release sent jointly with Senator Richard Shelby also included ominous intonations about refugees and Muslims. “Congress must cancel the president's blank refugee check and put Congress back in charge of the program,” Sessions and Shelby said. Quote: "We cannot allow the president to unilaterally decide how many refugees he wishes to admit nor continue to force taxpayers to pick up the tab for tens of billions of unpaid-for welfare and entitlement costs." Quote: "The omnibus..." Still quoting the letter from senators Shelby and Sessions "...would put the U.S. on a path to approve admission for hundreds of thousands of migrants from a broad range of countries with jihadist movements over the next 12 months, on top of all the other autopilot annual immigration, absent language to reduce the numbers,” this release continued.

That same statement also suggested that refugees were robbing the elderly Americans of their benefits. Quote from the statement: "Refugees are entitled to access all major welfare programs and they can also draw benefits directly from the Medicare and Social Security disability and retirement trust funds, taking those funds straight from the pockets of American retirees who paid into these troubled funds all their lives,” Sessions and Shelby said. Now that Trump is president, those numbers are getting reduced and fast.

Another foreboding subject line from Miller, showed up in reporters' inboxes on November 20, 2015: "Each five years U.S. issuing more new green cards to migrants from Muslim nations, the population of Washington, D.C."

Sessions also took to the Senate floor to argue that Muslim immigrants are uniquely dangerous. On November 19, 2015, the Alabaman said the following about Muslims -- quote -- "It is an unpleasant but unavoidable fact that bringing in a large unassimilated flow of migrants from the Muslim world creates the conditions possible for radicalization and extremism to take hold."

In the speech Sessions argued that the U.S. should set up safe zones in Syria where refugees could settle instead of allowing any of them into the United States. Miller emailed reporters as Sessions spoke to highlight his argument. Now it's Trump's position.

At Breitbart, Julia Hahn covered Sessions' speech in an article headlined "Afghanistan migration surging into America, 99% support Sharia law." News broke earlier this week that Hahn got a job in the White House as an assistant to Trump and senior advisor Steven Bannon.

And on and on and on for hundreds of emails without a whisper of flip-flopping. Trump's crackdown on Muslims and refugees shouldn't surprise anyone. He's just taking his advisors' advice.

Trump's executive order sparked protests and resistance all across the nation. People across the country and around the world are standing up to say it contradicts our core values and that it violates the law.

Massachusetts is on the front lines of challenging this illegal and downright offensive executive order. Last week Massachusetts attorney general Maura Healy joined a federal lawsuit to challenge that executive order and this is what she said. I'm quoting Attorney General Healy.

"Harm to our institutions, our citizens, and our businesses is harm to the commonwealth of Massachusetts. The president's executive order is a threat to our constitution. Rather than protecting our national security, it stigmatizes those who would lawfully emigrate to our state. With this policy, our global universities, hospitals, businesses, and start-ups and far too many students and residents have been put at risk. On behalf of the commonwealth, my office is challenging the immigration ban to hold this administration accountable for its un-American, discriminatory and reckless decision making."

In 2013, Senator Sessions voted against reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act, a bill that expanded the protections and services provided to victims of sexual assault and domestic violence. There's a piece from the Bedford Minuteman that really tells the story of how sexual violence impacts Massachusetts. And this is what it said. "They are mothers, daughters, sisters, fathers, sons, and brothers--”

MCCONNELL: Mr. President.

PRESIDING OFFICER: The Majority Leader.

MCCONNELL: The Senator has impugned the motives and conduct of our colleague from Alabama, as warned by the Chair. Senator Warren -- quote -- "said Senator Sessions has used the awesome paver his office to chill the free exercise of the vote by Black citizens." I call the senator to order under the provisions of Rule 19.

WARREN: Mr. President.

PRESIDING OFFICER: The Senator from Massachusetts.

WARREN: Mr. President, I am surprised that the words of Coretta Scott King are not suitable for debate in the United States Senate. I ask leave of the Senate to continue my remarks.

PRESIDING OFFICER: Is there objections?


WARREN: I appeal the ruling--

PRESIDING OFFICER: Objection is heard. The senator will take her seat.

WARREN: I appeal the ruling of the chair, and I suggest the absence of a quorum.

PRESIDING OFFICER: The clerk will call the roll.

Speech from https://www.c-span.org/video/?c4655562/senator-elizabeth-warren-rebuked-impugning-senator-jeff-sessions.