The Senate Judiciary Committee holds a hearing to confirm Loretta Lynch as the new U.S. attorney general, succeeding Eric Holder. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) STORY: U.S. President Barack Obama's pick for his next attorney general faced a Senate confirmation hearing on Wednesday (January 28) that highlighted tensions between the Obama administration and the new Republican Congress. Loretta Lynch, nominated in November, has stirred little controversy in her 16 years with the U.S. Attorney's office in Brooklyn and is expected to win confirmation. But she was grilled by the Senate Judiciary Committee on hot button issues including immigration, civil rights, national security, and her relationship with congressional Republicans, who frequently clashed with Attorney General Eric Holder, an unapologetic liberal voice and one of Obama's closest allies. Some Republicans have threatened to use the nomination process as a battleground to defy Obama's November immigration order, which eased the threat of deportation for some 5 million undocumented immigrants. "Who has more right to a job in this country? A lawful immigrant who's here, a green-card holder or a citizen, or a person who entered the country unlawfully?" Republican Senator from Alabama Jeff Sessions asked Lynch during the hearing. "I believe that the right and the obligation to work is one that's shared by everyone in this country regardless of how they came here. And certainly, if someone here, regardless of status, I would prefer that they be participating in the workplace than not participating in the workplace," Lynch replied, prompting several follow-up questions from Sessions. "Do you agree that waterboarding is torture and that it's illegal?" Democratic Senator from Vermont Patrick Leahy asked. "Waterboarding is torture, Senator," Lynch said, adding that it is also illegal. Lynch, 55, would be the first black woman to lead the department, coming to the post amid tensions between black communities and law enforcement after grand juries failed to indict two white police officers who killed unarmed black men in separate incidents in Ferguson, Missouri and New York City. Lynch has built a reputation as a diligent prosecutor who avoids the spotlight, bringing big cases against terrorists and global banks, and dealing with more mundane issues on an Attorney General's advisory committee such as phone trees and the use of toner at U.S. Attorney's offices.