After Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein expressed her concerns about his views on hate crime laws, Senator Jeff Sessions, during his Senate confirmation hearing to become Attorney General, defended his record to support civil rights reform. Rough Cut (No Reporter Narration).
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) STORY: Republican Senator Jeff Sessions faced questions from Senate colleagues over his record on race and civil rights as the first confirmation hearing for the president-elect's Cabinet nominees got under way on Tuesday. Sessions, nominated to be attorney general, said allegations that he harbored sympathies towards the Ku Klux Klan, a violent white supremacist organization, are false. "I abhor the Klan and what it represents and its hateful ideology," Sessions said in his opening remarks. Protesters repeatedly interrupted the start of Sessions' hearing, some dressed in KKK robes, others shouting and another holding a sign that said "Support Civil Rights, Stop Sessions. Sessions was denied confirmation to a federal judgeship in 1986 after allegations emerged that he made racist remarks, including testimony that he called an African-American prosecutor "boy," an allegation Sessions denied. Sessions, 70, is being reviewed by the judiciary committee, a panel on which he serves, and is widely expected to be confirmed by the Republican-controlled Senate. But his record on civil rights and immigration was likely to make for a contentious hearing.