MSNBC Panel: Senate Dems Need More Time to Grill ‘Bigot’ Jeff Sessions

MSNBC’s ever pleasant Joy Reid set her sights on Republican Senator Jeff Sessions on All In Thursday, with the usual accusation if racism. Reid and her panel of leftists were up in arms that congressional Republicans would only allow two days and four Democratic witnesses for Sessions’ attorney general confirmation hearing. “They have asked for more time because Jeff Sessions hasn't completed his judiciary questionnaire. It’s woefully incomplete. And there’s a lot to get through,” bemoaned Joan Walsh of The Nation.

The man had three days of hearings when he was rejected for a federal judgeship,” she continued to whine, “Only four witnesses and it will be only two days and there will be no delay despite the woefully inadequate disclosures that he's made.” Walsh seemed to suggest that her claim of Sessions’ application being “woefully incomplete” was sourced by Senate Democrats on the Judiciary Committee, not the most non-partisan place to get facts.

Reid found it “shocking” that Republicans would conduct a hearing in such a way. She turned panelist Jason Johnson from The Root for answers, “Does that sound like it's feasible to get through all of the past that -- baggage Jeff Sessions is dragging with him to Washington?

It takes a long time to lay out how much of a bigot he is,” Johnson smeared, as he let loss on the Senator and warned:

Given the fact that, again, this guy was rejected you know 30 years ago, he has statements today and I think one of the things any witness would want to do is say, “Look, not just that he may be a bigot but there are consequences to that attitude being in this position.” And that requires time, that requires witnesses, that's clearly not something the Republican congress wants to do and there will be bad consequences for rushing this through when he actually has to adjudicate on behalf of this nation.

All three of them conveniently forgot Sessions’ work as a prosecutor in Alabama where he fought hard for the death penalty for a member of the Ku Klux Klan who kidnapped and murdered an African-American teenager. Sessions also shared their belief that there is racial bias in policing. Such factual discrepancies are to be expected with Johnson because he has a history of making factually inaccurate and discredited claims.

But there was more to worry about according to Reid, who fretted for those who opposed Sessions’ nomination, “Because you have criminal justice reform issues with him, obviously you have direct race issues, but you also have voting rights.” She again failed to mention a key part of his history in the Senate, notably his vote to renew the Voting Rights Act.

The panel’s willfulness to completely omit any positive aspect of Sessions’ record, in terms of race, demonstrates how they don’t care about the facts.

Transcript below: 

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MSNBC
All In
January 5, 2017
8:37:23 PM Eastern

JOY REID: Joan you have a scoop on not just the what and when but the mechanics of these upcoming hearings for Jeff Sessions.

JOAN WALSH: Yes, I mean, as advocates—not just advocates, Senator Feinstein, who's now the chair of the Judiciary Committee, Senator Leahy who’s the past chair. They have asked for more time because Jeff Sessions hasn't completed his judiciary questionnaire. It’s woefully incomplete. And there’s a lot to get through. The man had three days of hearings when he was rejected for a federal judgeship.

It's great he got himself elected from the state of Alabama but that's not the same as being prepared to be the top law enforcement officer. So they've been asking for more time. They’ve been asking for more witnesses but Chairman Grassley has said no, yesterday he came out with a schedule. The Democrats will get four witnesses.

REID: Only four witnesses?

WALSH: Only four witnesses and it will be only two days and there will be no delay despite the woefully inadequate disclosures that he's made.

REID: And now Jason, that seems first of all shocking that you could possibly limit the Democrats to only four people, four witnesses that can testify. Does that sound like it's feasible to get through all of the past that -- baggage Jeff Sessions is dragging with him to Washington?

JASON JOHNSON: It takes a long time to lay out how much of a bigot he is. And you know, so I think that -- and here's the thing I think is important. Given the fact that, again, this guy was rejected you know 30 years ago, he has statements today and I think one of the things any witness would want to do is say, “Look, not just that he may be a bigot but there are consequences to that attitude being in this position.” And that requires time, that requires witnesses, that's clearly not something the Republican congress wants to do and there will be bad consequences for rushing this through when he actually has to adjudicate on behalf of this nation.

REID: And Joan, do you have reporting on now that it's going to be a scramble. So civil rights groups and others that oppose Sessions are going to have to choose. Right? Because you have criminal justice reform issues with him, obviously you have direct race issues, but you also have voting rights.

WALSH: You’ve got voting rights, you’ve got banking. You know, there's so much, it's going to be very hard to choose those four witnesses. But you know what people have told me, which is kind of interesting, they're very upset about this truncated hearing. But they're also saying they will push senators to bring some of this stuff up on the floor. When this goes to a vote, assuming he's going to get out of committee, which he will, there is a lot of push for Progressive Democratic Senators to oppose him, to talk about his record and we'll see what they can get away with under Mitch McConnell but the battle does not end what the hearing ends next Wednesday.

Nicholas Fondacaro
Nicholas Fondacaro
Nicholas C. Fondacaro