AG Sessions Testifies Before House Judiciary; Highlights Promotion of Rule of Law at DOJ

Today, Attorney General Jeff Sessions testified before the House Judiciary Committee.  In his opening statement, he shared how theDepartment of Justice has advanced the rule of law since he took office:

After careful review, we have established a reinvigorated Project Safe Neighborhood program, as the foundational policy for public safety. . . . We have seen a 23 percent increase in gun prosecutions in the second quarter of this fiscal year. . . . We are making it clear that we stand with our law enforcement partners 100 percent. . . . We have also protected the rule of law in our own Department. We have prohibited so-called third party settlements that were being used to bankroll outside interest groups.

We have settled civil cases regarding the Affordable Care Act’s birth control mandate and settled the cases of many groups whose tax-exempt status was significantly and wrongly delayed by the Internal Revenue Service. We have also provided legal counsel to this administration in favor of ending several other unlawful policies. . . . We have filed briefs defending properly enacted state voter identification laws, lawful redistricting plans, religious liberty, and free speech on college campuses. In short, it is our mission to restore the American people’s confidence in the Department of Justice by defending the rule of law and enforcing the laws as you have passed them. And it is a mission we are honored to undertake. 

Attorney General Sessions was testifying in part on his previous testimony concerning contacts of the Trump campaign with agents of the Russian government.  He noted that, while it would be difficult for anyone to recall a conversation had in passing with someone a year ago, he hasalways answered questions truthfully to the best of his recollection:

In all of my testimony, I can only do my best to answer all of your questions as I understand them and to the best of my memory. But I will not accept and reject accusations that I have ever lied under oath. That is a lie.

Let me be clear: I have at all times conducted myself honorably and in a manner consistent with the high standards and responsibilities of the Office of Attorney General. As I said before, my story has never changed. I have always told the truth, and I have answered every question to the best of my recollection as I will continue to do today.

Attorney General Sessions has been a lightning rod for controversy and accusations particularly because he has conducted himself so ethically and led the Department of Justice so effectively.  His leadership in turning the DOJ back to the rule of law is especially remarkable considering the number of Obama-appointee holdovers and acting department heads that remain at the DOJ due to Senate Democrats' delays and the liberal leanings of most of the career staff.  We thank Attorney General Sessions for his service and his willingness to go before Congress yet again to testify and help Congress fulfill its role of oversight of DOJ.