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Cory Booker to testify against Jeff Sessions during confirmation hearing

New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker will become the first sitting senator to testify against another senator during a confirmation hearing for a Cabinet position.

By
Stephen Feller
New Jersey Senator Cory Booker, pictured speaking on day one of the Democratic National Convention on July 25, 2016, is expected to become the first U.S. senator to testify against another senator during a hearing to become a member of the president's cabinet. Booker said questionable statements and ideas about race should disqualify Sen. Jeff Sessions from becoming attorney general. File photo by Pat Benic/UPI
New Jersey Senator Cory Booker, pictured speaking on day one of the Democratic National Convention on July 25, 2016, is expected to become the first U.S. senator to testify against another senator during a hearing to become a member of the president's cabinet. Booker said questionable statements and ideas about race should disqualify Sen. Jeff Sessions from becoming attorney general. File photo by Pat Benic/UPI | License Photo

WASHINGTON, Jan. 10 (UPI) -- When Sen. Cory Booker testifies against Sen. Jeff Sessions on Wednesday, it will be the first time a sitting member of the U.S. Senate is set to testify against another member during a confirmation hearing for a Cabinet position.

Booker is expected to be one of three members of Congress to testify against Sessions, along with Georgia Rep. John Lewis and Louisiana Rep. Cedric Richmond, during the two-day confirmation hearing set to start Tuesday morning in Washington.

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Booker and others have expressed concern about some of Sessions previous acts and statements, including those discussed in 1986 during his failed-confirmation to become a federal judge because he'd called the NAACP and ACLU "un-American."

"I do not take lightly the decision to testify against a Senate colleague," Booker said. "But the immense powers of the attorney general combined with the deeply troubling views of this nominee is a call to conscience."

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Booker said Sessions' opposition to a criminal justice bill he has been working with other members of the Senate on, in addition to his views on drug police and immigration, as well as failure to defend minority groups, women or LGBT people.

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The longtime Republican senator has denied repeatedly that he is a racist, or was a racist 30 years ago, despite his comments and weak defense of them during his hearing, which motivated members of the Senate to move quickly to deny him.

Sessions also reportedly left off his financial disclosure forms the rights he has to about 600 acres, which contain oil and other minerals. The concern among those in the office is not that it makes a lot of money, about $4,700 per year, but because it is an oil contract connected to rights to a plot of land on public property.

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Sessions lawyer said they will prepare an amendment for the filing, however some Democrats say his ownership of the land rights should disqualify him from participating on a number of roles in the White House.

"The fact that his oil is in a federal wildlife refuge means he should not be involved in DOJ policies concerning drilling or environmental issues" involving federal reserves, said Trevor Potter, an ethics lawyer who has worked with several Republican candidates. "Clearly he should have disclosed the asset."

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