During his first confirmation hearing Tuesday, Donald Trump’s new attorney general Jeff Sessions said that he would not pursue charges against Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Sessions was asked by Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) about what he would do as head of the Justice Department, given his charged rhetoric during the 2016 presidential campaign. Sessions said that his own personal comments would conflict with the DOJ’s demand for objectivity:
I, like a lot of people, made comments the issues in that campaign with regard to Secretary Clinton and some of the comments I made. I do believe that that could place my objectivity in question. I’ve given that thought. I believe the proper thing for me to do would be to recuse myself from any questions involving those kinds of investigations that involve Secretary Clinton that were raised during the campaign — or could otherwise be connected to it.
Grassley responded, “When you say you’ll recuse, you mean that you’ll actually recuse and the decision will therefore fall to, I assume, a deputy attorney general. I ask because after Attorney General Lynch met with President Clinton in Phoenix, she said she would quote unquote ‘defer’ to the FBI, but she never officially recused.”
Sessions quipped that he would not have acted as Lynch did and “there’s a procedure for that, which I would follow.” He continued, “And I believe that would be the correct — best approach for the country, because we can never have a political dispute turn into a criminal dispute that’s not in any way that would suggest that anything other than absolute objectivity. This country does not punish its political enemies, but this country ensures that no one is above the law.”
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