Sessions Downplayed Relationship With Breitbart News In Senate Questionnaire

Manuel Balce Ceneta

President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee for attorney general, Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), vastly undercounted his appearances on Breitbart News’ radio programs and website in a questionnaire required for his confirmation hearings, according to a review by Right Wing Watch published Thursday.

In Sessions’ questionnaire for the Senate Judiciary Committee, he listed nine appearances collectively on Breitbart’s audio platforms, including Breitbart Sirius XM Radio and Breitbart Daily Radio Show, and four print interviews on Breitbart’s website.

But Right Wing Watch found nine additional radio interviews and three print interviews Sessions had given the publication since 2013 alone, along with a “handful” of op-eds Sessions had written for the site, that weren't listed on the questionnaire.

In one omitted interview from Oct. 5, 2015, Sessions lamented the state of U.S. immigration policies and pined for the immigration quotas that existed up until 1965.

“In fact, when the numbers reached about this high in 1924, the president and Congress changed the policy, and it slowed down immigration significantly,” Sessions told Steve Bannon, then Breitbart News’ executive chairman. “We then assimilated, through 1965, and created really a solid middle class of America with assimilated immigrants, and it was good for America. And then we passed this law that went far beyond what anybody realized in 1965, and we’re on a path to surge far past what the situation was in 1924.”

In another unlisted interview, dated June 12, hours after a mass shooting at an Orlando LGBT nightclub, Sessions said that elites in politics and government did not take the threat of Islamic extremism seriously.

"We've discovered–and finally got the Department of Justice to give us at least the information–that they've convicted 570 people for terrorism-related offenses since 9/11," he said. "Almost all of those, well over 90 percent, come from Islamic countries. We're not having threats from our Japanese immigrants. We're not having threats from the Netherlands. I mean, can't we get serious about this?

The Senate questionnaire asks respondents to “[l]ist all interviews you have given to newspapers, magazines or other publications, or radio or television stations.” The omitted interviews flagged by Right Wing Watch aren't the first thing Sessions neglected to include on the questionnaire, which is supposed to give committee members a comprehensive look at nominees’ pasts.

Earlier this month, NPR reported that Sessions had left off his failed bid for a federal judgeship, as the questionnaire asks in one section for “unsuccessful nominations for appointed offices." In 1986, Sessions was rejected for the judgeship by the same committee he will face as a nominee for attorney general after co-workers testified that he made racially insensitive remarks to them.

Senate Judiciary Chair Chuck Grassley (R-IA) announced in early December that Sessions’ hearings would be scheduled for Jan. 10-11, likely the earliest of any of Trump’s cabinet officials.

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