If marijuana users were looking for reassurance that the incoming Trump administration is not going to turn back the clock on pot legalization, they didn’t get it.
Trump’s pick for attorney general, Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions, was noncommittal when asked if the federal government would continue to take a hands-off approach to enforcement of marijuana laws in states where the drug is legal. Pot is now permitted for medical use in the majority of the states, and voters in eight states, including California, have approved laws allowing the sale of cannabis for recreational use.
“I won't commit to never enforcing federal law,” Sessions said at his confirmation hearing Tuesday. “But absolutely it's a problem of resources for the federal government.” He noted that his predecessors have laid out policies that enable states to pursue legalization unfettered. But then he pointed out that those policies are out of sync with federal law.
Robert F. Kennedy Jr., who has warned of a nonexistent link between childhood immunizations and the development of autism, has accepted an invitation from President-elect Donald Trump to lead a commission "on vaccine safety and scientific integrity," he told reporters Tuesday.
A Trump spokeswoman would not confirm Kennedy's comment.
Kennedy, son of the late U.S. attorney general, said the president-elect "has some doubts" about vaccine policies but said both of them were in favor of vaccines.
In a confirmation hearing repeatedly interrupted by protesters, Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions became President-elect Donald Trump's first Cabinet pick to answer senators vetting his political record. Jan. 10, 2017.
As a longtime member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Jeff Sessions has sat on the opposite side of the witness table for five previous confirmation hearings for attorney general candidates.
So it’s no surprise that the seasoned Alabama lawmaker avoided any self-inflicted wounds during his testimony Tuesday, keeping his composure during questioning and periodic disruptions from protesters in the audience.
The conservative Sessions assured Democratic colleagues that if confirmed as the nation’s top law enforcement officer, he would put the law above his own personal views.
In the first morning of two days of grilling over his record, President-elect Donald Trump's Attorney General nominee Sen. Jeff Sessions' fielding of questions on several of his most controversial votes and statements has done little to assuage criticism or fears from civil rights groups that have launched widespread campaigns against his confirmation.
Sessions, whose confirmation hearing was interrupted several times by protesters -- including those shouting "Sessions is a racist" and "black lives matter!" and donned Ku Klux Klan-like robes -- was asked Tuesday about his views on immigration, police misconduct, voting rights, racism, and LGBT rights, among other issues.
On social media, groups including the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the American Civil Liberties Union and the Council on American Islamic Relations responded to Sessions' remarks, contending he's unfit to be the nation's top law enforcer.
Donald Trump's Cabinet is still being formed, but so far, his picks are mostly white, with less political experience than President Obama's and former President George W. Bush's nominees and less business experience than Bush's choices.
See whom Trump has chosen and how each compares with the Cabinet picks that Obama and Bush made ahead of their inaugurations.
During his long fight against a path to legal status for people in the U.S. illegally, Sen. Jeff Sessions, poised to become attorney general, has leaned on allies in the immigration restriction movement. But the ideological foundation of these groups, dating from a different political era, was more about limiting population than securing the border.
Today, most environmentalists and anti-immigration activists line up on opposite political teams, but in the 1970s, controlling population was a key tenet of the environmental movement. When birthrates in the U.S. began falling, the groups focused on immigration. Eventually, mainstream environmentalists dropped their advocacy for limiting population growth.
But groups including NumbersUSA, the Foundation for American Immigration Reform and the Center for Immigration Studies, still push for lower immigration levels, and Sessions has worked closely with them to stop legislation advancing a path to citizenship.
Sen. Jeff Sessions testified before Congress on Tuesday that he believes the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, should continue to detain alleged terrorists.
"It's designed for that purpose," Sessions told members of the Senate Judiciary Committee weighing his bid to be the next attorney general. "It fits that purpose marvelously well. It's a safe place to keep prisoners. We've invested a lot of money" in it.
President Obama was unable to fulfill his pledge to close the prison, which since it began accepting detainees in 2002 has held a total of nearly 800 prisoners. The George W. Bush and Obama administrations have transferred the vast majority of those prisoners to other countries.