U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions Offered Attorney General Post

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Alabama U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions has been offered the position of attorney general in the Trump administration.

Sessions was the first member of the U.S. Senate to endorse Trump during this year’s presidential campaign and has been one of his closest allies.

Meanwhile, some advocates are voicing concern that if he becomes attorney general, Jeff Sessions could sideline or undo some of the civil rights efforts of the Obama administration. Those efforts have included investigations of police departments for unconstitutional practices, and lawsuits aimed at protecting the rights of transgender individuals, black voters and the disabled.

A Senate confirmation hearing for the Alabama senator could rehash the racially-charged allegations that derailed Sessions’ efforts to become a federal judge.

During that 1986 hearing, Sessions was criticized for joking in the presence of an attorney with the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division that the Ku Klux Klan was “OK” until he learned they smoked marijuana. He was also said to have called a black assistant U.S. attorney “boy” and the NAACP “un-American” and “communist-inspired.”

Sessions has called those allegations “false distortions.”

In defending his record, Sessions is likely to point to his vote to confirm Eric Holder as the country’s first black attorney general. He’s also expected to highlight his sponsorship of the bipartisan Fair Sentencing Act. It repealed the mandatory minimum penalty for simple crack possession – a penalty that’s been shown to disproportionately affect black defendants.

(Copyright 2016 The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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