Got a TV Licence?

You need one to watch live TV on any channel or device, and BBC programmes on iPlayer. It’s the law.

Find out more
I don’t have a TV Licence.

Summary

  1. Jeff Sessions, Donald Trump's pick for attorney general, is being grilled by the Senate Judiciary Committee
  2. When challenged by Democrats, Senator Sessions, 69, defends his civil rights record
  3. The Alabama senator says an Obama executive order protecting some illegal immigrants is "questionable"
  4. He says he will recuse himself from any investigation into former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton
  5. If confirmed, he will be America's 84th attorney general

Live Reporting

By Robert Greenall

All times stated are UK

  1. Sessions Senate grilling continues...

    Senator Jeff Sessions during his Senate Judiciary Committee hearing.

    That's all for the live page today, but check back tomorrow for more from day two of Sen Sessions' hearings along with coverage of hearings for former ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson, Secretary of State nominee, Mike Pompeo, nominated for CIA director, and Elaine Chao, prospective Transportation Secretary. 

  2. Ted Cruz condemns Obama administration

    Ted Cruz used a large part of his time criticise the Obama administration and, more specifically, former Attorney General Eric Holder. 

    He said he enthusiastically supported Sen Sessions' nomination, noting he would make a "superb" attorney general. 

    During Mr Cruz's remarks, more protesters were escorted out of the room as they chanted: “Black Lives Matter” and “Sessions is a racist!”

  3. Senator Durbin challenges Sessions on immigration

    Democratic Senator Richard Durbin challenged Sen Sessions on immigration, saying he would be unable to resolve the challenge of a broken system fairly. 

    The nominee responded that he could, and warned against a "cycle of amnesty". Here's a clip of the exchange: 

    Video content

    Video caption: Democrat to Sessions: "Tell me I'm wrong"
  4. Lunch break

    The Senate Judiciary Committee chairman announces a half-hour break for lunch.

  5. Sessions defends zero-tolerance border policy

    Sen Sessions said he thought a zero-tolerance policy for illegal immigration introduced on Arizona's border with Mexico was very effective, and called for rules that undermined it to be re-examined.

  6. Has Barack Obama improved race relations?

    With race relations a theme running through Sen Sessions' confirmation hearing, the BBC's Nick Bryant has been reflecting on the legacy of America's first black president:

    "America's racial problems have not melted away merely because Obama has spent eight years in the White House. Far from it," he writes.

    "Indeed, the insurmountable problem for Obama was that he reached the mountaintop on day one of his presidency.

    "Achieving anything on the racial front that surpassed becoming the country's first black president was always going to be daunting. Compounding that problem were the unrealistically high expectations surrounding his presidency."

    Read Nick's full piece here.

  7. On calls for Hillary Clinton to be jailed

    Asked by Sen Sheldon Whitehouse whether he ever chanted "lock her up", referring to Hillary Clinton, during the election campaign, Mr Sessions said he did not.

    The slogan was often used by Donald Trump at his campaign rallies to call for Mrs Clinton to be jailed over her use of a private email server while she was secretary of state.

  8. Sessions 'will cause crime to get even worse', activist tweets

    Samuel Sinyangwe, an activist in New York, took issue with the link Sen Sessions apparently drew between criticism of the police, and an increase in urban crime. 

    In a thread tweeted to his 37,000 followers, Sinyangwe argues that Sen Sessions does not understand the problem - and neither does the all-white committee.

    View more on twitter
    View more on twitter
    View more on twitter
    View more on twitter
  9. Analysis: Racism accusations

    Anthony Zurcher

    BBC North America reporter

    Jeff Sessions during his confirmation hearing

    When Jeff Sessions entered the Senate Committee chambers for his attorney general confirmation hearings, he was greeted by two protesters in the audience posing as Ku Klux Klan members, addressing him by his very southern-sounding first and middle names:

    “Jefferson Beauregard, you speak for the people,” they shouted.

    Although much of the Democratic criticism of Sen Sessions has focused on his Senate voting record so far, the subject of Southern racism - and past accusations of racist jokes made by the attorney general nominee in the 1980s - hang over the proceedings.

    In the run-up to his confirmation hearings, Trump transition officials and their media supporters have been touting what they contend is Mr Sessions’ strong record on civil rights.

    During his opening remarks, Mr Sessions attempted to get the jump on his critics.

    “I deeply understand the history of civil rights and the horrendous impact that relentless and systemic discrimination and the denial of voting rights has had on our African-American brothers and sisters,” he said. “I have witnessed it."

    The most telling moment early in the proceedings was when fellow southern Senator Lindsey Graham questioned Jeff Sessions about how he felt being accused of racism

    “When you have a southern name and come from South Alabama, that sounds worse to some people," he said, as Sen Graham nodded in agreement.

    Sen Sessions added that he was "caricatured" during his failed judicial nomination in 1986 and he "didn't respond very well".

    The attorney general’s detractors have already pounced on the exchange as an example of how the Republican Party doesn’t understand.

    “It's a microcosm of this country's "conversation" around race,” tweeted Slate’s Jamelle Bouie. “How it makes some people feel is more important than, say, public policy.”

  10. Sessions quizzed on police relations

    The senator was also quizzed on the relationship between police and the public - at a time of tense race relations and increasing criticism of the police.

    Sen Sessions said he felt that criticism of a few officers' actions was being applied to the whole service.

    He also seemed to suggest there was a link between the "decreasing morale" of police forces and an increase in crime in Baltimore and Chicago.

    View more on twitter
    View more on twitter
  11. Civil rights groups tweet from the hearing

    The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People - an established civil rights group - has been tweeting from the hearing room.

    The American Civil Liberties Union has also been following the case - and has been tweeting criticism of the prospective attorney general.

    View more on twitter
    View more on twitter
    View more on twitter
    View more on twitter
  12. Religious freedom a 'high priority'

    Sen Sessions stresses that - if confirmed - religious freedom "would be a very high priority of mine".

  13. Guantanamo Bay suits its purpose 'remarkably well'

    Asked about the controversial Guantanamo Bay prison, Sen Session said it should stay open.

    “It fits [its] purpose marvellously well. It's a safe place to keep prisoners. We’ve invested a lot of money in that and I believe it should be utilised in that fashion," he said.

    At that point he was interrupted by a protester.

    Sen Graham, before resuming his questions, said sarcastically: “I think they’re on the fence about gitmo but I’m not sure.”

  14. Russian hacking claims

    Asked whether he believes the accusations of Russian hacking during the US presidential campaign, Sen Sessions answers: "I've done no research into that."

    He then agrees with a Senate member that he should be briefed on the issue as soon as possible.

  15. Sessions quizzed on hate crime legislation

    Sen Patrick Leahy

    Sen Sessions is asked about his comments about not being sure that women, or people of different sexual orientations, face the kind of discrimination that hate crimes legislation is designed to prevent.

    “That does not sound like something I said or intended to say,” he said - before Sen Leahy interrupts to assure Mr Sessions he did, in fact, say it.

    “I’ve seen things taken out of context,” he said.

    In a back-and-forth exchange, he said his concerns were mainly that states, rather than the federal government, should consider the issue.

    Pressed on his previous objections to the expansion of hate crime legislation, he was simply asked: “Do you still feel that way?”

    “The law has been passed, the congress has spoken – you can be sure I will enforce it,” Sen Session replied.

  16. Two more protesters removed

    The hearing has been interrupted yet again, as two more people begin to chant the same phrase - "No Trump, no KKK, no fascist USA".

    They are both quickly removed, and the hearing continues.

    View more on twitter
  17. Muslim ban controversy

    Asked whether he agrees that the US should deny entry to members of a particular religion (a reference to Donald Trump's campaign comments on banning Muslims from entering the country), Sen Sessions answers: "I believe the president-elect has, subsequent to that statement, made clear that he believes the focus should be on individuals coming from countries that have a history of terrorism." 

    "And he's also indicated that's his policy, and what he suggests is the strong vetting of people from those countries before they are admitted to the US." 

  18. Analysis: Sessions and the Clinton case

    Anthony Zurcher

    BBC North America reporter

    Sen Sessions, left, shakes Donald Trump's hand during the campaign

    During the presidential campaign, Sen Sessions was often sharply critical of Hillary Clinton. 

    He said that the FBI should have been more aggressive in investigating her use of a private email system and possible corruption in the Clinton family’s charitable foundation.

    But if he becomes attorney general, he will be responsible, among other duties, for overseeing the FBI and government corruption investigations.

    Perhaps recognising that his prior comments could make him a target for attacks from Clinton supporters and others on the left, Mr Sessions tried to sidestep this potential political minefield.

    More than that, he seemed to downplay the prospect of any renewed investigation into Mrs Clinton now that she has returned to private life.

    "We cannot have a political dispute turn into a criminal dispute,” he told the committee. “This country does not punish its political enemies."

    Mr Trump himself has said since his election that he is uninterested in following up on his campaign comments that Mrs Clinton should be sent to jail – and the attorney general nominee appears to be following the president-elect’s lead.

    Assurances, of course, are not guarantees. 

    And even if Mr Sessions recuses himself from involvement in the Justice Department, his subordinates would be free to pursue any action they see fit.

  19. Same-sex marriage

    Sen Jeff Sessions during his confirmation hearing
    Image caption: Sen Jeff Sessions during his confirmation hearing

    Sen Sessions was asked whether he agreed that the issue of same-sex marriage was settled law.

    He replied by saying that the Supreme Court had ruled and he would respect this. 

    "The dissents dissented vigorously - but it was five to four. And five justices on the Supreme Court, a majority of the court, have established the definition of marriage for the entire USA and I will follow that decision."

    In June 2015, the Supreme Court ruled that same-sex marriage was a legal right across the country.

  20. Roe v Wade 'violated the constitution' - Sessions

    In questioning, Sen Feinstein quizzed Mr Sessions on Roe v Wade - the United States' landmark abortion case of the 1970s.

    In the past, Sen Sessions called the case "one of the worst colossally erroneous Supreme Court decisions of all time".

    Asked if that is still his belief he said: 

    "It is. I believe it violated the constitution, it really attempted to set policy and not follow law."

    But, he said, "it has been so established and settled for quite a long time and it deserves respect and I would respect it and follow it."