The Senate confirms Senator Jeff Sessions as President Donald Trump’s attorney general. Meantime, Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren is in the spotlight after Republicans silenced her criticism of Sessions on the Senate floor.
"She Persisted" Becomes Rallying Cry After Senate Silences Elizabeth Warren
PETER ALEXANDER, reporting:
Jeff Sessions will be sworn in as Attorney General this morning here at the White House, becoming the nation’s top law enforcer. But it comes at the very same time that President Trump is again taking shots at one of the pillars of this country, an independent judiciary that administers the rule of law. President Trump got his man.
MAN: The nomination is confirmed.
ALEXANDER: The Senate late Wednesday confirming Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who’s helped shape the President’s policies, including on immigration. Session’s opponents teeing off overnight.
SENATOR CHUCK SCHUMER: When Jeff Sessions was passed, it turned my stomach. He doesn’t belong there. And I think a lot of Republicans know it.
ALEXANDER: The fierce debate over Sessions, putting Democrat Elizabeth Warren in the spotlight, after Republicans formally silenced her for speaking negatively about her fellow senator.
SENATOR MITCH MCCONNELL: She was warned. Nevertheless, she persisted.
ALEXANDER: That quote instantly becoming a rallying cry, already on t-shirts. Hillary Clinton tweeting, “She persisted, so must we all.” But President Trump’s latest critic, his own Supreme Court pick, Judge Neil Gorsuch. Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal revealing Gorsuch spoke to him about the President’s criticism of fellow judges.
SENATOR RICHARD BLUMENTHAL: He certainly expressed to me that he is disheartened by the demoralizing and abhorrent comments made by President Trump about the judiciary.
ALEXANDER: Comments confirmed by a Gorsuch aide. All of it following Mister Trump’s tough talk about the three federal judges set to rule on the President’s temporary travel ban.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: That was disgraceful. Courts seem to be so political.
ALEXANDER: President Trump says the legal issue should be simple that he acted within his power to protect National Security.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: If you’re a good student in high school or a bad student in high school, you can understand this.
ALEXANDER: Still, it’s extremely rare for any President to criticize a court while a case is still pending. On Twitter, Mister Trump later called it an Easy D, presumably meaning easy decision. But that phrase with multiple potential meanings immediately began trending. Also this morning new battle lines being drawn hitting the White House against Senator John McCain over a counterterrorism raid in Yemen, the White House has repeatedly called a success despite the death of Navy SEAL Ryan Owens.
SENATOR JOHN MCCAIN: A life is lost and wounded. I don’t believe that you can call it a success.
SEAN SPICER: I think anybody who-- who undermines the success of that raid owes an apology and a disservice to the life of Chief Owens.
ALEXANDER: McCain, a prisoner of war in Vietnam, rejecting that rebuke, insisting his record speaks for itself. And just this morning, the President is tearing into that Democratic Senator who had the private courtesy visit with Judge Gorsuch. Donald Trump writes, “Sen. Richard Blumenthal, who never fought in Vietnam when he said for years he had (major lie), now misrepresents what Judge Gorsuch told him?” To be very clear, Gorsuch aides confirm to NBC News that the judge said that he was disheartened by President Trump’s demoralizing comments. And on top of that this morning, we have learned that the Senate’s top Democrat, Chuck Schumer, says Gorsuch said roughly the same thing to him. Matt?
MATT LAUER, anchor:
All right. Peter Alexander at the White House on this for us. Peter, thanks very much.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — President Donald Trump has chosen, or nominated, Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court. If the lawmakers in Congress approve the nomination, Gorsuch will serve on the highest court in the land and could help to shape America's laws for years to come.
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