The Senate Intelligence Committee Let Jeff Sessions Off the Hook

Attorney General Jeff Sessions is sworn in prior to testifying before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., on June 13, 2017. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

The Senate Intelligence Committee didn’t do its job. No one, not one person on the Senate Intelligence Committee, asked the question Attorney General Jeff Sessions needed to answer: How long has he been working for Donald Trump while secretly making cookies in a tree?!

How do you have the head Keebler elf, arguably the highest-ranking elf in Keebler history, in front of you and don’t ask how the hell they make cookies in a damn tree?! Do the other elves make living wages? Do they have health care? Do they have a pension?


How do you let him off the hook?!

Look, if you close your eyes, Sessions sounds like 1950s Southern racism. He literally is the vocal embodiment of Jim Crow, and the fact that he looks like a Keebler elf, and sounds like hatred of “coloreds,” is troubling. Also, I hate when old people wear little glasses. It’s kind of like British judges who wear powdered wigs; it’s just weird.


Also, I think every person who sits in front of the Senate Intelligence Committee is really there just to read his or her opening statement. Sessions came out swinging, calling any rumors or reports that he “participated in anything to hurt this country” an “appalling and detestable lie.” Aside from that, I’d say Sessions did about as expected. He was fake charming the way old Southern racism is fake charming, and just an old man with early-onset dementia when need be. The true stars to come out of this hearing were Sens. Angus King (I-Maine) and Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), and the real loser was Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.).

Cotton was a waste. He started his questioning chastising the members of the committee and then opened his questioning asking Sessions if he read fiction and liked James Bond and Jason Bourne movies. We saw what you were doing there, Cotton, and you needed to stop it with the political smug. Cotton should have yielded his time to an adult. Like Kamala Harris and Angus King, the real MVPs.


King and Harris were not here for Sessions’ bullshit; not his general bullshit or his fake-befuddled, Southern-fried bullshit. First off, King wanted to understand why Sessions wasn’t answering questions that weren’t classified. He also pressed Sessions on whether the president had invoked executive privilege, to which Sessions replied that the president had not, adding that Trump was the only one who could invoke such privilege.

So King wanted to know why Sessions was refusing to answer questions about unclassified conversations. Sessions offered no clear reason why he wouldn’t answer all questions, just gave some Southern buttered bullshit about the president being allowed to decide if he wants to invoke executive privilege.


See the testy exchange below:

And I have to point this out because it was glaring and unsettling: Why were the chairs of the Senate Intelligence Committee constantly trying to wrangle and silence Harris? Tuesday marked the second time that Harris was reprimanded during Senate Intelligence Committee hearings. She was silenced during former FBI Director James Comey’s hearings, and then again during Tuesday’s hearing with Sessions.


But Harris was not here for Sessions’ anti-marijuana-laced bullshit. She jumped on Sessions early and fast, pressing him about documentation that he may have kept, since he didn’t seem to recall anything. She began drilling Sessions with questions about whether he’d ever had meetings with Russian nationals, to which Sessions continually claimed, “I don’t recall.”

And then, as Harris tried to shut up his slow, Southern-steeped bullshit, Sessions shouted: “Will you let me qualify it? If I don’t qualify, you’ll accuse me of lying! I’m not able to be rushed this fast; it makes me nervous.”


Shortly after the exchange, Harris was told to allow the witness to answer. Watch Harris press Sessions, only to be chided by the Senate Intelligence Committee chairs for the second time:

I will say this: Sessions was nothing if not forceful in responding to the questions he did choose to answer, and direct in laying it on thick. It was clear from the onset that he didn’t plan to answer anything directly. In fact, saying “I don’t recall” with a lot of Southern bass in your voice can make you sound believable, even when you are not.


But Sessions, much like the rest of Trump’s Cabinet, is a waste of space and time. In truth, you would think that Sessions would be pro-weed, considering that his real livelihood depends on cookie sales, but until I see his tax records and he can confirm that the other elves are making livable wages, he can go back into the tree from which he came.

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About the author

Stephen A. Crockett Jr.

Senior Editor @ The Root, boxes outside my weight class, when they go low, you go lower.