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Sen. Jeff Sessions defends his civil rights record, promises to prioritize law over his personal views

Del Quentin Wilber, Tribune Washington Bureau on

Published in News & Features

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., asked whether Sessions believed Russia was behind the hacks of the Democratic National Committee and Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta. Emails hacked from the DNC and Podesta's email account disrupted the Clinton campaign, and the intelligence community and the FBI have concluded that the cyber attacks were ordered by high-ranking Russian officials with the goal of hurting Clinton and helping Trump.

Sessions said he had not been briefed on the investigation but has "no reason to doubt" the findings. As attorney general, Sessions would play a large role in helping decide how to respond to such an attack during Trump's tenure.

"When a nation uses their improperly gained ... information to take policy positions that impact another nation's democracy or their approach to any issue, then that raises real serious matters," Sessions said.

Trump, by contrast, has questioned the intelligence findings and dismissed claims of the Russian hack as an effort to delegitimize his election.

Sessions sidestepped questions about whether he would recuse himself from any investigations involving Russia and the Trump campaign, saying he had not publicly commented on that and would review any such case to determine whether "it should stay within the jurisdiction of the attorney general or not."

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