A Senate panel voted Wednesday morning to advance the nomination of Alabama Republican Sen. Jeff Sessions as U.S. attorney general — a day after Democrats clashed with Republicans over the future of the Department of Justice.
The Senate Judiciary Committee approved Sessions' nomination along party lines, 11-9, sending it to the full Senate for confirmation. Sessions is expected to easily win approval by the GOP-controlled chamber.
After Tuesday's hearing included fiery rhetoric against Sessions' nomination, Democrats on Wednesday again went after the four-term Alabama senator's record on civil rights, women's health care and his hard-line immigration stance.
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They also questioned whether he could be nonpartisan enforcing the federal laws as the nation's top attorney after being an early supporter of Donald Trump's candidacy for presidency.
At issue has been how Sessions would deal with Trump's controversial immigration ban and handle the president's unverified claim that there was widespread voter fraud during last year's election.
Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., said Wednesday that it's "the job of the attorney general to call [the president] out on" proven lies.
"It's important that we know if Sen. Sessions is able or willing to separate fact from fiction and speak truth to power," Franken said before the vote.
The urgent need for an attorney general also comes after Acting Attorney General Sally Yates was fired by Trump on Monday night after she refused to direct the Justice Department to enforce his controversial immigration ban.