Tester Meets with Attorney General Nominee Jeff Sessions

Senator Grills Sessions on Government Surveillance, Resources for Domestic Violence Survivors, and Public Safety

(U.S. Senate)-Senator Jon Tester today met with Senator Jeff Sessions (R-Alabama), President-elect Trump’s nominee to lead the U.S. Justice Department as Attorney General.

Tester asked Sessions about his longstanding history of opposing important civil liberties-including his vocal support for the Patriot Act and other government surveillance programs that infringe on Montanans’ right to privacy.

Tester also pushed Sessions to explain his opposition to the Violence Against Women Act, the landmark legislation that has empowered survivors of domestic and sexual violence and held offenders more accountable for their criminal actions, and he urged him to support the Community Orientated Policing Services (COPS) Grant Initiative that provides local law enforcement departments with critical resources to hire, train, and equip police officers.

“As our nation’s top law enforcement officer, it is the Attorney General’s responsibility to uphold the Constitution and defend all of our civil liberties,” Tester said after the meeting. “It is troubling to me that Senator Sessions didn’t answer many of those important questions. After this meeting, I am concerned that he will expand the government’s ability to spy on its citizens, refuse to be a voice for survivors of sexual and domestic violence, and will not advocate for important grants, like COPS Grants that help our local police department do the job they are hired to do.”

Tester encouraged Sessions during their meeting to direct federal law enforcement officials to work closer with Montana’s Native American Tribes to close the jurisdictional gaps in order to improve justice in Indian Country.

Since Tester launched a portal on his website to seek feedback on each of President-elect Trump’s nominees, hundreds of Montanans have contacted him regarding Senator Sessions’ nomination – most of them asking him to oppose the nomination.

Tester has long opposed the Patriot Act, calling it one of the worst pieces of legislation in modern history, and helped lead the charge to eliminate key provisions of the law-including ending the controversial practice of collecting bulk data on American citizens without their knowledge or consent.

Tester voted to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act and has helped make record investments in supporting survivors of domestic and sexual violence in Indian Country.

Sessions will appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee for a public hearing in the coming weeks before being subject to confirmation by the entire Senate.