The Senate will hold its final confirmation vote Wednesday night for Attorney General nominee Jeff Sessions.
Watch the vote live in the player above. PBS NewsHour will update this story as it develops.
Sessions faced a firestorm of Democratic criticism over his record on civil rights and other issues throughout the confirmation process. Wednesday’s confirmation vote comes amid rising tension between Republicans controlling the chamber over what they call delaying tactics by minority Democratic members that have left fewer of Trump’s picks in place than President Barack Obama had eight years ago.
Democrats contended Sessions is too close to Trump, too harsh on immigrants, and weak on civil rights. They asserted he wouldn’t do enough to protect voting rights of minorities, protections for gay people, the right of women to procure abortions, and immigrants in the country illegally to receive due process.
Republicans say Sessions has demonstrated over a long career in public service — and two decades in the Senate — that he possesses integrity, honesty, and is committed to justice and the rule of law.
“He’s honest. He’s fair. He’s been a friend to many of us, on both sides of the aisle,” Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said on Wednesday. “It’s been tough to watch all this good man has been put through in recent weeks. This is a well-qualified colleague with a deep reverence for the law. He believes strongly in the equal application of it to everyone.”
The Alabama Republican was expected to prevail on a near party-line evening vote over nearly unanimous Democratic opposition.
“There is simply nothing in Senator Sessions’ testimony before the Judiciary Committee that gives me confidence that he would be willing to stand up to the president,” said Sen. Pat Leahy, D-Vt. “He has instead demonstrated only blind allegiance.”
Sessions enjoys unanimous backing from fellow Republicans and cleared a procedural vote Tuesday afternoon by a 52-47 margin.