Cory Booker Lays Groundwork for 2020 Run at Jeff Sessions Hearings

MSN | 1/10/2017 | Tessa Berenson
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There may as well have been a banner hanging in the grand marble meeting room that housed Jeff Sessions’ hearings for attorney general: Booker 2020.

After 10.5 hours of questioning on Tuesday, Wednesday’s panel of witnesses felt less urgent alongside Donald Trump’s press conference and Secretary of State nominee Rex Tillerson’s hearings beginning a building away. But Booker, swarmed by far more cameras than any other witness of the day when he entered the room, used the afternoon to take a splashy stand and lay groundwork for a potential 2020 presidential run.

Choice - Senate - Norms - Conscience - Tells

“In a choice between standing with Senate norms and standing up for what my conscience tells me is best for our country, I will always choose conscience and country,” the junior Democratic senator from New Jersey said, acknowledging his unprecedented move. He’s believed to be the first sitting senator to testify against a colleague for a Cabinet post.

With members of the Congressional Black Caucus sitting behind him, Booker made an impassioned plea for the committee to oppose Sessions, citing the Alabama Senator’s record on voting rights, LGBTQ equality, immigration and criminal justice reform.

Arc - Universe - Towards - Justice - Booker

“The arc of the moral universe does not just naturally curve towards justice. We must bend it,” Booker said, alluding to a favorite line of President Obama’s and sounding more like he was delivering a rousing campaign speech than giving sworn testimony in a hearing.

Booker’s appearance calls to mind similar headline-grabbing actions by young presidential hopefuls of the past: then-Illinois Sen. Barack Obama filibustering Samuel Alito for the Supreme Court in 2006, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz leading the government shutdown over the Affordable Care Act in 2013, or Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul’s lengthy filibuster of the Patriot Act in 2015.

Cases

As in those cases,...
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