Distasteful: Matthews Hints Jeff Sessions Being Racist for Attitude Toward Black Dem in Hearing

On Tuesday’s Hardball, MSNBC pundit Chris Matthews hinted to Democratic Congressman Hakeem Jeffries (N.Y.) that Attorney General Jeff Sessions was engaging in racist behavior based off of his attitude in answering questions from African-American lawmakers during the marathon House Judiciary Committee hearing.

The baseless and tasteless accusation came in the second of three questions to Jeffries, who was one such member of Congress who participated in the questioning.

Matthews first asked by hinting about the possibility of Sessions having committed perjury based on past statements to congressional committees about his interactions with Russians.

The Hardball host then pulled the pin and lobbed the proverbial grenade into the interview: “Did you notice anything sort of ethnic about his attitude in answering your questions, something that rattled him, he seemed disturbed that it was you asking the questions? Did you sense anything there?”

Jeffries replied “not necessarily” and pivoted back to the content of what Sessions told him, stating in part: 

[B]ut I do think he seemed a little agitated that I referenced his own words in a speech that he gave when justifying his vote to remove Bill Clinton from office on the charge of perjury and Jeff Sessions referenced, during his Senate floor speech, the fact that when he was a U.S. Attorney he prosecuted a young police officer who failed to provide accurate testimony during a deposition even though that young police officer subsequently corrected the record. 

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Nonetheless, Matthews subtly kept pushing at the narrative of Sessions and racism, asking Jeffries if he’s “concerned about” the Sessions Justice Department’s “hiring standards” and “lack of diversity.” 

Jeffries was far more willing to meet Matthews halfway on this count, agreeing that there’s “reason to be concerned” and especially after Congressional Black Caucus Chairman Cedric Richmond (D-La.) “had a very thorough question and answer session with the Attorney General, and….the Attorney General indicated that he had absolutely no diversity as it relates to African-Americans in his senior ranks.”

The latest case of an MSNBC liberal playing the race card was brought to you by Hardball advertisers American Express, ExxonMobil, Farmers Insurance, and Match.com.

Here’s the relevant transcript from MSNBC’s Hardball on November 14:

MSNBC’s Hardball
November 14, 2017
7:24 p.m. Eastern

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Breaking News; Sessions Rebuts Reussia Contradictions, Says He “Told the Truth”

CHRIS MATTHEWS: Congressman Jeffries, I haven’t met you before but you — you’re an attorney and I wanted to ask you and you’ve worked as a clerk to a federal judge. I — I won — this is a question of the law. If you keep saying you forgot, you forgot, does that save you from a perjury indictment?

DEMOCRATIC CONGRESSMAN HAKIM JEFFRIES (N.Y.): Well, it absolutely does not and I pointed out in the first part of any questioning of Jeff Sessions that he, himself, made the point in October of 2016 that when Hillary Clinton said I don’t remember over 35 times, that if that was intentional, that itself could constitute the crime of perjury. Now it turns out that Jeff Sessions earlier this year testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee, said I don’t recall approximately 30 times, same thing before the Senate Judiciary Committee today, repeatedly said I don’t recall at least 25 times. So it was a classic case over and over and over again of selective amnesia when convenient. It’s clear, Chris, that he has been less than truthful on multiple occasions when testifying before Congress about contacts between himself, the Trump campaign and Russia and that’s a serious thing. 

MATTHEWS: Did you notice anything sort of ethnic about his attitude in answering your questions, something that rattled him, he seemed disturbed that it was you asking the questions? Did you sense anything there? 

JEFFRIES: Well, not necessarily, but I do think he seemed a little agitated that I referenced his own words in a speech that he gave when justifying his vote to remove Bill Clinton from office on the charge of perjury and Jeff Sessions referenced, during his Senate floor speech, the fact that when he was a U.S. Attorney he prosecuted a young police officer who failed to provide accurate testimony during a deposition even though that young police officer subsequently corrected the record. Now, Chris, I pointed out, simply that he has repeatedly done the same exact thing and Sessions said that Bill Clinton should be held to a standard that is the same as that young police officer, seems to me reasonable that the Attorney General of the United States of America should be held to the standard that Jeff Sessions held that young police officer to when he ruined his life and prosecuted him for perjury. 

MATTHEWS: Are you concerned about his hiring standards at Justice, his lack of diversity? 

JEFFRIES: Well that’s reason to be concerned. Cedric Richmond, the chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, had a very thorough question and answer session with the Attorney General, and in response to a question from Congressman Richmond about his senior staff, the Attorney General indicated that he had absolutely no diversity as it relates to African-Americans in his senior ranks. 

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Breaking News; A.G. Sessions Grilled About Trump Campaign & Russia]

And given all the important issues under the jurisdiction of the Department of Justice, including the criminal justice system, voter suppression, the upholding of civil rights laws in an era of increased hate crimes, it would seem to me to be reasonable that the DOJ should reflect the gorgeous mosaic of the United States of America and it does not. 

MATTHEWS: Thank you, sir. 

This post originally appeared on NewsBusters

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