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Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) faced a confirmation hearing on Tuesday to become the next attorney general. During the hearing, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) asked Sessions to address negative comments that were made during the FBI investigation into former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s email server while secretary of State.

“In light of those comments that you made, some have expressed concern about whether you can approach the Clinton matter impartially in both fact and appearance,” noted Grassley. He asked Sessions how he would do to address the concerns of his impartiality.

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Sessions said that the campaign was “contentious” and accepted the fact that he had indeed made negative comments. Because of that, Sessions shared his decision to “recuse” himself:

I do believe that could place my objectivity in question. I’ve given that thought. I believe the proper thing for me to do would be to recuse myself from any questions involving those kinds of investigations that involve Sec. Hillary Clinton and that were raised during the campaign.

Grassley asked Sessions to confirm whether he meant both the server investigation and the investigation into the Clinton Foundation.

“Yes,” Sessions replied. He later stated that “we could never have a political dispute turn into a criminal dispute.”

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