Attorney General Jeff Sessions must have made a great first impression with a recent group of DOJ interns — if they appreciated sarcasm.
In a question-and-answer session between Sessions and Justice Department interns this past summer, the interns asked the AG about his positions on marijuana access, police violence, and LGTBQ rights, a video obtained and published Thursday by ABC News revealed.
“You support pretty harsh policies for marijuana, and pretty lax gun control laws. I’m not even sure where you stand on the assault weapons ban,” one intern asked. “So I’d like to know, since guns kill more people than marijuana, why lax laws on one versus the other?”
“That’s an apples-and-oranges question, I would say first and foremost,” Sessions said with a laugh. “But the Second Amendment — you’re aware of that? — guarantees the right of the people to keep and bear arms, and I intend to defend that Second Amendment.”
Sessions’ comment, however, drew laughs and boos from the crowd. And his follow-up didn’t help: After talking more about the Second Amendment, he went on, “Marijuana is not a healthy substance, in my opinion. The American Medical Association is crystal-clear on that. Do you believe that?”
“I, I don’t,” the intern said.
“OK, Dr. Whatever-your-name-is, so you can write the AMA and see why they think otherwise.”
Things went mostly downhill from there. One intern, who said he studied law at University of California Berkeley, asked Sessions about police reform and his review of consent decrees, legally-binding agreements between the Justice Department and police departments that aim to better policing practices.
The student told Sessions, “I grew up in the projects to a single mother, and the people that we are afraid of are not necessarily our neighbors, but the police.”
“That may be the view in Berkeley,” Sessions retorted, “but that’s not the view in most places — ”
“That’s the view in Columbus, Ohio, where the police recently stomped on a gentleman’s head,” the student shot back.
Sessions did, however, tell several interns that he planned to protect LGBTQ rights and to “protect the civil rights of everybody,” though he added that he believes local governments have the right to legislate who can access which bathrooms.
When the last questioner stepped up, Sessions joked, “This is not a very timid group. I like this.”