SEE IT: DOJ interns challenge Sessions’ views on hot topics
Attorney General Jeff Sessions appeared more relaxed than usual at a private event in June, even as Department of Justice interns grilled him about his stances on LGBT rights, the opioid crisis, and other hot-button issues.
A video of the event, obtained by ABC News, shows one member of the class of college and graduate students challenge the attorney general’s views on marijuana and gun control.
“Since guns kill more people than marijuana, why do you support lax laws on one and harsh laws on the other?”
The student’s question prompted laughter from her peers.
Sessions responded with a jab at the student, asking her if she was aware of the second amendment, before explaining his belief that it is “as valid as the first amendment.”
He cited the American Medical Association’s characterization of the drug as “not a healthy substance,” with which the student disagreed.
Sessions then addressed the student as “Dr. whatever-your-name,” suggesting she write to the association “to see why they think otherwise.”
Sessions fielded a number of LGBT-centric questions—the event took place during LGBT pride month, which the Department of Justice and the Trump administration failed to recognize.
Sessions couldn’t say whether the White House would recognize the designation, but insisted the DOJ would protect everyone’s civil rights-a common refrain throughout the course of the event.
“You can be sure that we will protect transgender and all people in their civil rights.”
U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions fielded question from Department of Justice interns at a private event in June.
When asked about the so-called “bathroom bill,” Sessions said that any rulings should be up to state and local governments.
Other students fired off questions about the opioid crisis and questioned how the DOJ would handle the role of pharmaceutical companies, and doctors responsible for over-prescribing drugs.
Sessions conceded that the Department needs “pharmacies to get more responsible about containing the problem.”
A University of Berkeley student who said he was raised by a single mother, called on Sessions to address police brutality against minorities.
He said children raised in his community learned to fear the police, not their neighbors.
“I grew up in one of these communities,” said the intern. “I grew up in a project to a single mother. And the people who we are afraid of are not necessarily our neighbors, but the police.”
Sessions refuted the claim. “Well, that may be the view in Berkeley, but it’s not the view” elsewhere.
The video was released through a Freedom of Information Act request. The session, which took place on June 22, lasted for about 25 minutes.
A Justice Department spokeswoman told ABC News that the event enabled students “to have robust conversations—even debates—about the challenges facing our country with the attorney general.” She added that the department is “proud to provide hundreds of law students and undergraduates the opportunity to work with some of the finest lawyers in the country.”