In prepared remarks for a speech on Thursday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions blasted Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s (D-Mass.) accusation that the United States’ justice system was racist.
“We have inherited and advanced the greatest justice system in the history of the world,” Sessions said before announcing billions in funding for crime victims.
“Is it perfect? Of course not. But we are blessed to live under this system and to be stewards of it,” he added.
He argued that Warren’s accusation — that the criminal justice system was “racist […] front to back” — was a “slander of every law officer and every prosecutor in America.”
Sessions added that the “slur” was “sad,” insulted families and crime victims, and made law enforcement’s job even tougher amid already-challenging circumstances:
“Our officers face enough challenges — long and unpredictable work days, threats from violent criminals, and exposure to dangerous drugs, to name a few. The last thing that you need are political leaders and fellow citizens disrespecting you and the goals that you work so hard to accomplish.”
On Thursday night, Warren faced a tough question at a town hall in Massachusetts:
“As a young American of color, your recent comments that you made in New Orleans are just a little bit concnering to me. […] I’m just concerned that your rhetoric there is inciting some of the division that you claim the president is purporting. You say that Donald Trump undermines the justice system, but it highly concerns me that you made a blanket statement that the over 400 federal judges of color, thousands of law enforcement officers of color, and even the new black police commissioner of Boston of color are racist.”
Watch the video of the question and her response:
Warren went on to clarify that she didn’t mean to attack any individuals but the “system” as a whole:
“This wasn’t about individuals. I didn’t call any individual anything. What I was talking about is a system that has a lot of good people in it — a lot of people, law enforcement officers, judges, public defenders who, by golly, have dedicated their lives to getting out there, to try to build a justice system that works.”
She went on to claim that those same individuals called for reform in the criminal justice system.
During his Thursday speech, Sessions asked Warren what kind of system she would prefer and told her she wasn’t being helpful.
“The law officers who serve under this system do heroic work that enables us to live in peace,” he said. “Rather than deriding officers like you, senators could be helpful and give you the tools that you need to be successful.”
Sessions’ comments came as President Donald Trump’s administration defended immigration enforcement from Democratic attacks amid controversy surrounding the immigrant family separations at the southern border.
Vice President Mike Pence specifically denounced New York gubernatorial candidate and “Sex and the City” star Cynthia Nixon for calling Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) a “terrorist organization”:
Last year ICE agents rescued 518 human trafficking victims and 904 children subjected to exploitation — yet top Dems like Cynthia Nixon call ICE agents “terrorists.” What a disgrace. https://t.co/x0phQWbbru
— Mike Pence (@mike_pence) July 6, 2018
“What a disgrace,” he said of her comments.