Politics

Claire McCaskill to Vote Against ‘Good Friend’ Jeff Sessions

Sen. Jeff Sessions (R., Ala.) with Sen. Claire McCaskill (D., Mo.) / AP

Missouri Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill, who once referred to Sen. Jeff Sessions (R., Ala.) as a "good friend" during a plea for politicians to work across the aisle, announced that she would be voting against her colleague's nomination to be attorney general.

McCaskill announced on Tuesday that she "cannot support" Sessions for attorney general, citing his past votes as a "window into how he would use that power."

Senate Democrats are pushing hard to ensure that their entire caucus votes against Sessions, even though it will not be enough to sink his confirmation. Republicans, who hold 52 seats in the Senate, are expected to confirm Sessions in a Wednesday evening vote.

The vote from McCaskill is surprising given her past statements on how well she has worked with her Alabama colleague.

"I have some good friends that are guys that are Republicans that I work with," McCaskill said during an MSNBC interview ahead of the 2011 State of the Union Address. "Jeff Sessions and I have been working on a spending freeze for the past year and we've gotten along well."

The statement was made as McCaskill was arguing for better relations between the two parties.

"We've got to start talking to each other more, we've got to start being willing to compromise," McCaskill said.

The comments came after the Republicans made gains in the Senate during the 2010 elections, which McCaskill saw as a call for the Senate to find "middle-ground" between the parties and not run away from the table.

"We have closer numbers now, so the Republicans have an obligation to participate in these debates and not walk away and blame us, but rather sit down at the table and see if we can find that really elusive middle-ground," she said.

Republicans at the time had 47 seats in the Senate, one less than Democrats currently have. McCaskill, who is facing reelection in 2018, has so far voted against both the confirmation of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos.