Sen. Dick Durbin met with President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee for attorney general, Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions, on Wednesday afternoon in Washington, D.C.
"I have a long and personal relationship with Senator Sessions and know him to be a strong advocate for his political positions," Durbin said in a statement Wednesday. "However, the job of U.S. Attorney General requires a much broader world view than his current one."
According to Durbin's office, the senator discussed a range of issues with Sessions, including gun violence and Justice Department funding in Chicago, comprehensive immigration reform, criminal justice reform, policing and civil rights, race relations, and Trump's proposed ban on Muslims in America.
"My responsibility as a member of the Judiciary Committee is to fairly and thoroughly consider nominations to positions in the Department of Justice, the Attorney General of the United States being the most important," Durbin added. "While cabinet nominees are always cautious, our exchange was frank, and I told Senator Sessions that he would be hearing about these issues again at his hearing next week."
Sessions, who was one of the first members of Congress to endorse Trump’s candidacy, has faced considerable pushback since being named the president-elect's nominee for attorney general.
On Tuesday, leaders from the NAACP staged a sit-in at Sessions' Mobile office to protest the nomination. In a tweet, NAACP President Cornell Williams Brooks claimed the group would occupy the office “until he withdraws as a AG nominee or we’re arrested."
Later that evening, Brooks was among a group of six protesters arrested at Sessions' office, charged with misdemeanor criminal trespass and released on bond, the Associated Press reports.
Additionally, over 1,100 law school professors nationwide oppose Sessions’ nomination, according to the Washington Post. In a letter to Congress, the group claimed they’re worried that Sessions “will not fairly enforce our nation’s laws and promote justice and equality in the United States.”
Sessions has pushed expanded immigration enforcement, argued against expanding LGBT protections and compiled a controversial record with African-Americans, according to NBC News.
Over the course of his career, Sessions attempted to prosecute charges of voter fraud by black civil rights activists when we was the U.S. attorney in Mobile in the 1980’s. Additionally, the former prosecutor's failed 1986 nomination to the federal bench was derailed by allegations of racist remarks.
The Senate Judiciary Committee is scheduled to begin hearings on Sessions’ nomination Jan. 10. The Democratic National Committee wants Sessions to recuse himself from the vote, which is customary for senators nominated for cabinet posts, MSNBC reports.