Leahy questions Sessions over Trump's 'Access Hollywood' comments

Sessions asked about 'Access Hollywood' tape
Sessions asked about 'Access Hollywood' tape

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Sessions asked about 'Access Hollywood' tape 01:26

Story highlights

  • This was the first time the conversation was brought up
  • "Clearly, it would be," Sessions responded

Washington (CNN)Attorney General-designate Jeff Sessions was asked Tuesday about President-elect Donald Trump's infamous hot-mic comments in which he boasted about being able to sexually assault women and get away with it.

The 2005 "Access Hollywood" conversation, which leaked during the 2016 election, featured Trump making lewd and sexually aggressive remarks about women. In the recording, Trump said he could grab women "by the pussy" and that he would sometimes "just start kissing them."
    Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy asked Sessions about the conversation during the Alabama Republican's confirmation hearing and if he thought what Trump described amounted to sexual assault.
    "Is grabbing a woman by her genitals, without consent, is that sexual assault?" Leahy asked during the hearing.
    "Clearly, it would be," Sessions responded.
    "If a sitting President or any other high federal official was accused of committing what the President-elect described in a context in which it could be federally prosecuted, would you be able to prosecute and investigate?" Leahy asked Sessions.
    "The President is subject to certain lawful restrictions and they would be required to be applied by the appropriate law enforcement official if appropriate, yes," Sessions responded.
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    Sessions grew increasingly agitated by the exchange, unable to directly say whether he would investigate and prosecute a federal official for similar remarks made by the President-elect.
    "My question is very simple: Is grabbing a woman by the genitals without her consent sexual assault?" Leahy asked.
    "Yes," Sessions responded.
    This was the first time that the leaked recording was brought up during the hearing.