]>> With angry protests erupting around him in the hearing room, Senator Jeff Sessions bid to become U.S. Attorney General on Tuesday rapidly turning into a referendum on his record on race and his commitment to civil rights.>> I supported fully the historic cases that the Justice Department filed to advance civil rights.
>> The first of President-elect Donald Trump's nominees to face a grilling, Sessions straining to defend himself against allegations of racial bias dating back to the 1980s. Among them, charges that he once held favorable views of the Ku Klux Klan.>> For the Klan and what it represents, and its hateful ideology.
>> Sessions rejecting the charges, and saying that the nation's top lawyer, he would be an impartial defender of the rights of all Americans. Julia Edwards Ansley is following the story.>> Eight protester groups have been thrown out of the hearing as they have heckled and disrupted the process.
Sessions was thought of as an outside figure with very fringe policies, known to be the most extreme on issues like immigration. And so a lot of these people are yelling out things like Black Lives Matter, Immigration, and it's very clear that they see this moment as the chance for them to really make a public stance against Trump.
>> Senator Diane Feinstein asked about a letter from 1,400 law professors who oppose his confirmation based on his handling of a voter fraud case in 1986.>> This caricature of me in 1986 was not correct. I conducted myself honorably and properly->> Sessions insisting several times he would have no problem standing up to Donald Trump if he tried to take steps Sessions believed were outside the law.
>> I do believe that if Attorney General is asked to do something that's plainly unlawful he cannot participate in that, he or she, and that person would have to resign ultimately.>> Questions came up including from Trump's position on a Muslim ban. Sessions saying it was perfectly legitimate to describe it as an intense vetting but only for people who come from countries that might harbour terrorists not a religious test that would keep anyone of the Muslim faith out of the country.
>> With Republicans holding a majority in the Senate, Sessions is expected to coast through the hearings. And could be confirmed before Trump takes the oath of office on January 20th