Sessions’s nomination as Trump’s attorney general is scheduled to be considered Tuesday by the Senate Judiciary Committee, but his influence in the administration extends far beyond the Justice Department. From immigration and health care to national security and trade, Sessions is the intellectual godfather of the president’s policies. Sessions’s reach extends throughout the White House, with his aides and allies accelerating the president’s most dramatic moves, including the ban on refugees and citizens from seven mostly Muslim nations that has triggered fear around the globe.
And in spite of many reservations among Republicans about that worldview, Sessions — whose 1986 nomination for a federal judgeship was doomed by accusations of racism that he denied — is finding little resistance to his nomination in Congress.
Sessions’s ideology is driven by a visceral aversion to what he calls “soulless globalism,” a term used on the extreme right to convey a perceived threat to the United States from free trade, international alliances and the immigration of non-whites.
The early days of the Trump presidency have rushed a nationalist agenda long on the fringes of American life into action — and Sessions, the quiet Alabaman who long cultivated those ideas as a Senate backbencher, has become a singular power in this new Washington.
In jagged black strokes, President Trump’s signature was scribbled onto a catalogue of executive orders over the past 10 days that translated the hard-line promises of his campaign into the policies of his government.