Republican Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton challenged Kristen Clarke directly during a Wednesday hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
President Joe Biden nominated Clarke to be the assistant attorney general, leading the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division — and Cotton argued that her social media posts following the officer-involved shooting of Jacob Blake were evidence that she might jump to conclusions without evidence. (RELATED: A Joe Biden Justice Department Pick Argued In 1994 That Blacks Have ‘Greater Mental, Physical and Spiritual Abilities’ Than Whites)
“The Department of Justice isn’t a left-wing advocacy organization, but if Kristen Clarke is confirmed it would become one. Police officers and Americans should be terrified of having a Department of Justice that jumps to conclusions without evidence,” Cotton tweeted along with a video from the hearing.
The Department of Justice isn’t a left-wing advocacy organization, but if Kristen Clarke is confirmed it would become one.
Police officers and Americans should be terrified of having a Department of Justice that jumps to conclusions without evidence. pic.twitter.com/NfKrBjfgNl
— Tom Cotton (@SenTomCotton) April 14, 2021
Cotton asked Clarke directly whether she believed that Jacob Blake was armed at the time he was shot, and Clarke said that she believed he may have been. Cotton confirmed that Blake had been armed with a knife — and then noted that Clarke had repeatedly posted on social media that Blake had been unarmed.
Clarke subsequently made her Twitter account private, but one of the tweets about Blake was available via the Wayback Machine.
“So Ms. Clarke, here’s my concern,” Cotton continued. “It’s one thing to run a left-wing advocacy organization and always jump to conclusions about police officers who have to use force to protect themselves or to protect innocent, law-abiding Americans. Those are the last people who want to use force, by the way, and certainly force that results in a killing.”
Cotton went on to argue that it was a very different situation when someone heading a major department within the United States government made such leaps.
“You are going to have the power of the federal government behind you. And based on your pattern of comments and jumping to conclusions without evidence, every cop in America should be terrified that the Department of Justice is going to jump to a conclusion when they have to make a split second decision to defend themselves or to defend innocent, law-abiding citizens.”
Clarke pushed back, saying that if she was confirmed, she would be “guided by the facts” when discussing such matters.