Less-guarded Sessions spars with interns in internal DOJ video

This summer, in the midst of President Donald Trump’s criticism of the Justice Department and Attorney General Jeff Sessions in particular, Sessions said during a private event that the U.S. legal system must be “based on law and based on facts” and “can’t be politicized.”

But when Justice Department interns attending the event started asking him questions, things got spirited — and an internal Justice Department video of the session, obtained by ABC News, offers a rare glimpse of what appears to be a less guarded Sessions.

At one point, he seemed to mock a Justice Department intern for questioning whether marijuana is dangerous. He said cities like Chicago and Baltimore are now plagued with rising crime and murders because they “have abandoned traditional police activities.” And he dismissed another intern’s assertion that many Americans in poor, largely minority communities fear law enforcement officers.

“I grew up in one of these communities,” said the intern, who said he attends the University of California at Berkeley. “I grew up in a project to a single mother. And the people who we are afraid of are not necessarily our neighbors but the police.”

An apparently exasperated Sessions replied, “Well, that may be the view in Berkeley, but it’s not the view” elsewhere.

ABC News obtained video of the summer intern lecture series event featuring Sessions through a Freedom of Information Act request. For 25 minutes on June 22, Sessions took pointed questions from college students working at the department during the summer.

In a statement today, a Justice Department spokeswoman said the event allowed students “to have robust conversations — even debates — about the challenges facing our country with the attorney general,” adding that the department is “proud to provide hundreds of law students and undergraduates the opportunity to work with some of the finest lawyers in the country.”

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