Sessions vows 'vigorous' action in wake of Charlottesville tragedy
Posted August 14
Attorney General Jeff Sessions vowed Monday that the Justice Department will "take the most vigorous action" to protect Americans against "racism and bigotry" in the aftermath of the tragedy in Charlottesville, Virginia, over the weekend.
Sessions said on CBS's "This Morning" that he and FBI Director Christopher Wray will meet with President Donald Trump Monday to discuss the violence that left one woman dead after white supremacists clashed with counter-protesters. The meeting was not originally on Trump's schedule.
"You can be sure this Department of Justice in this administration is going to take the most vigorous action to protect the right of people like Heather Heyer, to protest against racism and bigotry," Sessions said on NBC's "Today" show. "We're going to protect the right to assemble and march. And we're going to prosecute anybody, to the full extent of the law, that violates their ability to do so."
The Justice Department opened a federal civil rights hate crime investigation after white supremacist groups descended on the Virginia city. James Alex Fields Jr., 20, of Maumee, Ohio, is accused of running his Dodge Challenger into a crowd of people, killing Heyer, a 32-year-old woman, and injuring at least 19 others.
Federal criminal civil rights statutes, including those for hate crimes, may be applicable in Fields' attack, a Justice Department official familiar with the investigation said.
The department is also investigating whether others may have been involved in planning the attack.