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Jeff Sessions defends himself against accusations of racism: 'I abhor the Klan'

During his opening statement for his Senate confirmation hearing Tuesday, attorney general nominee Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) addressed "false charges" of racism head-on. "I abhor the [Ku Klux] Klan and what it represents and its hateful ideology," Sessions said. He also claimed that he "never declared the NAACP was un-American," and that the case he led against civil rights activists in 1985 for voter fraud was actually "a voting rights case."

Sessions' defense comes amid concerns raised by liberals and civil rights groups about his 1986 hearing for a federal judgeship, an appointment he was denied after colleagues testified he'd made racist remarks and joked about the KKK. Critics have also raised concerns about Sessions' record on LGBT rights and women's rights. Sessions maintained Tuesday that he fully understands "the demands of justice and fairness made by our LGBT community."

Later in the hearing, Sessions once again defended himself, insisting that the "caricature" of him from his 1986 hearing was "not correct."

Watch Sessions' defense below. Becca Stanek