WASHINGTON ― Jeff Sessions, the 84th attorney general of the United States, joined a group of teenagers in chanting “lock her up” during a high school leadership summit hosted by the conservative group Turning Point USA.
Sessions spoke at an event at George Washington University on Tuesday, where he railed against colleges that he said were “doing everything they can to create a generation of sanctimonious, sensitive, supercilious snowflakes.” He also touted the Justice Department’s actions against university policies that he says violate free speech.
But the attorney general went off script in responding to a chant aimed at former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
“I like this bunch; I’ve got to tell you. You’re not going to be backing down. Go get ’em, go get ’em,” Sessions told the crowd before they began chanting “lock her up.”
Sessions said “lock her up,” laughed and recalled how frequently the chant came up at Trump rallies.
“I heard that a long time on the last campaign,” Sessions said.
Sessions has recused himself from any investigation connected to the 2016 presidential campaign. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein is overseeing special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Trump campaign affiliates and possible Russian interference in the 2016 election.
A recent report from the Justice Department’s Inspector General faulted FBI leaders for their public actions that hurt Clinton during the 2016 campaign.
The Justice Department declined a HuffPost request for comment on Sessions’ use of the phrase “lock her up.”
In his speech, Sessions encouraged the student activists to read mainstream conservative outlets like National Review and the Weekly Standard. In her speech on Monday, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley told the high schoolers that “owning the libs” online wasn’t an example of “real leadership” and wouldn’t help bring people around to their point of view.
Ryan Reilly is HuffPost’s senior justice reporter covering the Justice Department, federal law enforcement, criminal justice and legal affairs. Have a tip? Reach him at email@example.com or on Signal at 202-527-9261.