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Jeff Sessions tells Trump his 'anger' over recusal won't swing Senate race

Washington Examiner logo Washington Examiner 3 days ago Daniel Chaitin
Donald Trump, Jeff Sessions are posing for a picture © Provided by Washington Examiner

Former Attorney General Jeff Sessions told President Trump his "anger" will not sway the outcome of the U.S. Senate race in Alabama.

A tweet from the president on Friday urging Alabamians to oppose Sessions because of his Russia investigation recusal prompted a late-evening response defending that fateful decision. It was as pointed a message Sessions has ever directed at Trump.

"Look, I know your anger, but recusal was required by law," Sessions said to the president. "I did my duty & you're damn fortunate I did. It protected the rule of law & resulted in your exoneration. Your personal feelings don't dictate who Alabama picks as their senator, the people of Alabama do."

Hours earlier, Trump encouraged Alabama residents to vote for Sessions's challenger, Tommy Tuberville, because of Sessions refusal to oversee what became special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia inquiry.

"3 years ago, after Jeff Sessions recused himself, the Fraudulent Mueller Scam began," Trump tweeted. "Alabama, do not trust Jeff Sessions. He let our Country down. That’s why I endorsed Coach Tommy Tuberville (@TTuberville), the true supporter of our #MAGA agenda!"

Trump was reacting to a tweet from Tuberville with a campaign ad that highlighted the president's past criticisms of Sessions and showed the former Auburn University football coach promising to support the White House agenda.

Both Sessions and Tuberville have campaigned on their support of Trump, who is popular in their state, but Sessions has carried the added burden of a former boss who feels betrayed by the recusal and has made no effort to hide it.

Sessions, who left the attorney general job in November 2018, has repeatedly explained that he recused himself from the investigation into the Trump team's ties to Russia because he himself was a peripherally part of the campaign. In fact, Sessions was one of Trump's earliest supporters in the 2016 presidential contest.

Mueller's investigation was unable to find a criminal conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russia. It did, however, lead to convictions and guilty pleas from Trump associates over charges unrelated to Russia collusion. Trump and many of his allies have long derided the inquiry as a "witch hunt," and there is now an effort underway by the Justice Department to seek out any misconduct by investigators. Democrats fear the review, being led by U.S. Attorney John Durham, is a politically-tainted inquisition to discredit the Mueller team's work.

Tuberville and Sessions got the two top spots in the late-March GOP primary, vying to unseat Democratic Sen. Doug Jones, who has Sessions's old spot that he vacated in February 2017 to become attorney general. A primary runoff has been pushed back to July 14 because of concerns about the coronavirus.

A recent survey released by Cygnal, a polling and analytics firm, found Tuberville with a comfortable advantage over Sessions.

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