Jeff Sessions Defends Recusal Decision To Voters As Primary Looms
Jeff Sessions recusal from investigations into Russian interference in the 2016 elections resulted in Donald Trump publicly lashing out at him, calling the decision a betrayal, and suggesting Sessions should never have been his pick for Attorney General. Such reviews from Trump can affect the loyalties and ballots of GOP voters, and with an election in view, Jeff Sessions has released a statement defending the decision, and reiterating his loyalty to Trump.
In a long post on his verified Facebook page, Sessions went over a number of points to prove his support of Trump, including:
- “I advised from the beginning…that Comey should be removed.”
- Comey should have prosecuted Hillary Clinton.
- Trump was exonerated. (Note: Mueller explicitly said his report did not exonerate Trump, as BBC reports here.)
- “After the President dismissed me…I did not say a cross word about him.”
Sessions still defended his decision to recuse himself, suggesting that doing so was actually a move to protect the president, as well as himself.
As the world knows, the President disagreed with me on recusal, but I did what the law required me to do. I was a central figure in the campaign and was also a subject of and witness in the investigation and could obviously not legally be involved in investigating myself. If I had ignored and broken the law, the Democrats would have used that to severely damage the President.
Some have asked, why take the job as Attorney General if I knew I would have to recuse myself from the investigation? I knew no such thing. I wasn’t informed of Comey’s secret investigation until after I became Attorney General, and the investigation wasn’t publicly confirmed by the FBI until weeks after my recusal.
Trump roundly trashed Sessions at the time, maintaining that his Attorney General should have protected him from the investigation, and calling the recusal a betrayal.
“The recusal of Jeff Sessions was an unforced betrayal of the President of the United States.” JOE DIGENOVA, former U.S. Attorney.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 31, 2018
Now Jeff Sessions is facing a primary runoff, originally scheduled for March but shifted to July due to the risks of crowds during the COVID-19 pandemic. He hopes to return to the Senate seat that was his for two decades before he left to accept an appointment from Trump. In early March, the Montgomery Advisor reported that opponent Tommy Tuberville was polling well ahead of Sessions, with 9% of voters still undecided. Adding insult to injury, Trump endorsed Tuberville on Twitter.
….(which is under siege), is strong on Crime and the Border, and truly LOVES our Military and our Vets. He will be a great Senator for the people of Alabama. Coach Tommy Tuberville, a winner, has my Complete and Total Endorsement. I love Alabama!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 11, 2020
Sessions made no effort to hide that his post was intended to help his chances of election, even taking space to explain why he finds his opponent an unacceptable representative for their state.
Mr. Tuberville is an opportunist who isn’t from here. He stopped here for work for a while, and moved on, eventually retiring in Florida. He doesn’t know the first thing about Alabama.
Sessions responded to Trump’s endorsement, telling voters that Washington shouldn’t pick Alabama’s representatives, and that Alabamians could support the president, but still make their own choice for Senate. “After all,” he said, “it’s our vote, not Washington’s.” His primary runoff election is currently scheduled for July 14th.