Former Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who is now competing to earn back his seat in the Senate in his home state of Alabama, admitted Sunday that he understands President Donald Trump’s frustration with his decision to recuse himself from a Department of Justice investigation into the Trump campaign dealings with Russian officials, but he still defends his actions.
Sessions and Trump have been locked in a social media war since late last week, after Trump took to Twitter to endorse Sessions’ opponent in the Alabama Republican primary, football coach Tommy Tuberville.
“Jeff, you had your chance & you blew it. Recused yourself ON DAY ONE (you never told me of a problem), and ran for the hills. You had no courage, & ruined many lives. The dirty cops, & others, got caught by better & stronger people than you,” Trump tweeted.
“Hopefully this slime will pay a big price,” he continued. “You should drop out of the race & pray that super liberal @DougJones, a weak & pathetic puppet for Crazy Nancy Pelosi & Cryin’ Chuck Schumer, gets beaten badly. He voted for impeachment based on “ZERO”. Disgraced Alabama. Coach @TTuberville will be a GREAT Senator!”
In response, Sessions released an open letter, explaining his decision to recuse himself and urging voters to focus on the issues at hand and not the ill-fated Russia investigation.
The feud became a focal point of social media over the weekend, with no less than conservative commentator Ann Coulter weighing in — on Sessions’ side.
In an interview with the Washington Examiner on Sunday, though, Sessions said that he remains “surprised” that Trump still holds the decision against him, even after the prob e found no evidence that Trump’s campaign or transition teams illegally collaborated with Russian officials. He admits, though, that he believes Trump’s anger is “not all unjustified.”
“[Trump’s] frustration is not all unjustified. It’s becoming more and more clear that there were problems with this investigation,” sessions told the Examiner’s Byron York. “There may have been political bias. Barr is exactly right that we need to know whether commencing an investigation of a campaign had sufficient predicate.”
He still believes, however, that he was right to remove himself and allow Special Counsel Robert Mueller to move forward, even though he was ultimately forced to resign over the issue.
“Doing the right thing is more important to me than even my own political career,” Sessions said. “My conscience is clear.”
As for Trump, Sessions would prefer that he focus more on what’s best for Alabama than his own personal feelings.
“In this instance,” Sessions told York, “the president’s personal frustrations — he’s asking the people of Alabama basically to effectuate his personal feelings about this issue. I’m asking them to send a senator who can best advance Alabama values, Trump values, Sessions values, to make a decision based on what’s best for Alabama.”
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