July 15, 2020 | 12:39pm
Former Attorney General Jeff Sessions says that he still stands by his decision to recuse himself from former Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe — despite his Senate bid being marred over the decision.
Speaking to supporters after conceding to former Auburn University football coach Tommy Tuberville in Tuesday’s GOP primary, Sessions said he was ending his career in public service “with no regrets.”
“Let me say this about the president and our relationship: I leave with no regrets. I was honored to serve the people of Alabama in the Senate and I was extraordinarily proud of the accomplishments we had as attorney general. On recusal, I followed the law. I did the right thing, and I saved the president’s bacon in the process,” the Alabama Republican said.
“Any other action to try to squelch an investigation in that environment would not have worked, it would have really been a catastrophe and I’m so glad it finally ended after a prolonged time and the president has been cleared,” he continued.
Sessions was trounced by Tuberville in the primary contest for his old Senate seat by a staggering 20 points. During his 2014 Senate reelection bid, Sessions ran completely unopposed.
Despite this, he said he was leaving the public sector with no lingering thoughts about what he could’ve done differently.
“I leave elected office with my integrity intact. I feel good about it. I hold my head high,” he told the crowd, “I took the road less traveled. I didn’t try to excuse myself or get in a fight or undermine the leader of our country and the great work he has to do. That was an honorable path I believe.”
Sessions said that while this chapter of his life was closing, he was grateful to the state of Alabama “for letting this country boy have the opportunity to be a United States senator.”
The former attorney general pledged to help his former primary opponent take out Sen. Doug Jones (D-Al.) this November.
Sessions represented Alabama in the Senate for two decades before joining the Trump administration as the nation’s attorney general in 2017. He incurred the wrath of President Trump when he recused himself from the investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 campaign.
Trump forced him from his job as attorney general in November 2018, right after the midterm elections led to Democrats retaking the House.
Sessions maintained his loyalty to President Trump throughout the campaign despite the ramped-up attacks on his recusal decision, as well as Trump’s endorsement of Tuberville.
In an open letter published in May, Sessions wrote to Alabamians defending 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,” he wrote at the time, “If I had ignored and broken the law, the Democrats would have used that to severely damage the President.”
At the end of his letter, Sessions argued that the people of Alabama could support him and still stand by the president.
“We will vote overwhelmingly to give President Trump a second term, and we will choose who we send to the Senate. The people of Alabama do not have to choose between voting for the President and voting for me, they can do both.”