Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Sessions Makes 2020 Alabama U.S. Senate Run Official -- Says No Senator 'Will Be More for Advancing Trump's Agenda'

It’s now official. Former U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions is a Republican candidate for U.S. Senate in Alabama, a seat he once occupied prior to going to serve in President Donald Trump’s administration in 2017.

Earlier in the evening, Sessions’ campaign website went live, and he published his first campaign video, which was featured in his announcement on Fox News Channel’s “Tucker Carlson Tonight.”

During that appearance, Sessions addressed his desire to run and his falling out with Trump. Sessions told Carlson that he hoped to have an opportunity to discuss his campaign with Trump.

Transcript as follows:

CARLSON: Are you running for Senate?

SESSIONS: Yes, we will file papers tomorrow.

CARLSON: You are running for the seat that you held. You, are I think, after the coach of the Alabama football team, the most popular person in the state when you left. Do you regret you left in the first place?

SESSIONS: I had a great tenure at the Department of Justice in so many different ways. And I don’t ever worry about regretting things like that. We were able to serve. We were able to push the Trump agenda and do it in an honorable way. And it was actually a great experience. I spent 15 years in the department. So, and I do not regret that. It was an honor to serve, and I am — it is not my seat in the Senate, but I believe that I have something to give. I have some convictions that I think need to be pushed. We need to get some Republicans moving. They have not been pushing hard enough to advance the Trump agenda. So that’s what I look forward to doing. And I think I can contribute to that.

CARLSON: So, politics intruded on your tenure at the Department of Justice. We can get to that in a minute. But it raises your relationship with President Trump that you brought forward in a political ad. I don’t think it has aired anywhere until now. But here it is:

[BEGIN VIDEO CLIP]

SESSIONS: When I left President Trump’s cabinet, did I write a tell-all book? No. Did I go on CNN and attack the president? No. Have I said a cross word about our president? Not one time. I will tell you why. First, that would be dishonorable. I was there to serve his agenda, not mine. Second, the president is doing a great job, for America and Alabama, and he has my strong support.

[END VIDEO CLIP]

CARLSON: He has your strong support. Do you have his strong support?

SESSIONS; Well, I hope so. I think he will respect my work. I was there for the Trump agenda every day I was in the senate, no doubt about it. I was the first Republican senator to endorse him. We pushed the immigration agenda, his trade agenda and began to work for a realistic foreign policy that doesn’t get us into endless wars. He was right about all three of those. That’s where the American people are, and this Republican Congress and the whole Congress needs to listen to that.

CARLSON: Ironically, you are one of the very few people in the administration who agreed with him on his signature issues. Most didn’t and work to undermine him for three years. But you got into the question of Russia. You recused yourself from the investigation. He was furious about that. He’s never stopped complaining. Recently, he was complaining. Do you regret that decision?

SESSIONS: No, I did the thing that I had to do about the rules of the Department of Justice. The senior advisors told me that this is what the rules require, the regulations required, and I read them, and I don’t think there was any out for me. But I know how painful it was for the president. This is the whole thing was very painful for him. And he saw this as a pivotal moment. But painful and prolonged as it was, it did clear him of Russian collusion. And I’m certainly glad that that finally happened.

CARLSON: He is very popular in the state of Alabama, as you know, as your ad suggests. You don’t want him to come out against you, of course. Are you going to talk to them about it?

SESSIONS: I will. And I look forward to having that opportunity. It hasn’t been provided it at this moment. But I would like to be able to go to the people of Alabama and tell them with all honesty, I believe in this agenda. I was for this agenda before President Trump announced, and I supported it when he was president, when he was running for president. I supported him. And if I return to the senate — no, no senator in the Senate will be more for advancing Trump’s agenda than I would be.

CARLSON: I believe that. I was there before Trump arose, and you were making the same case that you are making now. What about your fellow Republicans who remain in the Senate? Do you think after three years they buy the Trump agenda?

SESSIONS: I think some of them are still standoffish. Some of them almost gives the impression that maybe he will just fail, or it won’t happen, and we won’t have to deal with it. But ending lawlessness at the border is a bipartisan overwhelming issue. Standing up to China and defending American manufacturing — standing up against cheating and fraud and abuse is a bipartisan powerful issue. Trump is right on both of those. And fighting her own words. I saw that veterans opposed military effort in Iraq, not justified by 64%. American people think that we are too committed into many endless wars. President Trump is right about that. So, I think this represents some change for the Republican establishment. And many of the Democrats are totally opposed to it. But we should be able to put together a majority, and we should drive this issue. We can take it to the American people. And name names and show who is for what. And make them vote. That’s what I would like to see us do.

CARLSON: Naming names would be a great public service. Quickly we move from Russia to Ukraine. The president apparently is going to be impeached, what do you make of that?

SESSIONS: I cannot see an impeachment case here. It’s just been a continuous attack from day one, things that people have done that are perfectly innocent. I felt some of that myself were created and twisted to be something evil and improper. I believe the president has conducted himself in this matter within the law, and I don’t believe that there is anything close to an impeachment case. I think the Democrats will basically vote it. It looks like slink away, and let the senate rejected.

CARLSON: Senator, attorney general, and now senate candidate Jeff Sessions thank you for coming on tonight.

Trump will be in Tuscaloosa, Ala. on Saturday for the college football match-up between the top-ranked LSU Tigers and the second-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide.

It is not clear if Trump will meet with Sessions or any of the other GOP candidates, which include U.S. Rep. Bradley Byrne (R-AL), former Auburn head football coach Tommy Tuberville, Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill, former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore and Alabama State Rep. Arnold Mooney (R).

The winner of that primary, held on March 3, 2020 with a runoff possibly follow, will go on to face Sen. Doug Jones (D-AL), who upset Moore in a 2017 special election to become the first Democrat to win a statewide election in Alabama for a major office since Jim Folsom, Jr. defeated Luther Strange in the 2006 lieutenant governor’s race.

Follow Jeff Poor on Twitter @jeff_poor

Jeff Poor

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