Last night, Donald Trump attempted to nuke Jeff Sessions’ Senate campaign, making direct charges that he had let the country down. This stemmed from frustrations over Sessions’ recusal as Attorney General back in early 2017. The President once again reinforced the candidacy of Tommy Tuberville instead, praising him as someone who will support the “MAGA agenda.”
3 years ago, after Jeff Sessions recused himself, the Fraudulent Mueller Scam began. 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! https://t.co/pCi7jftce2 https://t.co/sAn1VbxNwc
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 22, 2020
Jeff Sessions didn’t take the attack lying down, instead choosing to head to Twitter himself to fire off a response.
Tuberville's a coward who is rightly too afraid to debate me. He says you're wrong on China & trade. He wants to bring in even more foreign workers to take American jobs. That's not your agenda and it's not mine or Alabama's. I know Alabama. Tuberville doesn't.
— Jeff Sessions (@jeffsessions) May 23, 2020
While I’m not anti-Sessions from a policy standpoint, as I will address in a second, there are some things he says here that I reject. The law did not “require” Sessions’ recusal. Perhaps via a very generous reading, you could come to that conclusion, but it was very much an open question at the time and remains so today. Did Sessions collude with the Russians? Did he have any inappropriate contact with Russian officials? Further, did the investigation into the Trump campaign itself have any merit, thereby requiring it to be indulged further? Remember, Sessions’ recusal green-lit it for another two years, including the Mueller investigation. The answer to all those questions is no.
There’s also no evidence at all that Sessions’ recusal helped Donald Trump, as he claims here. It clearly kneecapped the first half of his presidency, as Obama holdovers and careerists ran wild with unfounded conspiracy theories and dishonest media leaks that continually damaged the administration. That was not an upholding of the rule of law. It was a destruction of it.
As I’ve said before, the right move was for Sessions to never take the job in the first place. He obviously knew he would recuse before assuming his office, as the move happened almost immediately. But even if you assume he didn’t know, he should have then resigned. Instead, he allowed a political firestorm to burn through the department he was supposed to be leading.
With that said, I’ll try my best to give the other side of this. Trump’s possible mistake here is assuming he can control who he endorses. Tuberville has some serious issues on policy. He hasn’t been endorsed by The Club for Growth because he’s actually strong on immigration, for example. This smacks of his previous endorsement of Luther Strange, eventually leading to Democrat Doug Jones beating Roy Moore (though Tuberville will almost certainly defeat Jones). Mitch McConnell, for all his good on judges, is not infallible when it comes to picking candidates. We’ve seen that with the Martha McSally debacle. Kelly Loeffler isn’t doing much better. Has Tuberville actually changed? Or is he just doing what it takes to get into office?
The problem for Sessions is that he can’t erase what happened at the DOJ, nor can he hope to win his Senate primary by sparring with Trump. He’s caught in a no-win situation, perhaps signaling that he never should have run without ensuring the support of the President. The latest polling shows big leads for Tuberville and I expect those to hold.