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Sessions Rejects Trump's Criticism     05/24 09:49


   MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) -- Jeff Sessions pushed back at President Donald 
Trump's criticism Saturday, telling Trump that he was "damn fortunate" Sessions 
recused himself from the Russia investigation.

   Sessions responded pointedly on Twitter after Trump called Sessions 
untrustworthy and reiterated his endorsement of Sessions' Republican primary 
rival for U.S. Senate, former Auburn University football coach Tommy Tuberville.

   "Look, I know your anger, but recusal was required by law. I did my duty & 
you're damn fortunate I did. It protected the rule of law & resulted in your 
exoneration," Sessions tweeted in response to Trump.

   Sessions added, "your personal feelings don't dictate who Alabama picks as 
their senator."

   Trump fired back Saturday evening, tweeting that Sessions should "drop out 
of the race."

   "Jeff, you had your chance & you blew it," Trump tweeted. "Recused yourself 
ON DAY ONE (you never told me of a problem), and ran for the hills. You had no 
courage, & ruined many lives."

   Sessions has long defended the recusal but had largely avoided engaging 
Trump's tweeted scorn as he emphasizes his continuing loyalty to Trump and his 
agenda. Sessions has gone on the offensive about the recusal, which drew 
Trump's ire and has been a lingering obstacle as Sessions seeks the U.S. Senate 
seat that he held for two decades.

   "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!" Trump tweeted.

   Sessions was Trump's first attorney general, a position he was forced to 
resign when his recusal from the Russia inquiry prompted a fallout with Trump. 
Sessions said he was required by law to recuse because he was a potential 
subject and witness since he had participated in Trump's 2016 campaign.

   Sessions faces Tuberville in the July 14 Republican primary runoff. The 
winner will face U.S. Sen. Doug Jones in November.

   Tuberville has made Trump's belittling of Sessions a focal point of his 
campaign. Tuberville has begun airing ads featuring Trump's criticisms of 
Sessions. One includes a clip of Trump saying if he could have one presidential 
do-over it would be to not appoint Sessions as attorney general.

   "Jeff Sessions quit on the President and he failed Alabama. I'll always have 
President Trump's back," Tuberville says in the ad.

   Sessions, in a follow-up tweet, called Tuberville a coward for refusing to 
debate him and criticized his stance on immigration.

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