Former Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced on Thursday that he is jumping into the race for his old Senate seat in Alabama - despite warnings from allies of President Donald Trump that he should sit out the election.
Sessions appeared on Fox News' "Tucker Carlson Tonight", confirming his run and telling the host his campaign would file the required paperwork on Friday. The seat is now held by Democrat Doug Jones, who pulled off a huge upset in 2018.
Jones defeated Moore in 2017, becoming the first Democrat to win election to the Senate from Alabama in 25 years.
Sessions stepped down as attorney general a year ago after Trump repeatedly berated Sessions for recusing himself from special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation of Russian involvement in Trump's 2016 presidential campaign.
Several knowledgeable Republicans told the AP that Sessions, 72, who held the seat for two decades, plans to announce Thursday that he'll run for the GOP Senate nomination. But here's the important part: "the President is doing great work for America", Sessions added in his press release Thursday.
Jones, a former federal prosecutor, won a surprise December 2017 special election in the reliably Republican state over GOP candidate Roy Moore, a former Alabama chief justice who became mired in allegations of sexual assault and misconduct, which he denied. Both sides see the battle over the Alabama seat as crucial as Republicans fight to retain the majority in the chamber, which they now control 53-47.
Byrne slammed Sessions, claiming he "ran away" instead of defending the president during the Russian Federation investigation and impeachment inquiry.
"Absolutely. Jeff Sessions is a friend", Shelby said.
"But I know how painful it was for the president", he continued.
ELLIOTT: The question is how voters will respond now that Sessions is out of favor with the president. I think he will respect my work.
"When President Trump took on Washington, only one senator out of a hundred had the courage to stand with him: me", he says. "No", Sessions said in a statement announcing his candidacy.
In response, Carlson asked whether he had Trump's support.
"I did the thing that I had to do about rules and the Department of Justice", Sessions maintained. "This is the whole thing was very painful for him".
A native of Selma, Alabama, Sessions was a lawyer in private practice before becoming the US attorney for Alabama in 1981 at the age of 34.