Former U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced on national television tonight that he will seek election to the U.S. Senate seat that he held for two decades.
Appearing on Tucker Carlson Tonight on the Fox News channel, Sessions told the host that he will file his papers to run for his former seat on Friday.
Carlson called Sessions the most popular person in the state after the University of Alabama football coach at the time he stepped away from the Senate. But the Selma native said he has no regrets about leaving the seat.
“I had a great tenure at the Department of Justice in so many different ways,” he said. “I don’t ever worry about regret and things like that. We were able to serve, be able to push the Trump agenda and do it in an honorable way and it was actually a great experience.”
Sessions, whom Trump later asked to resign because he recused himself from an effort to investigate the president, said he believes he has something to give.
“I have some convictions that I think need to be pushed,” he said. “We need to get some Republicans moving. They haven’t been pushing hard enough to advance the Trump agenda. That’s what I look forward to doing and I think I can contribute to that.”
Carlson aired a TV ad in which Sessions left no doubt of his allegiance to President Trump, noting that he did not write a tell-all book, didn’t attack the president on CNN and “not one time” said a cross word about the president. Carlson asked him whether Trump is as loyal to his first attorney general.
“I hope so. I think he will respect my work. I was there for the Trump agenda,” the candidate said. “Every day I was in the Senate, no doubt about that. I was the first Republican, the first senator to endorse him. We pushed his immigration agenda, his trade agenda and began to work to a more realistic foreign policy that doesn’t get us in endless wars.
“I think he was right about all three of those,” Sessions continued. “Yes, that’s where the American people are, and this Republican Congress and the whole Congress needs to listen to that.”
The former senator said he does not regret recusing himself from the Russia investigation even though it caused a rift between him and the president.
“I did the thing I had to do under the rules of the Department of Justice,” he said. “The senior advisers told me that this is what the rules required, what the regulations required. I read them and I don’t think there was any out for me, but I know how painful it was for the president.
“The whole thing was very painful for him, and he saw this as a pivotal moment,” Sessions continued. “But as painful and as prolonged as it was, it did clear him of Russian collusion.”
Sessions said he looks forward to talking to the president about his decision. That opportunity hasn’t been provided, he said, adding his wish to let Alabamians know he’s for the Trump agenda.
The former attorney general said some Republicans are still “standoffish” when it comes to supporting the president. He cited ending lawlessness at the border, standing up to China, defending American manufacturing and standing up against cheating and fraud and abuse as bipartisan, powerful issues on which “Trump is right.”
Shifting from Russian to Ukraine, Sessions said he doesn’t see a case for impeachment.
“It’s just been a continuous political attack on him from Day One,” he said. “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,” Sessions continued. “I don’t believe there’s anything close to an impeachment case. I think the Democrats will basically vote it, slink away and let the Senate reject it.”
Sessions joins a full slate of Republicans running for the party’s nomination to the Senate, including former Auburn University coach Tommy Tuberville, U.S. Rep. Bradley Byrne and former Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore.