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Fmr. Attorney General Jeff Sessions Expected To Announce Run For Senate


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Hello it is the NPR politics podcast. I am Danielle. Kurt's Lebron I cover politics. I'm Tim Keith. I covered the White House. And I'm Ron elving editor correspondent and we're coming to you today. We're going to start out by talking about a blast from the past a blast from in the past in the form of Jefferson beauregard sessions. The third who a year ago on this day was fired from his role as president. Trump's attorney general will it can't be an entirely accidental bizarre timing plus tomorrow is the deadline for filing if you want to be part of the primary in March and the runoff in April. And what we're talking thing about here by the way in terms of filing that Jefferson beauregard sessions. We normally Jeff Sessions Jeff. Sessions is set to announce that he's running to once again serve as the senator from Alabama a seat that he himself vacated to become Donald Trump's attorney general. So let's start with a refresher you guys who is Jeff sessions and let's talk about his relationship except president trump will jeff sessions was president. Trump's first attorney general by before that he was a senator for twenty years from Alabama initially being elected back in nineteen ninety ninety seven being reelected several times and the he was cruising along as a successful member of the Senate and establishing if you will kind of anchor anchor on one end of the Senate very conservative southern Senator and he was the very first senator to endorse Donald Trump for president. So when trump became president. Didn't turn to Jeff sessions and said you would be a good pick for attorney general yet. His loyalty and early loyalty was rewarded by becoming attorney. General of the United States which is something that jeff sessions wanted very badly but it went south fast right so what happened. So what happened is jeff sessions and had been working with the campaign and as a result was required by Justice Department rules and ethics guidelines to recuse himself from the Russia investigation investigation. President trump saw this as an act of disloyalty as a betrayal and for months braided. Jeff obsessions publicly on twitter in interviews everywhere. If I had known president trump said if I had known that he was going to recuse himself I would not have made him. Attorney Attorney. General sessions continued to do his job. While twisting in the wind not knowing win his day would come to be fired. I basically two years. They must've wanted it pretty bad. And let's say in fairness decisions that the rules are are not ambiguous. Here sessions had not only been working for the trump campaign in he had been working foreign policy for it had kind of prominent role on foreign policy met with the Russian ambassador at one point which of course looked a little suspect after the Russians became suspect and he had been asked about it a lot in the confirmation hearings really almost derailed his nomination being confirmed by the Senate so it was not a close call right so before we get to the Senate seat I mean I WanNa talk a little bit more about him as a g because leaving aside the Russia stuff leaving him twisting in the wind was he an effective attorney general. It was good at this attorney. General Jeff Sessions. Got A lot of what he wanted immigration policy which was something that he cared about. Trump's immigration policy was. It's very much reflective of Jeff sessions views on those things sessions is the one who announced that president trump was terminating DACA. The program I'm for young people brought to the country as children who became undocumented immigrants or were undocumented. Okay so I have a big question here. This is one one Senate seat. Why why do we care so much about this? Well there's only three seat margin in the Senate and that's a big thing and Doug Jones is somebody that the Republicans expect to knock off and they would like to stay in an orderly fashion towards their own strategy to doing that. And this is an interruption. In that there's that it's also a compelling human story about Jeff Sessions and his attempt itself redemption and how he is trying to reclaim what he sees as his and there's also just a certain amount of fascination with the blood sport if you will By the way these people we'll go after each other in some states and within the same party and I think all of that added up makes it kind of different narrative to introduce in the midst of all these other things were obsessed with like Which Democrat is up and down in Iowa and the impeachment of the President Sir Right well and you bring up Doug Jones Doug Jones of course is the Democrat? Who won that seat over Roy Moore back in December of two thousand seventeen and now Doug Jones is a Democrat holding a Senate seat in a deeply deeply red state so oh right like you're implying there? There is a good shot for Republican to win this now. The question is what Republican gets this nomination. So guys tell me more who else is going to be in this this race. Besides sessions where you have Roy Moore. We Have Congressman Bradley Byrne who is a very well established conservative and somebody who is willing to back Donald Trump. Come what may has said so and has really tortured Jeff sessions over Jeff sessions recused back in that case and says he wouldn't run away from a fight. You also also have Auburn. University's former football coach and this is Alabama and Auburn is part of the Alabama system. I understand Tom to reveal is is a big deal in Alabama. He is a legitimate contender. And then you also have the Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill and State Representative Arnold Mooney. And who else may be others. I just add Ron a quote from Bradley Byrne. He is the congressman who is running. He was asked by Sung men. Kim Of the Washington Post about what he thought of the possibility that Jeff sessions would run and he says quote. The president is very angry with Jeff. I think the president will be very vocal against him for Jeff Sake. I don't want that how magnanimous I'm sure is what Jeff says is his former colleague. Don't add bless your heart but he you might as well okay but jeff sessions. We've established you know. Left the White House maybe not as trump's best friend in the world very quickly here sure do we have any sense of how trump is gonNA react to this and also just how the Republican establishment is going to so a couple of trump administration officials. Were asked about this today vice president. Mike Pence was asked and pence answered in a very pins way we say we will let People Alabama make that decision and then he just went on about the great stock market residents accomplishments and never turned back to jeff sessions. I can almost see picture him holding his hands up and backing quietly quietly away as he says as he said that and Kellyanne Conway the adviser to the president was also asked about sessions. Voters can decide who they're nominee's nominee is and then the voters of Alabama who can decide who they're sending there will be and read the president's thoughts on it. The president has the president. Hasn't said anything thing about it. I think the president does not want to deny deprive the people of Alabama their rightful choices and It's a free free country. People can file it is is worth noting that President trump did weigh in pretty heavily in the last Alabama Senate race and will again when the moment is right. But this isn't the right moment at this point. They they want to see if he really does it. See how he plays see how the race seems to take shape between now and March and if at some point or another president trump could weigh in on behalf of one of the rival candidates. One would expect he would take that opportunity and we should just add in terms of establishment. Republicans that are on. Susan Davis is reporting. That sessions is embarking on this campaign without any supporter or backing from the in our SC. That's the National Republican Senatorial Committee The the committee that is out there to get Republicans elected to the Senate A well-established Republican without establishment backing at the moment. All right okay. We're GONNA leave it there but when we get back. Republican senators celebrate judicial confirmations at the White House with President trump support for this podcast and the following message come from Aspen. SNOWMASS dedicated eighty two meaningful action on climate. Change for over Twenty Years Aspen snowmass has implemented large-scale solutions from generating clean power to wielding it. They installed the first first solar array in the Ski Industry the First Lead to certified building and currently operate the only coal mine methane to energy plant in the country. Learn more about what Aspen Aspen. SNOWMASS is doing to combat climate change at Giva Flake. 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Republican lawmakers relationships with the president yesterday at the White White House there was an event where really those relationships looked pretty rosy and everybody seemed pretty happy. I think there's nobody that's done a better job. Ever Than Senator Pitch. McConnell had been helped enormously decision that I made and these guys back me up not the LET President Obama fill that Scalia vacancy on the way out the door and I say thank you President Obama very much but it was one hundred and forty two empty slots and nobody can. I believe that and I couldn't believe it and didn't believe it but now I believe it because now we've got so many approved and we're GonNa hit that magic number and then it's going to be a lot more from there. The people of this country ought to be complemented that we have a president that said he was gonNA run on a platform and he stands on that platform for tackling. Eric Windros friendship and hugs and champagne and kun-bae all around everybody's happy so guys tell me. What were they celebrating they? They were having a party because they have a lot of judgeships to celebrate. This was a milestone that they reached president trump and his Senate allies have been able to confirm arm enough judges that now trump judges are in a quarter of the appellate and Supreme Court seats. Two Supreme Court justices forty five appeals court judges and one hundred twelve district court judges and what you heard on that tape is president trump. Sort of saying I can't believe leave. How lucky I was that? President Obama left this for me and Mitch. McConnell subtly making it clear that in fact it was Mitch McConnell and the Republican Senate who who helped make sure that trump had all those vacancies to fill. It wasn't Obama shirking his duty. So let's get back to what we were talking about here with everybody being in one big happy family at the White House. I mean talk to me about this. I mean these are Republicans several of whom we have seen occasionally criticized the president over the years is this what holds them together is is this hope for more judicial appointments will certainly. This is what keeps them happy. Sure is these sorts of victories. He's that they can talk about with their constituents who this really matters to. And the subtext of all this is that president trump had all of these senators orders over to the White House for a celebration where they he praised them at a time when he is also facing impeachment and it is quite likely that these very senators will be jurors I in his impeachment trial or yeah so. It's not entirely coincidental in this particular week. Because you hear people constantly speculating about whether or not some of these senators might be split off and some of the people that were there a Ted Cruz for example have had some pretty harsh things to say about the president in the past when they were rivals for the nomination and even after trump had won the nomination so so this would be a signal to all those who think that. Maybe there's some chance that the Senate is getting a little squishy on removing the president after the House one assumes uh-huh goes forward with impeaching him they may not but if they do so that's always well received yeah and there had been a time when president trump was publicly berating some members of the the Senate right and he's sort of cut back on that. Recently there has been reporting that Talmadge McConnell asked him to that. Mitch McConnell said Mr President these guys might be estimate kind of a tough call all little bit later on behalf and we'll be with you MR president but you know it would be just as wealth. You stop trashing right and check it out. These guys are on my side there at my house. We're having a lovely time together the people's House. Yes all right well. We're going to leave it there but we will be back tomorrow until then keep up with all of the updates by heading to NPR dot org listening to your local public radio station or on the NPR one APP. I am Danielle Herzl even cover politics. I've never keith. I covered the White House correspondent. And thank you for listening listening to the NPR politics podcast support for this podcast and the following message come from traditional medicinal. 's The tea company that lives up to

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