Sessions defends recusal: 'I leave elected office with my integrity intact'

Former Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsGarland rescinds Trump-era memo curtailing consent decrees Biden picks vocal Trump critics to lead immigration agencies The Hill's Morning Report - Biden assails 'epidemic' of gun violence amid SC, Texas shootings MORE defended his recusal from the Justice Department’s Russia investigation after losing the Alabama Senate GOP runoff, saying he is leaving elected office with his integrity "intact."

Sessions, who represented Alabama in the Senate for 20 years before joining the Trump administration as the nation’s top law enforcement official, faced withering criticism from the president over his recusal, which critics said led to the appointment of former special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerWhy a special counsel is guaranteed if Biden chooses Yates, Cuomo or Jones as AG Barr taps attorney investigating Russia probe origins as special counsel CNN's Toobin warns McCabe is in 'perilous condition' with emboldened Trump MORE.

The attacks on Sessions’s recusal were a key theme in the GOP race, which pit Sessions against former Auburn University football coach Tommy Tuberville, who had President TrumpDonald TrumpFreedom Caucus member condemns GOP group pushing 'Anglo-Saxon political traditions' MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell's new free speech site to ban certain curse words Secret Facebook groups of special operations officers include racist comments, QAnon posts: report MORE’s support and won the runoff. Trump has long bashed his former attorney general over the recusal.


“I leave with no regrets. I was honored to serve the people of Alabama in the Senate and I was extraordinarily proud of the accomplishments we had as attorney general. On recusal, I followed the law. I did the right thing, and I saved the president’s bacon in the process. Any other action to try to squelch an investigation in that environment would not have worked, it would have really been a catastrophe, and I’m so glad it finally ended after a prolonged time and the president has been cleared,” Sessions told supporters. 

Despite the repeated broadsides from Trump and his allies, Sessions said he leaves “office with my integrity intact.”

“I feel good about it. I hold my head high. I took the road less traveled. I didn’t try to excuse myself or get in a fight or undermine the leader of our country and the great work he has to do. That was an honorable path, I believe,” he continued.

The remarks come shortly after the runoff against Tuberville was called, marking the end of Sessions’s attempted return to politics.


Tuberville will be the favorite in the general election race against Sen. Doug Jones, who is widely considered the most vulnerable Democrat up for reelection this year.

The president took a victory lap after Sessions’s defeat, saying Tuberville will be a true supporter in the Senate. 

“Wow, just called! @TTuberville - Tommy Tuberville WON big against Jeff Sessions. Will be a GREAT Senator for the incredible people of Alabama. @DougJones is a terrible Senator who is just a Super Liberal puppet for Schumer & Pelosi. Represents Alabama poorly. On to November 3rd,” Trump tweeted.