GOP senators back Sessions after Trump attacks

GOP senators back Sessions after Trump attacks
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Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsPress: For Trump endorsement: The more sordid, the better Those predicting Facebook's demise are blowing smoke If bitcoin is 'digital gold,' it should be taxed like gold MORE's former Republican colleagues in the Senate are throwing their support behind the embattled top Justice Department official as he faces mounting criticism from President Trump.

During the 2016 presidential race, Sessions, then a Republican senator for Alabama, was among Trump's earliest and most fervent political allies. Sessions frequently campaigned for Trump and praised his calls to crack down on illegal immigration and crime. 

But Trump appears to have soured on his attorney general over his March decision to recuse himself from the Justice Department investigation into Russia's election meddling after reports that Sessions failed to disclose contacts with the Russian ambassador to the U.S. during his confirmation hearing.

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Speculation has emerged that Sessions's future at the Justice Department could be in jeopardy, prompting several Republican senators to speak out on Tuesday in support of Sessions. 

"I join the people of Alabama in giving Jeff Sessions my deep respect and unwavering support," Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), who served alongside Sessions in the Senate for 20 years, wrote on Twitter.

"Jeff Sessions is a friend, former colleague & an honorable person. He's a man of deep conviction & principle who believes in the rule of law," Sen. Rob PortmanRobert (Rob) Jones PortmanGOP ramps up attacks on SALT deduction provision Senate race in Ohio poses crucial test for Democrats Ohio Senate candidate unveils ad comparing Biden to Carter MORE (R-Ohio) tweeted.

"We may not agree on every policy issue, but I believe he always has the best interests of our country at heart," he added.

Sen. Thom TillisThomas (Thom) Roland TillisGOP blocks bill to expand gun background checks after Michigan school shooting Overnight Defense & National Security — A new plan to treat Marines 'like human beings' Republicans press Milley over perceived progressive military agenda MORE (R-N.C.) defended Sessions's decision to recuse himself from the Russia probes.

"While some may argue that he should not have recused himself from the Russia investigation, Attorney General Sessions demonstrated good judgment by doing so and removed all appearances of a potential conflict," Tillis said in a statement.

"Following eight years of organizational and accountability issues plaguing the Department of Justice, Attorney General Sessions’ leadership is needed now more than ever," he added.

Sen. Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Congress avoids shutdown Senate dodges initial December crisis with last-minute deal Congress averts shutdown after vaccine mandate fight MORE (R-Utah) echoed Tillis's belief that Sessions has led the Justice Department in a "positive direction."

Jim DeMint, a former GOP senator from South Carolina, said on Tuesday that, while he understands Trump's frustration, removing Sessions from the Justice Department would do little to satisfy the president and would instead cost him one of his fiercest allies.

"I understand the President's frustration with the endless media obsession over Russia," DeMint, a former president of the Heritage Foundation who recently launched a group called the Conservative Partnership Institute, said in a statement. "It's as if the Democrats and liberal media are trying to overturn the election, they can't come to grips with the fact that Americans voted against their failed liberal policies and voted them out of power."

"But pushing Jeff Sessions out won't get Congress to move forward on his policies or stop liberals attacks, and Trump would lose a great ally and widely respected advocate for the rule of law," he continued.