Behind Trump and Sessions Twitter row, a key Senate seat

Former U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions and President Donald Trump are fighting on social media about a primary battle in Alabama that may be key to Republicans retaining control of the U.S. Senate.

FILE PHOTO: Former U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions speaks after results are announced for his candidacy in the Republican Party U.S. Senate primary in Mobile, Alabama, U.S. March 3, 2020. REUTERS/Elijah Nouvelage

Trump has targeted here Sessions for retribution since Sessions recused himself in 2017 from a U.S. probe into Russian election meddling. He told Alabama voters they should not trust Sessions because “He let our Country down” on Twitter on Friday.

“Mr. President, Alabama can and does trust me, as do conservatives across the country,” Sessions replied on Saturday morning. “Perhaps you’ve forgotten. They trusted me when I stepped out and put that trust on the line for you.”

In an earlier tweet, Sessions said that Trump’s “personal feelings don’t dictate who Alabama picks as their senator.”

The Trump campaign declined to comment on Sessions’ tweets.

Sessions spent 20 years as a U.S. senator before joining the Trump administration in 2017. He was forced out by Trump in November of 2018, and now hopes to return to the Senate.

Sessions faces a primary run-off against former Auburn University football coach Tommy Tuberville. Trump is backing Tuberville in the showdown set for July 14.

The winner will face Democratic Senator Doug Jones in November, who in 2017 became here the first Democrat to win a Senate seat from Alabama in a quarter century after the Republican candidate was accused of sexually harassing teen girls as an adult.

Ousting Jones in conservative Alabama could help Republicans compensate for potential losses in four other Senate races viewed as toss-ups here

Republicans lead the 100-seat Senate by a slim 53-47 seat margin.

Trump blames Sessions’ recusal for former U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigatihere which cast a cloud over his presidency, but didn’t result in any charges against Trump.

Reporting by David Morgan and Steve Holland; Editing by Andrea Ricci