HUNTSVILLE, Ala - Rep. Mo Brooks (R-5th) promised he would drop out of the United States Senate Race in Alabama, if the other candidates would agree to quit the race also, clearing the way for current Attorney General Jeff Sessions to take his seat in the U.S. Senate back.
In a news release Wednesday, Brooks offered to withdraw completely, so long as his opponents in the race agreed to his terms. His proposed pact asks the Republican Party of Alabama to nominate Jeff Sessions to be the Republican nominee in the December 12 special election currently being held to fill the Senate seat that Sessions vacated when he accepted the job as US Attorney General.
This follows days of very public criticism of AG Sessions by President Donald Trump, primarily in the form of tweets denigrating the decisions of the AG, specifically his recusal from the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election cycle. Sessions recused after it was revealed that told the members of the Senate in public testimony that he had not had contact with Russian government officials over the course of the presidential campaign, when he, in fact, had met with the Russian ambassador.
In the release, Brooks does not mince words about his displeasure with the president's treatment of the AG, saying, "I support President Trump's policies, but this public waterboarding of one of the greatest people Alabama has ever produced is inappropriate and insulting to the people of Alabama who know Jeff Sessions so well and elected him so often by overwhelming margins."
He then launches into his proposal for all candidates to withdraw from the race, "With that said, If President Trump wants a new Attorney General, he has that right. That is why today I am making the people of Alabama a "win-win" promise: a 'win' for President Trump and a 'win' for Jeff Sessions."
In a statement issued by his campaign, current U.S. Sen. Luther Strange, who was appointed to the seat vacated by Sessions, mocked Brooks' request this afternoon.
"This is what a candidate does when he learns he's plummeted to a distant third and is desperate to get attention," Strange said in the statement. "Shame on Congressman Brooks for his lack of faith in President Trump's and Attorney General Sessions' commitment to work together to make America great again."
Brooks says in his release that executing the idea would help advance the interests of Alabama in the Senate, "An added benefit is that if Jeff Sessions returns to the U.S. Senate, he reenters the Senate with 20 years of seniority. That puts him in a compelling position to obtain key committee assignments and chairmanships, thereby empowering Jeff Sessions to best promote and protect the interests of Alabama and America . . . . a Seniority power and ability none of the current candidates can match until 2037 at the earliest."
U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby, Alabama's senior Senator, has defended Sessions this week. His office provided this response when asked about Brooks' proposal.
“Jeff Sessions is the Attorney General of the United States. I spoke to him yesterday and he said he likes his job. I hope he will stay on as Attorney General.”
The Alabama Republican Party issued a statement Tuesday afternoon from Chairman Terry Lathan regarding the proposal.
"In this specific and highly unlikely scenario, a particular process would take place," Lathan said. "The law does not allow a candidate to be replaced by the party for a general election unless the nominee withdraws. Then, the party has the authority to put in a new nominee. In this case, all nine Alabama Republican U.S. Senate candidates would have to withdraw from this race. If one of the nine did not withdraw that individual would be the nominee."
We'll continue to follow this story as it develops and provide regular updates here and on-air.