President Trump slammed Jeff Sessions, his former attorney general, on an election-eve conference call on behalf of Mr. Sessions’ political rival Tommy Tuberville in Alabama.
Mr. Trump said he made a “mistake” when he put Mr. Sessions in place as his attorney general, only to see him recuse himself from the probe into Russian interference into the 2016 campaign.
“He had his chance, and he missed it. He recused himself from the start, about the first day of a ridiculous scam, the Mueller scam, Russia, Russia, Russia,” the president said. “And Jeff didn’t have the guts to stay there. He did not know Russia. He had nothing to do, but immediately ran to the hills.”
Mr. Sessions and Mr. Tuberville are battling in a runoff on Tuesday in Alabama for the right to take on Democratic Sen. Doug Jones.
Mr. Sessions, the first sitting U.S. senator to endorse Mr. Trump’s campaign, recused himself from the Russia probe because of his role in the president’s 2016 campaign.
He has said he did what the law required him to do and that he offered his resignation but that Mr. Trump wouldn’t accept it.
In talking up the coaching prowess of Mr. Tuberville, a former Auburn football coach, Mr. Trump also mistakenly referred to current Alabama coach Nick Saban as “Lou Saban,” who is a former college and NFL coach.
“Really successful coach,” Mr. Trump said, referring to Mr. Tuberville. “Beat Alabama like six in a row, but we won’t even mention it. Like he said … because of that, maybe we got them Lou Saban. … and he’s great, Lou Saban, what a great job he did.”