Trump campaign tells Sessions he's not an ally: Campaign update
President Donald Trump’s campaign asked former attorney general Jeff Sessions to stop promoting himself as an ally of the president in his U.S. Senate race in Alabama.
The Trump campaign, in a March 31 letter seen by Bloomberg News, said Sessions “misleadingly” promoted his connections to the president in a letter to potential voters. Last month, Trump tweeted that he’s backing Sessions’s opponent, Tommy Tuberville, to be the Republican nominee against Democrat Doug Jones.
Sessions has been the subject of Trump’s ire since he recused himself from the federal probe into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. Sessions represented Alabama, a reliably red state, in the Senate from 1997 to 2017, when he was appointed U.S. attorney general.
In Sessions’s mailing to prospective supporters, he calls himself “Trump’s #1 Supporter in the Senate” and begins the letter by saying that he was the “FIRST U.S. Senator to endorse Donald Trump for President.”
“The letter even makes the delusional assertion that you are President Trump’s #1 Supporter.’ We only assume your campaign is doing this to confuse President Trump’s loyal supporters in Alabama into believing the President supports your candidacy in the upcoming primary run-off election. Nothing could be further from the truth,” Michael Glassner, chief operating officer of the Trump campaign said in a March 31 letter.
Groups Sue Arizona for Ballot-Measure Rule (2:54 p.m.)
Two groups are suing Arizona to force the state to temporarily change the requirements for gathering physical signatures to get measures on the November ballot amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Arizonans for Fair Elections and Healthcare Rising Arizona jointly filed a lawsuit Thursday to compel the state to allow backers to gather electronic signatures when building support for ballot measures as the virus has stopped organizers from gathering on-paper signatures in public places.
“Arizonans shouldn’t have to choose between having their voices heard and protecting their health or that of their family,” said Anabel Maldonado, the campaign manager for the Fair Elections Act, which would expand early voting and automatically register voters when they apply for driver’s licenses and renewals.
Arizona already has an existing program, called E-Qual, which allows candidates in the state to qualify for the ballot online by signing an electronic petition or giving $5 online for a qualifying contribution. The two groups are seeking to expand that system to include ballot measures.
Biden Calls for Easing Iran Sanctions (1:54 p.m.)
Democratic presidential front-runner Joe Biden on Thursday suggested that the Trump administration should ease sanctions against Iran to help the country access medical supplies and equipment during the coronavirus pandemic.
“In the midst of this deadly pandemic that respects no borders, the United States should take steps to offer what relief we can to those nations hardest hit by this virus including Iran even as we prioritize the health of the American people,” Biden said in a statement. The statement does not name any other countries.
Biden offered steps the administration should make, including issuing export licenses to pharmaceutical and medical-device companies, and creating means for international banks, transportation companies and others to help Iranians access treatment.
“Whatever our many, many disagreements with the Iranian government, it’s the right and the humane thing to do,” Biden said. “And Iran also should make a humanitarian gesture and allow detained American citizens to return home.”
Iran, which has reported more than 50,000 cases of the virus and 3,160 deaths, has asked the U.S. to ease sanctions on humanitarian grounds. But Trump administration officials insist that Iran has or could get the support that it needs.