Jeff Sessions ‘crystal clear’ sexual assault unacceptable, seeks retraction from Weekly Standard

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Jeff Sessions and Donald Trump

Alabama Republican Sen. Jeff Sessions is calling for a retraction from conservative news outlet the Weekly Standard saying the publication “misrepresented” his views in an article published early Monday morning.

Following Sunday night’s presidential debate, the junior senator was in the spin room with the Weekly Standard and was asked about Donald Trump’s lewd 2005 comments that were released Friday, in which the Republican presidential nominee said he could grab women by the genitals with impunity because he is famous.

When asked whether grabbing someone’s genitals without consent constitutes sexual assault, Sessions hesitated to respond amid the chaos of the room.

“This was very improper language, and he’s acknowledged that,” Sessions said in the Weekly Standard interview.

When further prodded as to whether he would characterize that behavior as sexual assault if it took place, Sessions responded, “I don’t characterize that as sexual assault. I think that’s a stretch.”

Asked to elaborate, Sessions responded, “It’s not clear that he — how that would occur.”

Following publication, Sessions found himself the target of public scrutiny for what he believes to be a “completely inaccurate” characterization of his comments.

“The Weekly Standard’s characterization of comments I made following Sunday’s Presidential debate is completely inaccurate,” Sessions told Alabama Today. “My hesitation was based solely on confusion of the contents of the 2005 tape and the hypothetical posed by the reporter, which was asked in a chaotic post-debate environment. I regret that it resulted  in an inaccurate article that misrepresented  my views. Of course it is crystal clear that assault is unacceptable. I would never intentionally suggest otherwise.”

In controversial tape referenced by Sessions, Trump says:

“I’ve got to use some Tic Tacs, just in case I start kissing her. You know I’m automatically attracted to beautiful — I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything. Grab them by the p—y. You can do anything.

The video’s release has created a fallout of Republican support across the country including Gov. Robert Bentley along with Alabama 1st District U.S. Congressman Bradley Byrne and Alabama 2nd District U.S. Congresswoman Martha Roby.

Trump later apologized for the comments, which he described during Sunday night’s debate as locker-room banter.

This article has been updated since it’s original publication. [Oct 10, 2016 at 11:45 p.m. CT]

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