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January 11, 2017

Senator accuses Booker of choosing to 'start 2020 presidential campaign'

Colleague says New Jersey lawmaker's decision to testify against Trump's AG pick is political

A colleague slammed New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker for allegedly choosing to testify against President-elect Donald Trump's pick for attorney general because of his political ambitions.

Oklahoma Sen. Tom Cotton, a Republican, said in a Facebook post Tuesday that the Democrat's decision to make a case against Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions was a move made to "start his 2020 presidential campaign."

Cotton pointed to the fact that, in February 2015, Booker partnered with Sessions to honor civil rights marchers.

RELATED: Is Cory Booker a favorite to challenge Trump in 2020?

"This hearing simply offers a platform for his presidential aspirations," Cotton wrote. "Senator Booker is better than that, and he knows better."

Booker's decision to testify against Sessions is a rare move, as fellow senators do not often speak out against each other when one is appointed to a Cabinet position.

In choosing to speak out against Sessions' appointment, Booker, one of three black senators, cited already much-publicized concerns about Sessions' civil rights record and accusations he made racially insensitive comments earlier in his political career, the latter of which led to him being denied a federal judgeship in 1986. Per a statement from Booker's office issued Monday night:

"Sen. Sessions' decades-long record is concerning in a number of ways, from his opposition to bipartisan criminal justice reform to his views on bipartisan drug policy reform, from his efforts earlier in his career to deny citizens voting rights to his criticism of the Voting Rights Act, from his failure to defend the civil rights of women, minorities, and LGBT Americans to his opposition to common sense, bipartisan immigration reform."

During his hearing that began Tuesday, Sessions responded to allegations that he praised the Ku Klux Klan and failed to protect the voting rights of black people. He labeled those charges as "false."

A call to Booker's office early Wednesday morning was not immediately returned. However, in a tweet, Booker seemed to brush off Cotton's accusations: