Trump escalates attacks on his attorney general
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump escalated his attacks on Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Monday, suggesting the Department of Justice put Republicans in midterm jeopardy with recent indictments of two GOP congressmen.
In his latest broadside against the Justice Department’s traditional independence, Trump tweeted that “Obama era investigations, of two very popular Republican Congressmen, were brought to a well-publicised charge, just ahead of the Mid-Terms, by the Jeff Sessions Justice Department.”
He added: “Two easy wins now in doubt because there is not enough time. Good job Jeff......”
Another blow in Trump’s long-running feud with Sessions, the president’s complaint fits with his pattern of viewing the Department of Justice less as a law enforcement agency and more as one that should do his political bidding.
Typically the agency prides itself on independence from political influence, and investigators are never supposed to take into account the political affiliations of the people they investigate.
Trump, who did not address the specifics of the charges, did not name the Republicans.
But he was apparently referring to the first two Republicans to endorse him in the GOP presidential primaries.
Both were indicted on separate charges last month: Rep. Duncan Hunter of California on charges that included spending campaign funds for personal expenses and Rep. Chris Collins of New York on insider trading.
Both have proclaimed their innocence.
The Hunter investigation began in June 2016, according to the indictment.
It was not clear when the investigation into Collins began.
The conspiracy alleged in his indictment supposedly began in 2017, though he was also under investigation by congressional ethics officials.
Hunter has not exited his race, while Collins ended his re-election bid days after his indictment. Both seats appear likely to remain in GOP hands, but the charges have raised Democratic hopes.
A spokeswoman for Sessions declined to comment, and the White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.