Trump blasts Jeff Sessions and compares him to 'Lyin’ James Comey'

Arturo Kim
September 5, 2018

Donald Trump on Sunday mounted another extraordinary attack on his attorney general, Jeff Sessions, blaming him for charges against two congressmen he said jeopardised Republican chances in the forthcoming midterm elections.

Trump did not address the charges themselves or name the congressmen, but the tweet was apparently referring to the indictments this summer of Representatives Chris Collins of NY and Duncan D. Hunter of California, the president's two earliest congressional endorsers.

The investigation into Hunter began more than a year ago, apparently during the early stages of Trump's own administration - not President Barack Obama's.

Donald Trump is mad at Attorney General Jeff Sessions and he's attacking the lawmaker for the illegal activities of other officials who work for the Republican Party.

That phone call took place in June 2017 - months after Trump succeeded Obama.

Delaware Sen. Chris Coons, a Democrat, on Tuesday afternoon called Trump's tweet on Sessions "unprecedented". "To say the Justice Department ought to punish his enemies and protect his friends goes beyond what any president in my memory has ever said, and that we can't normalize that".

Both congressmen have pleaded not guilty in their cases.

Collins was accused in a 30-page indictment of tipping off his son - while attending the picnic - about the results of a failed drug trial that was about to crash the stock price of an Australian biotech company.

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Collins suspended his bid for re-election after his indictment, while Hunter has indicated he has no plans to end his run.

Hunter and his wife, Margaret, illegally used campaign funds to pay personal bills big and small, from luxury vacations to kids' school lunches and even a plane ticket for their pet rabbit, according to a stinging, 47-page indictment.

AshLee Strong, a spokesperson for House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin, responded to Trump's tweet by saying the Justice Department "should always remain apolitical, and the speaker has demonstrated he takes these charges seriously".

The Office of Congressional Ethics, a government watchdog established by the U.S. House of Representatives, asked the House Committee on Ethics to look into allegations about Hunter in August 2016.

Trump's suggestion that Sessions should have withheld charges against two fellow Republicans for purely political reasons seemed a remarkably unapologetic blurring of a traditional line between presidential authority and the law. The author and Washington Post journalist has won two Pulitzer Prizes, including one for his coverage of the Watergate scandal that led to President Richard Nixon's resignation.

Using the authority & prestige of the presidency to suborn politicization of investigations & prosecutions involving your allies?

The president has repeatedly complained after Mr Sessions recused himself from the investigation into possible Russian collusion in 2017.

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