IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Trump hits Sessions over indictments of GOP congressmen

In a pair of tweets, Trump seemed to blame the attorney general for the timing of federal charges last month against Reps. Chris Collins and Duncan Hunter.
Image: President Donald Trump, left, sits with Attorney General Jeff Session
Trump complained Monday that the timing of the charges could cost Republicans two otherwise-winnable congressional races.Evan Vucci / AP file

President Donald Trump took yet another swipe at beleaguered Attorney General Jeff Sessions Monday over the recently announced federal charges against two Republican congressmen who had also been prominent and early supporters of Trump’s presidential campaign.

“Two long running, Obama era, investigations of two very popular Republican Congressmen were brought to a well publicized charge, just ahead of the Mid-Terms, by the Jeff Sessions Justice Department,” Trump tweeted.

He added, “Two easy wins now in doubt because there is not enough time,” before delivering what appeared to be a sarcastic compliment to his top law enforcement official.

“Good job Jeff,” Trump wrote.

In a second tweet, Trump said “Democrats, none of whom voted for Jeff Sessions, must love him now” before taking a shot at former FBI Director James Comey.

Trump did not name the two members of Congress he was referring to, but it would appear he was nodding at GOP Reps. Chris Collins, of New York, and Duncan Hunter, of California, who were both, separately, indicted on federal charges last month.

Collins, who represents a Buffalo, N.Y.-area district, was charged with insider trading in August. Prosecutors allege that he used his position with an Australian biotech firm to help his family make illicit stock trades — and avoid more than $768,000 in losses.

Weeks later, Hunter, who represents a San Diego-area district, was hit, along with his wife, with federal charges that they "converted and stole" more than a quarter million dollars in campaign funds.

Collins was the first member of Congress to endorse Trump for president in 2016. Hunter was the second.

Collins, who pleaded not guilty to the charges, has announced he will not run for re-election this fall, although it’s unclear whether might be able to remove his name from the ballot this late in the race. Hunter has appeared to blame his wife for the the alleged crimes. They pair have pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Republican Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska, who has criticized Trump's statements and moves in the past, responded to the president's tweets with a statement titled: "The United States Is Not Some Banana Republic."

"The United States is not some banana republic with a two-tiered system of justice – one for the majority party and one for the minority party," Sasse said. "These two men have been charged with crimes because of evidence, not because of who the President was when the investigations began. Instead of commenting on ongoing investigations and prosecutions, the job of the President of the United States is to defend the Constitution and protect the impartial administration of justice.”

Trump, despite saying in an interview with Bloomberg News last week that Sessions’ job in his administration was safe until after the November midterm elections, has publicly slammed his attorney general repeatedly in recent weeks.

In August, Trump ripped Sessions because he "never took control" of the Justice Department — an attack that prompted the attorney general, in a rare retort, to push back.

A day later, Trump responded, daring Sessions to investigate Democrats and intelligence officials.

Then, last week, after Trump made his comments to Bloomberg, he told a raucous crowd in Indiana that he could "get involved" if his administration's Justice Department and FBI don't start "doing their job and doing it right."

Sessions, the first U.S. senator to endorse Trump during the 2016 race, provoked his boss's ire when he announced last year that he would recuse himself from any federal probe into Russian election meddling. Trump has criticized Sessions multiple times since the attorney general announced his recusal in March 2017. In May 2017, Trump fired FBI Director James Comey, which ultimately led deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein to appoint Robert Mueller as a special counsel in the Russia investigation.

Later Monday, Trump, who remained active on Twitter for the better part of the day despite the national holiday, took a shot at John Kerry, responding gleefully to fact that the former secretary of state and 2004 Democratic presidential candidate has not ruled out another White House bid.

“I see that John Kerry, the father of the now terminated Iran deal, is thinking of running for President,” Trump wrote. “I should only be so lucky - although the field that is currently assembling looks really good - FOR ME!”