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Trump-Russia collusion investigations

‘Good job Jeff’: Donald Trump mocks Attorney General Jeff Sessions for indictments of Republicans

An unusually harsh salvo on Twitter about indictments of two Republican Party congressmen suggests Trump wants his attorney general to act according to the needs of his party

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 04 September, 2018, 5:14am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 04 September, 2018, 10:37pm

US President Donald Trump attacked Attorney General Jeff Sessions and the Justice Department on Monday in connection with the indictments of two Republican Party congressmen on corruption charges, saying they could hurt the party in the midterm elections.

“Two long running, 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 said on Twitter. “Two easy wins now in doubt because there is not enough time.”

“Good job Jeff.....” he added, in a sarcastic comment. Calling the agency the “Jeff Sessions Justice Department” is the president’s ultimate insult, Trump advisers say.

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

Collins was charged with insider trading, accused by federal prosecutors of tipping off his son about a biotechnology company’s failed drug trial to avoid significant investment losses.

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The alleged tip-off took place not during the Obama administration, as Trump’s tweet suggests, but in 2017, after Trump had become president.

Hunter was charged with using more than US$250,000 in campaign funds for personal expenses, including family holidays, school tuition and theatre tickets.

Collins has suspended his re-election campaign, while Hunter is running for re-election, alleging political bias by the Justice Department.

A few minutes after the tweet on Sessions, Trump added a second tweet attacking former FBI director James Comey, asserting that Democrats did not like Comey until Trump fired him in 2017.

“The Democrats, none of whom voted for Jeff Sessions, must love him now. Same thing with Lyin’ James Comey. The Dems all hated him, wanted him out, thought he was disgusting – UNTIL I FIRED HIM! Immediately he became a wonderful man, a saint like figure in fact. Really sick!”

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The tweet on Sessions was an unusually harsh salvo, even for a president who sometimes expresses his inner thoughts on Twitter to the chagrin of his staff.

The tweet indicated that his attorney general should base law enforcement actions on how it could affect the president and the Republican Party’s electoral success. It also seemed to indicate electoral popularity should influence charges.

There has typically been a separation between the White House and the Justice Department, but Trump has frequently disregarded those norms, giving orders to Sessions.

Sessions recently pushed back, saying publicly that he will not allow political manipulation of the department.

Trump hints that Jeff Sessions' days as attorney general are numbered

Trump recently told Bloomberg News that he would keep Sessions as attorney general until after the midterm elections.

He did not say whether Sessions would retain his role beyond that.

Trump’s attacks on Sessions – and his efforts to force his attorney general to quit his post after Sessions recused himself from the investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election – are now part of an obstruction investigation into the president by special counsel Robert Mueller and his team.

Trump’s conduct in firing Comey is also under investigation, particularly why he fired Comey and whether he pressured Comey to be generous to Michael Flynn, Trump’s former national security adviser. Flynn has pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI.

Trump stayed at the White House on Monday, watching television. He had earlier emerged outside for moments, apparently about to join a waiting motorcade, before returning inside.