Wed, Sep 05, 2018 - Page 7 News List

Trump lashes out at DOJ for indicting Republicans

PERSONAL BIDDING:The US is not a banana republic with separate justice systems for different parties, US Senator Ben Sasse said in response to Trump’s remarks

AP, WASHINGTON

Showing his disregard for the US Department of Justice’s (DOJ) independence, US President Donald Trump tweeted that federal indictments against two Republican congressmen placed the US Republican Party in midterm election jeopardy.

Trump again attacked US Attorney General Jeff Sessions in the tweet suggesting that the department consider politics when making decisions: “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. Two easy wins now in doubt because there is not enough time. Good job Jeff......”

Trump has frequently suggested that he views the department less as a law enforcement agency and more as a department that is supposed to do his personal and political bidding.

Still, investigators are never supposed to take into account the political affiliations of the people they investigate.

Trump did not name the Republican congressmen, but he was apparently referring to the first two Republicans to endorse him in the Republican presidential primaries.

Both were last month indicted on separate charges: US Representative Duncan Hunter of California on charges that included spending campaign funds for personal expenses and US Representative Chris Collins of New York on insider trading.

Both have proclaimed their innocence.

The Hunter investigation began in June 2016, according to the indictment.

The indictment into Collins lays out behavior from last year.

Hunter has not exited his race, while Collins ended his re-election bid days after his indictment.

Both seats appear likely to remain in Republican 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.

Trump did not have any public events on Monday. He briefly exited the White House to a waiting motorcade, but then went back inside without going anywhere.

Trump’s tweet drew a scolding from US Senator Ben Sasse, a Nebraska Republican who sits on the US Senate Judiciary Committee.

“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 in a statement.

“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,” he said.

Trump has previously pressed Sessions to investigate his perceived enemies and has accused Sessions of failing to take control of the department.

He has also repeatedly complained publicly over Sessions’ decision to recuse himself from the federal investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.

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