Republicans hit Trump for criticizing Justice Department

AFP  Getty Images

AFP Getty Images

President Trump stepped up his criticism of Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Monday, hammering him over criminal charges recently brought against two Republican congressmen, which may jeopardize the GOP's chances of holding those seats in the midterm elections.

The president cited what he called "Obama era investigations" just before midterm elections and that "two easy wins now in doubt".

"Democrats, none of whom voted for Jeff Sessions, must love him now". Duncan Hunter of Alpine, who was charged last month with spending campaign funds on personal expenses and falsifying federal reports on his political finances, and Chris Collins of NY, who two weeks earlier was accused of insider trading and lying to the FBI.

Hunter, also an early and vocal supporter of the president, was accused of misusing $250,000 of campaign funds in late August. Both have proclaimed their innocence, but Collins has dropped out of his race.

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But before the results became public, Collins called his son, a shareholder, so that he could dump the stock, the indictment says.

Trump has frequently pilloried Sessions for recusing himself from Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation of possible collusion with Russian Federation to tilt the 2016 U.S. election toward the real estate billionaire. "Really sick!" Trump added in another tweet.

Collins suspended his bid for re-election after his indictment, while Hunter has indicated he has no plans to end his run. He was also under investigation by congressional ethics officials.

A spokeswoman for Sessions declined to comment, and the White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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"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".

Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) tweeted, "This is not the conduct of a President committed to defending and upholding the constitution, but rather a President looking to use the Department of Justice to settle political scores". So far, the available evidence suggests one investigation began during Trump's presidency.

Under pressure from Trump, Sessions issued an unusual statement last month saying that "while I am attorney general, the actions of the Department of Justice will not be improperly influenced by political considerations".

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 part of an obstruction investigation into the president by special counsel Robert Mueller and his team.

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