Jeff Sessions threatens Republican midterm hopes with indictments, Trump tweets


U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday launched a fresh attack on Attorney General Jeff Sessions, accusing him of jeopardizing the chances of re-election for two Republican congressmen by bringing criminal charges against them just before the midterm elections.

Washington, Sep 4 (IANS) US President Donald Trump has slammed Attorney General Jeff Sessions for deigning to indict members of his own party just weeks before the midterm elections.

Rep. Duncan Hunter of California was indicted and accused of fraud and stealing campaign funds for personal use, and Rep. Chris Collins of NY was indicted and accused of insider trading. Trump also suggested that Democrats had more power and influence within the Justice Department than Sessions.

YouTube did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Both lawmakers pleaded not guilty: Mr. Hunter is still running for reelection, while Mr. Collins suspended his campaign.

With lawmakers like Graham, who is also a key Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, suggesting that the president is close to firing Sessions, and with Trump himself clearly appearing to be more and more frustrated with the attorney general as each day goes by, Sessions' firing seems imminent - nearly guaranteed.

Justice Department spokesman Devin O'Malley says Attorney General Jeff Session will meet with a number of state attorneys general later this month to discuss the department's concerns.

"It's clear Jeff Sessions is more concerned with his career than the good of America".

It is highly unusual for sitting presidents to lash out against attorneys general and to try to bring political considerations to bear on prosecution decisions.

But, as Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) said in a pointed statement, "The United States is not some banana republic with a two-tiered system of justice - one for the majority and one for the minority party". But their relationship has been fraught with conflict, particularly after the attorney general recused himself in March 2017 from any Justice Department investigations into Russian meddling in the USA 2016 election.

They were charged with wire fraud, falsifying records, campaign finance violations and conspiracy after a Justice Department investigation that lasted more than a year. Trump has called the probe a "witch hunt".

Former Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara called Trump's tweet "next level insane, inappropriate, unethical, stupid, incriminating".

Mr Trump has often clashed with Mr Sessions over the Russian Federation inquiry. In 2016, he made a $5,400 contribution to Trump's presidential campaign.

The DOJ's move is the first sign of the administration taking concrete action to address alleged bias following President Trump's public accusations against tech companies last week.

Meanwhile, CNN's legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin said the tweets could be grounds for impeachment.