Trump blasts Sessions over criminal charges against GOP lawmakers

President TrumpDonald John TrumpSenate advances public lands bill in late-night vote Warren, Democrats urge Trump to back down from veto threat over changing Confederate-named bases Esper orders ‘After Action Review’ of National Guard’s role in protests MORE on Monday slammed Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsMcCabe, Rosenstein spar over Russia probe Rosenstein takes fire from Republicans in heated testimony Rosenstein defends Mueller appointment, role on surveillance warrants MORE over criminal charges brought against two Republican congressmen in recent weeks, suggesting that the Department of Justice (DOJ) had endangered GOP hopes of retaining both seats in the November elections.

“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.

“Two easy wins now in doubt because there is not enough time. Good job Jeff,” he continued.

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The president was referencing charges against Reps. Chris CollinsChristopher (Chris) Carl CollinsWe can’t afford to let local news die House bill would ban stock trading by members of Congress Former Rep. Chris Collins sentenced to 2 years in prison for insider trading MORE (R-N.Y.) and Duncan HunterDuncan HunterLobbying world Duncan Hunter granted delayed start to prison sentence over coronavirus New poll shows tight race in key California House race MORE (R-Calif.), both of whom were early supporters of Trump.

The Justice Department charged Collins early last month with securities fraud and lying to the FBI about his efforts to tip off family members with nonpublic stock information to help them avoid hundreds of thousands of dollars in investment losses.

Collins, the first member of Congress to endorse Trump in the 2016 election, has professed his innocence, but suspended his reelection campaign. The insider trading allegations against him are from last year.

Weeks later, the DOJ charged Hunter and his wife, Margaret Hunter, with misusing $250,000 in campaign funds, and falsifying campaign records to the Federal Election Commission to conceal the purchases.

Hunter allegedly used campaign funds to pay for his family’s dental work, his children’s tuition, international travel for nearly a dozen relatives, fast food, golf outings and more.

The California congressman echoed Trump in his vow to fight the charges, claiming the DOJ has a “political agenda.”

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The president added in a tweet Monday afternoon that Democrats “must love” Sessions in the wake of the charges, likening his popularity to former FBI Director James ComeyJames Brien ComeyGOP votes to give Graham broad subpoena power in Obama-era probe This week: Democrats introduce sweeping police reform package Graham postpones Russia probe subpoena vote as tensions boil over MORE, whom Trump fired last year.

Trump also inaccurately claimed no Democrats voted to confirm Sessions, when Sen. Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinTrump administration seeks to use global aid for nuclear projects Shelley Moore Capito wins Senate primary West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice wins GOP gubernatorial primary MORE (D-W.Va.) did vote in Sessions’s favor.

Trump’s Labor Day attacks on Sessions mark the latest escalation in an already fraught relationship between the two men.

The president has become increasingly outspoken in his criticism of Sessions, saying the attorney general should have pushed to prosecute Democrats.

Trump told Bloomberg in an interview on Thursday that Sessions will remain in his job at least until the November midterm elections. The president declined to comment when asked if he would keep his attorney general on beyond that.

The president has repeatedly voiced frustration over Sessions’s decision early last year to recuse himself from the investigation into Russian interference, stating that he would not have nominated the former Alabama senator for the job if he knew Sessions was going to do so.

During an interview late last month with Fox News, Trump claimed he only appointed Sessions, a key member of his campaign, because he “felt loyalty.”

He went on to blame the attorney general for failing to crack down on “corruption” at the Justice Department, and suggested Sessions was turning a blind eye to Democratic misdeeds.

In a rare rebuke of the president, Sessions said in a statement that he would “not be improperly influenced” by political pressure.

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