Patterico's Pontifications

9/3/2018

President Trump Attacks AG Sessions For Indicting GOP Congressmen Before Midterms

Filed under: General — Dana @ 2:51 pm

[guest post by Dana]

Back in 2016, then-candidate Trump told voters he was the “law and order candidate”:

“We must maintain law and order at the highest level or we will cease to have a country, 100 percent,” he said during a speech in Virginia Beach, Virginia, in which he heaped praise upon America’s law enforcement officers. “We will cease to have a country. I am the law and order candidate.”

Pretty funny, considering his decision to publicly drag Attorney General Sessions today for following the law and indicting two GOP congressman before the midterms instead of waiting until their “easy wins” were secured to do so:

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Details:

Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-California, and Rep. Chris Collins, R-New York, were indicted within two weeks of each other last month on unrelated charges.

Collins was charged with 13 counts of securities fraud, wire fraud and making false statements related to an alleged insider trading scheme.
Hunter was indicted for using campaign funds for personal use and were charged with counts of wire fraud, falsifying records, campaign finance violations and conspiracy.

Both lawmakers have pleaded not guilty.

Under long-standing Justice Department custom, prosecutors generally avoid public disclosure of overt investigative steps involving a candidate for office or election matters within 60 days of an election.

But the so-called, 60-day rule is not an official regulation or found in any federal statute. Instead, it’s up to prosecutors to use their best judgment and, above all else, make sure that political considerations play no role in investigative decisions.

Republican congressional leadership considered the charges serious enough to move to strip both men of their committee assignments. Collins suspended his campaign days after he was indicted, while Hunter is continuing to campaign for re-election.

As a reminder, Hunter and Collins were the first two Republican lawmakers to back then-candidate Trump.

Back in 2016, then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch issued this memorandum:

“Politics must play no role in the decisions of federal investigators or prosecutors regarding any investigations or criminal charges. Law enforcement officers and prosecutors may never select the timing of investigative steps or criminal charges for the purpose of affecting any election, or for the purpose of giving an advantage or disadvantage to any candidate or political party,”

Now some people are going to cry foul and go on to point out the obvious political considerations of President Obama’s DOJ. And they would be right in doing so. *But*, no matter the failings and corruption of a previous administration, it does not justify or excuse in any way, shape or form, a current president from undermining his own appointed AG because there was no favoritism given to ensure a win for his preferred candidates in an election. Too bad the president didn’t take Sessions at his word when he said last week:

“While I am Attorney General, the actions of the Department of Justice will not be improperly influenced by political considerations.”

Clearly Sessions meant it. And clearly Sessions is refusing to kiss the ring.

It’s telling that instead of being angry at the corruption of two GOP congressmen, the President of the United States is angry that his AG followed the law and gave no political consideration in making his decision. It’s further telling that the President of the United States would have preferred Sessions to look the other way for the sake of an election win. This should be troubling to everyone, no matter where one falls on the Trump-as-President spectrum.

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)

–Dana


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