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:

Untitled

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

76 Responses to “President Trump Attacks AG Sessions For Indicting GOP Congressmen Before Midterms”

  1. How do you drain the swamp when you are the swamp creature?

    Has his staff explained in detail to him the role of the DOJ and the AG? Because it really seems like he truly believes they are to be at his beck and call and protect him personally from attack, and to do his bidding. Loyalty to him, first and foremost.

    Dana (023079)

  2. Great essay, Dana. Beware the cheerleaders approaching. We need ethics and consistency in our politicians.

    Simon Jester (9d733c)

  3. somebody’s in charge at the corrupt department of justice but it sure isn’t jeffy

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  4. I’ll concede that the law of averages suggest one might be legitimately guilty, like bob ney, as opposed to tom delay and bob McDonnell, but they were taken off the board regardless,

    narciso (d1f714)

  5. It is no secret that Trump wanted an Attorney General who would flout the law and provide him, his family, and his cronies with protection from prosecution while pursuing his political enemies. It is the reason for his constant b!tchy-girlfriend petulance directed at Sessions almost from the very beginning of Sessions’s tenure.

    nk (dbc370)

  6. Trumpistas love to say that Trump won’t be cowed, won’t back down from a fight. But they just hate it when someone else won’t be bullied into submission by Trump.

    Radegunda (7137ae)

  7. I wonder what the justification will be for this one?
    Whataboitism?
    Obama did it first?

    Things like this are why the swamp isn’t getting drained, just different gators.

    Time123 (d54166)

  8. Loyalty to him, first and foremost.

    That’s exactly how a great many of his fans see it. They have a weirdly emotional reflex to defend Trump in every way. Maybe it’s because they have internalized his view of “American greatness” as a function of his own personal greatness – the idea that only someone as spectacularly awesome as Donald J. Trump could lift America to greatness. Therefore any failure to revere Donald J. Trump is anti-American. Or they find personal meaning in hero-worship, so anything that takes the luster off their hero is a personal affront to them.

    Radegunda (7137ae)

  9. No that who we had for eight years, the advocate for terrorists and criminals who laughed off contempt citation, in a,previous life style he vouched for oxycontin in the highest courts of the land.

    Narciso (bfe045)

  10. So because Obama was bad, trump must be good. That makes no sense. It’s very easy for them both. To be bad.

    Time123 (d54166)

  11. Sometimes I think that the Bushes, the Clintons and Obama conspired to get Trump elected President so that they would look good by comparison in the history books.

    nk (dbc370)

  12. Gotta Ohio Blue Tip?

    mg (8cbc69)

  13. This DOJ prosecution was not brought in a vacuum. Where the hell is Sessions on Hillarygate? Many reports that the investigation by designated USA Huber is a sham. Several notable witnesses not even contacted. In 6 months.

    Sessions abject refusal to see politics at work within DOJ is far more damaging than a tweet by a president.

    DJT was absolutely wrong to do it. The country is more wronged by Sessions’fantastical sense of duty.

    Ed from SFV (6d42fa)

  14. I point out that there is certainly a pattern and
    practice, that raises questions.

    But if you just accept this Russian subterfuge
    which rosenstein insulating any of his collaborators
    From scrutiny.

    narciso (d1f714)

  15. Trump’s right to call out Sessions on his violation of the 60 day rule. Undoubtedly these craven indictments will negatively impact the Mid-term Elections, which is exactly why the informal rule exists: to prevent the DOJ from using the awesome power of federal indictments to improperly sway voters during the crucial days just prior to an election.

    It’s yet another example of Sessions’ feckless incompetence. He might as well be Hillary Clinton in drag. He’s already Rosenstine’s poodle. Trump should have them both frog marched out of the DOJ and straight to the hoosegow.

    ropelight (a560e8)

  16. Among other things these indictments violate doj
    guidelines, re charges this close to an election.

    So sally Yates has been able to dodge foiaed documents for a better part of a year

    narciso (d1f714)

  17. The 60 day rule is an unwritten guideline but even if it were mandatory, the midterm elections are November 6, 2018, which is still 65 days away.

    DRJ (15874d)

  18. The election will be on Tuesday, November 6, 2018. Today is Monday, September 3, 2018. That’s 64 days from now, and the indictments have been out already for a couple of weeks.

    You know, one of the tests for cognition that Trump supposedly passed because of his good genetics is doing simple math. Like adding 27 days in September plus 31 days in October plus 6 days in November.

    nk (dbc370)

  19. GMTA, DRJ.

    nk (dbc370)

  20. Local practice up here is not to count today’s date in figuring out deadlines and due dates, that’s why I came up with 64.

    nk (dbc370)

  21. It’s past the point of replacement as with delay, by contrast Eric holder dropped all the charges against rostenkowski except one , long before the election.

    Narciso (c99e1e)

  22. Since we are discussing journalistic practice here, I’ll lay off the Salena Zito jokes…in the midst of a recent Twitter fight about her objectivity she used “30” to close out her response

    urbanleftbehind (fea0b4)

  23. It’s kind of ironic that the Obama/Holder Justice Department actually screwed the voters of Jesse Jackson Junior’s Congressional district by not indicting him before the 2012 election, which might have given local Democrats the chance to replace him with someone else. Instead, Jackson Jr. easily won reelection by a 63% – 23% margin over some hapless GOP candidate, even though the Congressman had been spending the past six months in rehab and everyone knew the axe was about to fall. The government finally indicted him a couple of weeks after the election, at which point he resigned his seat and it thus stayed open for four months leaving the district no representation.

    On the other hand, maybe the voters of Jesse Jackson Jr’s district deserved no better.

    JVW (42615e)

  24. If they can’t have the seat, no one will, those are the rules,

    Narciso (c99e1e)

  25. We count that way here, too, nk, and 64 is correct — although the indictments were Aug 8 for Collins and Aug 22 for Hunter so it’s actually much more an 64.

    DRJ (15874d)

  26. They weren’t able to replace delay on the ballot was that right, as opposed to Michael grimm.

    Narciso (c99e1e)

  27. So it’s been two years and Carter page, master spy, has been allowed to run around eampant.

    Narciso (c99e1e)

  28. The post addressed the so-called rule and timeframe:

    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.

    Dana (023079)

  29. Great point, JVW.

    Dana (023079)

  30. I don’t have an issue with it. Just hope the evidence is real and beyond a reasonable doubt as opposed to the political prosecutions we often see staged for the benefit of the leftist candidate.

    NJRob (b00189)

  31. Who happens to be the grandson of a black September terrorist, who somehow made it to this country.

    Narciso (c99e1e)

  32. It’s another example of Trump listening to his head-nodding friends at FoxNews. Weird times.

    Paul Montagu (9dcfd2)

  33. Like the way the press was Comey and then Mueller hand puppets.

    Narciso (c99e1e)

  34. Ted.
    Stevens.

    Jb (454ab6)

  35. Yes that’s the easy one, the interesting part was the bureaus chief witness and his handler.

    Narciso (c99e1e)

  36. I certainly hope these prosecutions are legit. If they’re more Ted Stevens examples, I’m sure we’ll hear calls for checks on prosecutorial discretion here, with a cacophony blaring like crickets.

    Munroe (62571b)

  37. Ted.
    Bundy.

    nk (dbc370)

  38. I’m sure if trump and his supporters turned a funeral into an “I hate Hillary” rally patterico would be wringing his hands and remarking how far we’ve fallen and how despicable that was. Well since it was against Trump tho, shrug let’s not even comment

    Hi (72bfde)

  39. Hi, what has that got to do with the post?

    Dana (023079)

  40. Nothing I just notice what’s newsworthy to the blog owner. Kinda like how Jen Rubin writes nothing but I hate trump bs every day now

    Hi (72bfde)

  41. Those tweets are an example of Trump’s incompetence, not his corruption.
    He should have stated clearly the indictments were too close to the election and DOJ should have waited until the first Wednesday in November to indict. I am fairly sure that is all he meant.
    He could have taken the truly high road and complimented the DOJ on attacking the swamp no matter which party was involved.

    Instead a badly phrased tweet in which he sounds like he doesn’t want the DOJ to go after corruption when it is not convenient for him.

    kishnevi (86d06e)

  42. There is no etiquette in a knife fight, for reasons passing understanding it is impossible to indict much less convict a democrat, or Diane feinstein would be in the hot seat, John chisholm hasn’t been sanctioned for wharf he did it walker and his team,

    narciso (d1f714)

  43. 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 isn’t supported at all Dana

    President Trump is saying the DOJ should have brought this to a head much earlier so that alternative candidates could have been found and preparations made

    but the sleazy corrupt sessions DOJ timed this for maximum damage to the republican party

    it’s what the sleazy corrupt sessions DOJ does time and again

    and President Trump is absolutely correct to point it out

    people need to know their DOJ is corrupt

    people need to know their DOJ is sleazy

    happyfeet (28a91b)

  44. Nothing I just notice what’s newsworthy to the blog owner.

    Why would a “blog owner” write something that’s not newsworthy or of interest to said person? BTW, I couldn’t help but notice that the whole Instapundit team has had a news blackout on Trump’s remarks about Sessions, even though those remarks were indeed newsworthy.

    Paul Montagu (9dcfd2)

  45. Reruns Montagu, you wait till the fall season for new,material like say devos,putting an end to the campus star chambers or cutting ofc Khan cronies in Pakistan,

    Narciso (c99e1e)

  46. Certainly, nobody at the DOJ is aware that if the GOP loses the house, congressional oversight of their conduct begins to circle the drain. The slow walk becomes a victory parade.

    Munroe (443afa)

  47. At this point who considers trumps every other twitter blast newsworthy and a subject to parse? He’s just throwing out random thoughts and people take it like policy announcements.

    Hi (72bfde)

  48. They focus on one, where there are many areas of focus but former Harkin, Clinton mezvinski and brothers of same, have a singular focus.

    Narciso (c99e1e)

  49. At this point who considers trumps every other twitter blast newsworthy and a subject to parse? He’s just throwing out random thoughts and people take it like policy announcements.

    Hi (72bfde) — 9/3/2018 @ 9:12 pm

    It was Trump’s White House that told us the president’s tweets are indeed official statements:

    The President is the President of the United States, so they’re considered official statements by the President of the United States,” Spicer said, when asked during his daily briefing how they should be characterized. Spicer did not indicate whether that included both of the President’s Twitter handles: @realDonaldTrump and @POTUS.

    Dana (023079)

  50. Dana does the entire executive branch leap to trumps tweets?

    Hi (72bfde)

  51. president trump can always pardon them.

    lany (aa1298)

  52. welcome back footsies – be good!

    Duncan Hunter and his wife were caught – red-handed – stealing a quarter of a million dollars from his campaign funds. The indictment lists hundreds of specific transactions, the exact amounts, dates and locations.

    Hunter’s response:

    1) This is a rigged, politically-motivated witch-hunt (by a Republican-appointed prosecutor)
    2) Oh, and my wife dunnit!

    Spoiler alert: Hunter is guilty as hell.

    Trump’s renewed assault on the rule of law to protect his supporters – by itself – constitutes sufficient grounds for impeachment.

    Dave (445e97)

  53. Until very recently, it was legal for Illinois politicians to convert “campaign contributions” to their own use as long as they declared it and paid the income tax on it. One one-term Chicago mayor had $11 million (when the dollar was still worth 24 cents) when she was thrown out. Her successor had $13 million when he died in office. It’s estimated that the next to last mayor had over $100 million before the law was changed. What the Duncans are guilty of is being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Also, tax evasion.

    nk (dbc370)

  54. Since Patterico has preemptively–and wisely–disarmed critics from the usual and by now very trite whataboutisms, they turn instead to grousing about his choice of topics: why point out Trump’s puerile invectives when there’s so much to be said about how fabulous he is? I don’t understand the need they seem to feel to pile on one of the precious few remaining conservative critics of Trump (and who does so at his own expense, on his own blog). If they find Patterico’s views so irritating–and if it’s 24/7 cheerleading for Trump that they want–there are LOTS of other venues they can read. I find it incredible, though, that they really think that Sessions has it in for Trump and the Republican Party to the extent that he would deliberately jinx the election. It was the two politicians who jinxed their chances, not Sessions.

    Roger (460250)

  55. He’s just throwing out random thoughts and people take it like policy announcements.

    He fired his Secretary of State by tweet. His short missives very well be ill-conceived, ill-thought out and random, but he is expressing the policy of the United States of America via his cell phone. By default, every single tweet from the most powerful person on this planet is newsworthy.

    Paul Montagu (9dcfd2)

  56. Meanwhile the dems go full Wisconsin, a move they had pioneered in Texas almost a decade earlier

    Narciso (8e08fa)

  57. Patterico didn’t write this post. I did.

    Things that Trump has tweeted about that have to do with policy, legal wranglings, use of government, collusion, secret meetings with his son and Russian lawyer re dirt on Hillary, trade and tariffs, counter-threats to world leaders threatening us, illegal immigration, etc., etc. All of these proclamations, threats, decisions impact Americans. Why should they not be considered more than random thoughts? You can find a fuller list of his tweets by subject here.

    What presidents say matters. And what they say has far more reaching consequences that what you or I say. As it should. Thus the built-in understanding for presidents to be discreet and mindful of what they say. Twitter is Trump’s preferred form of communication, considering the volume of tweets. Why should that form of “official statements” be excluded just for him?

    Dana (023079)

  58. Jay Nordingler makes some good points re the president’s “talking”:

    In response to the president’s statement yesterday, Senator Ben Sasse (R., Neb.) issued a statement of his own:

    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. 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.

    Yes. It is worth revisiting the presidential oath of office, which goes, “I do solemnly swear [or affirm] that I will faithfully execute the office of president of the United States, and will, to the best of my ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

    Over the years, I have often praised Senator Sasse for what he has said. And when I do, my critics (and his) say, “But it’s just talk!” Maybe. But talk can be very important. Indeed, it is inseparable from politics and leadership. It is what moves people, in this direction or that. It is what people thrill to or decry.

    Think of all the articles you ever consume about politics — on our site here, or thousands of other sites. Most of them have to do with talk: with what someone has said (or not said).

    Talk can be cheap, very cheap. It can also be costly. “Speak out!” we say. “Why are you afraid to speak out?” we say. In dictatorships, it can be very, very hard to speak out. Many people have been imprisoned or worse for talk. But even in democratic societies, talk can be hard. It can be hard not only in politics but also in high schools and families and churches and professional communities and other arenas.

    Dana (023079)

  59. “He tells it like it is” was a major rallying cry in favor of Trump during the primaries. Trump was honest and brave, we were told, because he had the guts to say things that other people wouldn’t, or say them in ways they wouldn’t – blunt and unfiltered.
    When it’s convenient, his fans claim that Trump’s tweets are powerful in getting results. When his tweets are embarrassing even to them, they say he’s just throwing out random thoughts, just trolling, merely “controlling the narrative,” etc.

    Radegunda (7137ae)

  60. Exactly, Radegunda.

    Dana (023079)

  61. The DOJ has been heavily politicized for years. I remember the prosecutorial misconduct of Senator Ted Stevens (AK) that gave us Obamacare. This alone should cast any DOJ pre-election prosecution into question. Furthermore, it’s highly suspicious that the first two Congressional supporters of Trump got in the firing line of federal prosecutors. I don’t blame Sessions for the prosecutions. I blame Sessions for keeping Rosenstein who appears to be heavily involved with the cabal whose sole purpose is to depose Trump. The lack of activity in prosecuting Clinton coupled with the very expensive very political attacks on the President stinks of political corruption that Sessions has been unable or unwilling to remove.

    jason stewart (003ffc)

  62. Sessions is an honorable man, as was Ashcroft that’s why they had to get them out of the way, the Senate wouldn’t confirm trumps previous choice who was all about border enforcement, so we end up with braverman

    Narciso (610bd8)

  63. Furthermore, it’s highly suspicious that the first two Congressional supporters of Trump got in the firing line of federal prosecutors. I don’t blame Sessions for the prosecutions.

    Perhaps this speaks to the kind of people that were immediately drawn to Trump. You know, only the best! Why do you look at the DOJ with suspicion and not at two congressman and their criminality?

    Dana (023079)

  64. Birds of a feather flock together.

    nk (dbc370)

  65. A decorated veteran of Afghanistan and Iraq, vs the son and grandson of Arab terrorists, that seems awfully convenient.

    Narciso (d47513)

  66. 62.“He tells it like it is” was a major rallying cry in favor of Trump during the primaries.

    Howard Cosell he ain’t.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  67. Yet Howud kind of liked him (vis a vis his limited exposure as NO Generals owner and Mike Tyson patron), but would bear the wrath of the NT Neocon brethren if he admitted it.

    urbanleftbehind (fea0b4)

  68. 50.At this point who considers trumps every other twitter blast newsworthy and a subject to parse? He’s just throwing out random thoughts and people take it like policy announcements.

    Just like Homer Simpson… Donuts! Meatloaf! Boobs!

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  69. 68.A decorated veteran of Afghanistan and Iraq… known by his street name, ‘crook’ in San Diego circles.

    DCSCA (797bc0)

  70. I think he was just too PW’d to deal with the true problem, but the oppo would solve that problem in a more swift and finite manner.

    urbanleftbehind (847a06)

  71. Another Dem wiboy buys dust. ~Pardon the Source

    urbanleftbehind (847a06)

  72. You have be that stark raving mad, to get that kind of traction.

    Narciso (d47513)

  73. …..I don’t blame Sessions for the prosecutions. I blame Sessions for keeping Rosenstein who appears to be heavily involved with the cabal whose sole purpose is to depose Trump…..

    Given that Rosenstein was appointed by Trump, it is hardly Sessions fault….

    rip murdock (d2a2a8)


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