A decision by the Justice Department to hold off on prosecuting two Republican congressmen up for re-election in order to help them win would have been highly unethical and a blatantly politically motivated violation of the department's nonpartisan mission.
President Donald Trump drew some attention on Monday when he tweeted his disappointment that two Republican congressmen were hit with criminal charges so soon before November's mid-term elections ... and directing that disappointment towards Attorney General Jeff Sessions for not letting the representatives slide. The two were the first members of Congress to endorse Trump after he announced his bid for president in 2015, at a time when few others did.
Chris Collins of NY was indicted on insider trading charges, which he has denied, while Duncan Hunter of California was accused with his wife of using campaign donations for personal purposes. But in what is expected to be a charged debate over Sessions's successor - a debate likely to try even some Republican senators wary of Trump's maneuvers - tweets like the ones Sunday aren't exactly going to tamp down the idea Trump is searching for a political crusader to lead the DOJ. The White House did not immediately react.
"This tweet alone may be an impeachable offense", Toobin said on CNN's "New Day".
"The Democrats, none of whom voted for Jeff Sessions, must love him now", Trump quipped.
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The president apparently was referring to the current investigations into GOP Reps.
Trump recently told Bloomberg News that he would keep Sessions as attorney general until after the midterm elections.
Later in the segment, Napolitano said that such tweets could be used by Mueller to potentially prove corrupt intent in an obstruction of justice charge. He was also under investigation by congressional ethics officials.
Contrary to Trump's claim that both indictments were the result of "long-running Obama-era investigations", the DOJ did not open its investigation into Hunter until March 2017, after Trump took office. The comment on Monday was the latest indication that Trump, who ran on a pledge to "drain the swamp", believes his political allies should be immune from prosecution, regardless of the evidence stacked against them.
Both congressmen have pleaded not guilty in their cases. If the charges end up being dropped as a result of Trump's tweet, then Toobin would have a stronger argument.