World, Americas

US: Trump ratchets up feud with Sessions

American president tells attorney general to prosecute Democrats as pressure mounts over Cohen

24.08.2018
US: Trump ratchets up feud with Sessions FILE PHOTO

By Michael Hernandez

WASHINGTON

U.S. President Donald Trump continued to tear into his attorney general Friday, telling Jeff Sessions to investigate his political opponents.

Trump quoted a rare public rebuke that Sessions issued on Thursday in which the top law enforcement official maintained the Justice Department would not "be improperly influenced by political considerations."

Trump responded in an early morning tweet, saying: "Jeff, this is GREAT, what everyone wants, so look into all of the corruption on the 'other side.'" He listed a series of topics and individuals including Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who is leading an investigation into the Trump campaign and possible Russia collusion, for Sessions to probe.

"Open up the papers & documents without redaction? Come on Jeff, you can do it, the country is waiting!" he said.

Trump also pointed to a five-year sentence handed down to former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Reality Winner on Thursday for giving a media outlet a classified NSA document on Russian cyberattacks.

"Gee, this is 'small potatoes' compared to what Hillary Clinton did!" Trump said. "So unfair Jeff, Double Standard."

Trump opened his salvo against Sessions on Thursday, saying Sessions "never took control of the Justice Department."

The public criticism prompted Sessions to retort via a statement in which he emphasized he "took control of the Department of Justice the day I was sworn in, which is why we have had unprecedented success at effectuating the President’s agenda."

Trump has repeatedly had Sessions in his crosshairs following the attorney general's decision to recuse himself from the federal investigation into Russia. Trump blames the decision for paving the way for Mueller's appointment.

“What kind of a man is this?” Trump asked in an interview with Fox News aired on Thursday. “You know the only reason I gave him the job? Because I felt loyalty. He was an original supporter.”

The president has been under increasing pressure following bombshell revelations from his former longtime attorney, who when entering a plea agreement in a federal investigation on Tuesday implicated Trump in campaign finance violations.

Michael Cohen told a district court judge in New York he made hush money payments to an adult film actress and a former Playboy model "at the direction" of Trump with the intent to "influence the election."

Cohen did not name the two women, nor did he directly name Trump, but said he was working "in coordination and at the direction of a candidate for federal office."

Cohen's comments, under oath, coupled with the conviction of Trump's former campaign chairman on eight financial charges Tuesday, has increased the prospects that Democrats would seek to oust the president should they take the House -- where impeachment proceedings must begin -- in November's midterm elections.

Trump warned that should he be impeached the stock market would "crash" and "everybody would be very poor."

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