President Donald Trump blamed the Justice Department on Thursday for the investigations surrounding him. Trump, in particular, criticized the deal that prosecutors struck with his former lawyer Michael Cohen in exchange for his testimony on the hush payments made to two women who allegedly had affairs with him. The president also lashed out at the Attorney General saying that he failed to take control of the department.
This is not the first time that Trump has lashed out at Sessions. But in a rare reaction, the Attorney General responded saying that at no point will he allow the Justice Department to be influenced by political considerations. Trump went on to praise Paul Manafort, his former campaign manager, for refusing to cooperate with authorities in order to save himself. Manafort was convicted of financial fraud this week.
Trump took issue with plea agreements between suspects and prosecutors saying that they should be outlawed. The president made these remarks during an interview with Fox News. When asked whether he was thinking of firing Sessions, he simply reiterated his objection to Sessions’ recusal from the Russia probe. This is something that Trump sees as a major blunder. At one time he said during a rally that if he knew Sessions would recuse himself, he wouldn’t have nominated him for the position.
Trump appears to believe that the investigative actions by the Justice Department have been biased towards him. In fact, the president tweeted a list of names from the “other side” who he believes should be investigated and prosecuted. He looked convinced that these people had committed offenses and yet there was no one looking into them. The president also maintained that the Russian probe was a conspiracy spearheaded by Democrats in order to alienate Conservatives.
The current outburst comes at a time when legal jeopardy appears to be tightening around his neck. Although so far we don’t know what Mueller has on Trump, the fact that his long-term “fixer” is cooperating with prosecutors is a huge worrisome sign for the President. It’s also emerging that Trump lawyers have warned him from even considering using his executive power to pardon Manafort or other convicted aides. The lawyers fear that this would be considered tampering and could bring in an obstruction investigation against the president.
Republicans at the Capitol have also expressed their support for Sessions and the Mueller probe despite Trump’s increasing criticism. Various GOP lawmakers have come out openly to warn Trump from firing the Special Counsel and there was a bipartisan resolution a few months back designed to protect Mueller from firing.
Sessions also met Trump at the White House to discuss prison reforms. People close to the matter said that the issues of the Mueller probe and Sessions’ recusal weren’t discussed. However, Trump is not always confrontational with his perceived foes in private meetings. Instead, the president often takes to Twitter to express his discontent with various issues or people who he thinks are out to get him. Cohen’s cooperation with the feds will definitely be closely followed in the coming days because it could unravel a lot of new things.