In another attack on his administration’s law enforcement agencies, President Trump told a rally of supporters in Indiana on Thursday night that he would “get involved” if the Justice Department and FBI do not “start doing their job and doing it right.”
That threat came hours after he told Bloomberg News that he would not fire Attorney General Jeff Sessions before the midterm elections—but didn’t say he would not do so after the elections.
In that same interview, he blasted Sessions and the DOJ, complaining the former was being unjust by recusing himself from the special counsel investigation and accusing the latter of unfairly ending an investigation against Hillary Clinton.
At his rally, too, Trump criticized Clinton’s lack of scrutiny by the press and investigators, despite the fact that she was, in fact, heavily scrutinized during the campaign. To a crowd chanting, “lock her up!” he said: “You can have the biggest story about Hillary Clinton—I mean look at what she’s getting away with, and let’s see if she gets away with it.”
After airing his frustrations about Clinton, Trump went on to vent about the DOJ and FBI. “Our Justice Department and our FBI, they have to start doing their job and doing it right and doing it now,” he said. “What’s happening is a disgrace and at some point—I wanted to stay out—but at some point if it doesn’t straighten out properly … I will get involved and I’ll get in there if I have to.”
Trump’s comments echo his past comments about Sessions, the DOJ, and the FBI, all of which he has blamed to some degree for the special counsel investigation. He has mocked and attacked Sessions privately and publicly on Twitter for recusing himself from the investigation, and he has called the investigation itself a witch hunt. Speaking to Bloomberg on Thursday, he reiterated that belief, calling the investigation “illegal” and citing “great scholars” who said “there should have never been a special counsel.”
And Trump has reportedly been pressuring Republican senators to support him in his campaign against Sessions, for a variety of reasons. According to Politico, Trump has been complaining to any senator “who will listen,” apparently finding everything about Sessions frustrating:
If Sessions’ recusal was his original sin, Trump has come to resent him for other reasons, griping to aides and lawmakers that the attorney general doesn’t have the Ivy League pedigree the president prefers, that he can’t stand his Southern accent and that Sessions isn’t a capable defender of the president on television—in part because he “talks like he has marbles in his mouth,” the president has told aides.
Last week, in an interview with Fox News, Trump said Sessions was unable to “control” his department, causing Sessions to respond that, “While I am attorney general, the actions of the Department of Justice will not be improperly influenced by political considerations.”