“Two long running, Obama era, investigations of two very popular Republican Congressmen were brought to a well publicized charge, just ahead of the Mid-Terms, by the Jeff Sessions Justice Department. Two easy wins now in doubt because there is not enough time. Good job Jeff……”
Trump is referring to the indictments of New York Rep. Chris Collins and California Rep. Duncan Hunter by the Justice Department on charges of insider trading and misuse of campaign funds, respectively.
Let’s count all the ways this is wrong.
2. Trump is alleging the Justice Department — which is run by his handpicked Attorney General Jeff Sessions — purposely brought these indictments in the middle of the midterm elections to jeopardize the GOP’s chances. (Reminder: The Justice Department is run by Republican appointees.)
3. Trump takes issue with criminal charges because they take “two easy wins” in two GOP-leaning districts and turn them into potentially competitive seats. (Collins retired amid the hubbub over his charges; Hunter has vowed to continue running.)
4. The President of the United States snarkily attacks his own attorney general for doing a “good job.”
It’s hard — amid all of the norm-busting that Trump has done since he announced for president in June 2015 — to register any real shock over anything he says or tweets these days. He’s adjusted expectations downward so drastically that everything he says or does produces a sigh and a shrug from most of the public.
But just by way of context, let me take you back to the summer of 2009, when, following the arrest of Harvard professor Henry Louis “Skip” Gates at his home in Cambridge, Massachusetts, a new-on-the-job President Barack Obama said that the Cambridge police had “acted stupidly” in arresting a man who had clear evidence he was trying to enter his own home.
All of that happened because the President of the United States said a local police force had “acted stupidly” in arresting a guy trying to get into his own house.
The answer to that question is, of course, a resounding “no.”
Which means that in the space of a decade, we have gone from Republicans castigating a Democratic president for suggesting the local police had acted wrongly in arresting a man trying to enter his home to Republicans largely sitting in silence while a Republican President bashes his own Justice Department for charging GOP congressmen for allegedly breaking the law because doing so is politically inconvenient. And possibly because the two members of Congress facing indictments have been long and loyal supporters of his.
That’s a hell of a long way to travel.