President Donald Trump on Monday took to Twitter to call for reopening the criminal investigation into 2016 presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s handling of classified information.
In doing so, the president took shots at his own attorney general and at congressional committees investigating Russian interference into the 2016 campaign.
“So why aren’t the Committees and investigators, and of course our beleaguered A.G., looking into Crooked Hillarys crimes & Russia relations?” he tweeted.
Trump followed up with a tweet attacking Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), the ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee.
“Sleazy Adam Schiff, the totally biased Congressman looking into ‘Russia,’ spends all of his time on television pushing the Dem loss excuse!” he wrote.
Sarah Isgur Flores, a spokeswoman for Sessions, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The FBI’s investigation of then-secretary of state Clinton’s practice of using a private server in her house to bypass secure government facilities helped sink her presidential ambitions. But in a roundabout way, it also set off a chain of events that have added to a cloud over Trump’s presidency.
It began with then-FBI Director James Comey announcing publicly that no reasonable prosecutor would seek charges against Clinton — despite displaying poor judgment. Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein cited Comey’s conduct during the investigation as the basis for a recommendation that he be fired.
Once fired, Comey arranged to leak portions of notes he kept of meetings with Trump in an attempt — by his own admission — to maneuver the Justice Department into appointing a special counsel to investigate Russian meddling and possible collusion with Trump’s campaign. It worked. Rosenstein tapped former FBI Director Robert Mueller on May 17 to head the investigation.
Joseph diGenova, who served as U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia under President Ronald Reagan, said he has no question that political considerations under the prior administration prevented a thorough investigation of Clinton.
“I would have reopened the Hillary email investigation one week after taking office,” he said.
DiGenova said the Justice Department has the legal authority to reopen any case, either because of new evidence or because leaders of the agency believe the law has been misapplied, as long as the statute of limitations has not expired.
He criticized the investigation’s handling of evidence and the way in which key witnesses received immunity.
“I think early, the Hillary Clinton investigation was interfered with by politics … It was an abomination and embarrassment to the department,” he said.
DiGenova said Trump should stop criticizing Sessions. But he dismissed the notion the using Twitter to call for a renewed Clinton probe represented a lack of seriousness.
“You can’t judge this by normal standards,” he said. “President Trump is not an ordinary president. He wasn’t elected that way.”
(photo credit, homepage and article images: Lorie Shaull, Wikimedia)