Donald Trump's Jeff Sessions tweet shows how far we've fallen

On Monday afternoon, ...

Posted: Sep 4, 2018 6:54 PM
Updated: Sep 4, 2018 6:54 PM

On Monday afternoon, President Donald Trump tweeted this:

"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......"

Barack Obama

Chris Collins

Crime, law enforcement and corrections

Criminal law

Donald Trump

Government and public administration

Government bodies and offices

Government departments and authorities

Government organizations - US

Indictments

Jeff Sessions

Justice departments

Law and legal system

Political Figures - US

Political organizations

Politics

US Congress

US Department of Justice

US federal departments and agencies

US federal government

US House of Representatives

US political parties

US Republican Party

White House

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.

1. The Collins indictment deals with advice he allegedly gave to his son to sell off a stock in June 2017, and the Collins indictment came down in August 2018. That is not the in the "Obama era." (The investigation into Hunter began in April 2016 -- at the tail end of the "Obama era"; but the actual indictment came in August 2018.)

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.

Obama was castigated by Republicans for turning the episode into a racial one (Gates is black) and for questioning the police for simply doing their job. Within 48 hours, Obama was apologizing -- saying he wished he had "calibrated" his words differently. Within days after that, Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, Gates and the arresting officer (who was white) were sitting at the White House -- the so-called "Beer Summit."

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.

Now, fast-forward to the present. What we have here -- regardless of your party affiliation -- is this: The President of the United States is openly questioning the indictments of two sitting Republican members of Congress by a Republican-led Justice Department. He is doing so potentially because those two members of Congress were the first two members of Congress to support Trump's presidential bid but definitely because the indictments jeopardize his party's chances in the fall election.

That -- THAT -- is how far we have come in the space of less than a decade. And what is even more remarkable is that while a handful of congressional Republicans voiced their disapproval with Trump's views -- the usual suspects like Sens. Ben Sasse (R-Nebraska) and Jeff Flake (R-Arizona) -- most tried to ignore the tweet, which CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin said Tuesday "may be an impeachable offense."

Whether or not Republicans acknowledge what is right in front of their faces, this much is plain: The current President of the United States sees the Justice Department as an appendage of his own political operation. His public statements suggest he believes the job of the attorney general is twofold: 1) punish the President's political enemies and b) go easy on the President's friends. The Monday tweet makes this reality inarguable. (As do the legion of tweets Trump has directed at Sessions, insisting that the special counsel probe into Russia interference is "illegal" -- it's not -- and demanding the Justice Department look into alleged crimes committed by Hillary Clinton.)

"Will DJT never learn that an attorney general's job is not to play goalie for a president or his party, or any party for that matter?" tweeted conservative commentator Brit Hume, hitting the nail on the head.

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.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 36096

Reported Deaths: 2231
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion10095598
Lake3833203
Allen175371
Cass15927
Elkhart149528
St. Joseph133736
Hendricks119276
Hamilton118394
Johnson1121112
Madison59961
Porter55830
Clark53041
Bartholomew52739
LaPorte44624
Howard44036
Tippecanoe4294
Jackson3992
Shelby39722
Delaware38940
Hancock35127
Boone32435
Floyd32340
Vanderburgh2892
Morgan28426
Noble26821
Montgomery24818
Clinton2461
White2389
Decatur23131
Grant22523
Dubois2093
Harrison19522
Henry18412
Kosciusko1792
Vigo1788
Marshall1782
Greene17225
Dearborn17022
Monroe17012
Lawrence16724
Warrick16729
Miami1441
Putnam1427
Jennings1324
Orange13122
Scott1263
Franklin1168
LaGrange1162
Ripley1086
Daviess9916
Carroll943
Steuben882
Wayne866
Wabash802
Fayette797
Newton7810
Jasper731
Jay540
Clay533
Randolph523
Rush513
Washington501
Fulton501
Pulaski500
Jefferson491
Whitley453
DeKalb441
Starke393
Perry390
Huntington382
Sullivan371
Owen341
Wells340
Brown331
Benton320
Knox310
Blackford272
Tipton261
Crawford240
Fountain222
Switzerland210
Spencer211
Adams211
Gibson192
Parke180
Posey160
Martin130
Ohio130
Warren121
Vermillion100
Union90
Pike60
Unassigned0179

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 37282

Reported Deaths: 2340
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Franklin6216293
Cuyahoga4732259
Hamilton2767167
Marion268631
Lucas2313263
Pickaway209638
Summit1505181
Mahoning1466191
Butler94832
Columbiana89152
Stark782101
Lorain72260
Montgomery72016
Trumbull59451
Belmont44715
Warren39821
Medina37625
Tuscarawas3674
Miami36630
Delaware35514
Ashtabula34738
Portage33357
Lake32012
Fairfield3148
Clark3137
Wood30449
Geauga30034
Wayne29351
Licking26710
Mercer2238
Allen21933
Clermont2185
Richland2164
Darke18923
Erie18516
Madison1637
Washington11819
Crawford1184
Morrow1081
Greene1055
Ottawa10417
Putnam9514
Sandusky8512
Monroe8015
Auglaize773
Ross732
Hardin710
Hocking705
Jefferson672
Huron611
Williams561
Union551
Muskingum541
Holmes543
Hancock531
Wyandot482
Shelby463
Fulton450
Coshocton450
Clinton451
Logan430
Fayette410
Preble391
Guernsey382
Defiance342
Carroll343
Lawrence311
Brown301
Champaign281
Seneca262
Highland261
Knox251
Vinton212
Ashland210
Perry191
Athens181
Henry170
Scioto170
Jackson140
Paulding140
Adams111
Harrison100
Pike90
Gallia81
Van Wert70
Meigs60
Noble60
Morgan50
Unassigned00
Fort Wayne
Scattered Clouds
82° wxIcon
Hi: 88° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 84°
Angola
Few Clouds
77° wxIcon
Hi: 86° Lo: 62°
Feels Like: 79°
Huntington
Scattered Clouds
79° wxIcon
Hi: 87° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 80°
Decatur
Clear
79° wxIcon
Hi: 87° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 80°
Van Wert
Clear
81° wxIcon
Hi: 89° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 81°
Sunny & Pleasant Weekend
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events