Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) slammed Donald Trump on Friday, calling his intimidation of U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions “totally inappropriate” and accusing the president of “undermining our justice system.”
Trump told reporters as he was leaving for a 12-day trip to Asia that he was “disappointed” in the Justice Department for failing to investigate the Democrats and his former presidential rival Hillary Clinton.
“I’m not really involved with the Justice Department,” Trump said. “I’d like to let it run itself. But honestly, they should be looking at Democrats. ... They should be looking at a lot of things, and a lot of people are disappointed with the Justice Department, including me.”
Asked if he would fire Session if he doesn’t investigate Trump’s Democratic political rivals, Trump answered: “I don’t know.”
Corker said in his statement: “Like me, most Americans hope that our justice system is independent and free of political interference.
“President Trump’s pressuring of the Justice Department and FBI to pursue cases against his adversaries and calling for punishment before trials take place are totally inappropriate and not only undermine our justice system but erode the American people’s confidence in our institutions.”
Corker’s comment about calling for punishment likely refers to Trump’s demand for the death penalty before Uzbek immigrant Sayfullo Saipov, who was charged in a truck attack that killed eight people in Manhattan, has faced trial.
Trump indicated in an interview Thursday with conservative radio host Larry O’Connor that he would “love” to be in charge of the Justice Department and the FBI so he could sic them on Clinton. “The saddest thing is that because I’m the president of the United States, I am not supposed to be involved with the Justice Department,” said the man whose campaign is being investigated for possible collusion with the Russian government in the presidential election. “I’m not supposed to be involved with the FBI.”
Trump’s comments to reporters before his trip followed a shrill series of tweets early Friday calling for the Democrats and Clinton to be investigated.
Trump pointed in a tweet to former interim DNC chair Donna Brazile’s recent accusations that Clinton had gained control of the committee during the 2016 election before becoming the party’s nominee. But Brazile told the president to stop “trolling” and misquoting her.