President Donald Trump issued a forceful call Friday morning for the Justice Department to investigate Hillary Clinton over “all of the dishonesty,” writing on Twitter that “the American public deserves it!”
“Everybody is asking why the Justice Department (and FBI) isn’t looking into all of the dishonesty going on with Crooked Hillary & the Dems. New Donna B book says she paid for and stole the Dem Primary,” Trump said, referencing an excerpt of former interim Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Donna Brazile’s forthcoming book published Thursday by POLITICO Magazine.
“What about the deleted E-mails, Uranium, Podesta, the Server, plus, plus. People are angry,” the president continued. “At some point the Justice Department, and the FBI, must do what is right and proper. The American public deserves it!”
The president’s calls for investigations into his political opponents come as special prosecutor Robert Mueller’s probe into the possibility of collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government in the latter’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 election hits a new stage, with Mueller’s team issuing its first indictments earlier this week.
Trump and his allies have sought to downplay those indictments, which include charges filed against the president’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, as being unrelated to the 2016 campaign. At the same time, the president has sought to draw fresh attention to Clinton and Democrat-related controversies that he claims have gone uncovered by mainstream media outlets that are biased against him.
At least one of the scandals Trump demanded an investigation on — Clinton’s use of a private email server during her tenure as secretary of state — has already been investigated by the FBI. It recommended that no charges be filed in the case even though former FBI Director James Comey said Clinton had been “extremely careless” in her handling of classified information. Despite a lack of charges, Trump used Clinton’s email scandal with regularity on the campaign trail to characterize her as untrustworthy.
Another regular refrain from Trump resurrected in recent days is his complaint that the Democratic primary process was rigged to favor Clinton, a claim bolstered this week by the excerpt from Brazile’s book, which pointed to poor leadership at the DNC by its former chairwoman, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) that allowed Clinton’s campaign to exert control over committee. In exchange for significant financial contributions to the DNC, Brazile revealed, Clinton’s campaign headquarters in Brooklyn was given almost complete control of the party’s strategy, finances and staffing.
“The real story on Collusion is in Donna B’s new book. Crooked Hillary bought the DNC & then stole the Democratic Primary from Crazy Bernie!” Trump wrote online. “Pocahontas just stated that the Democrats, lead by the legendary Crooked Hillary Clinton, rigged the Primaries! Lets go FBI & Justice Dept.,” he added in a second post, referring to Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) by his nickname for her.
Later Friday, aboard Air Force One en route to Hawaii, Trump complained that “the rigged Dem Primary, one of the biggest political stories in years, got ZERO coverage on Fake News Network TV last night. Disgraceful!”
On Thursday, Warren said she agreed with Brazile that the Democratic primary was “rigged” to favor Clinton.
The president later Friday morning tweeted that supporters of Clinton’s primary challenger should be equally upset.
“I always felt I would be running and winning against Bernie Sanders, not Crooked H, without cheating, I was right,” he tweeted. “Bernie Sanders supporters have every right to be apoplectic of the complete theft of the Dem primary by Crooked Hillary!”
In an interview Thursday afternoon with talk radio host Larry O’Connor, Trump said he was “very unhappy” with the Justice Department and lamented the political norms that maintain a separation between the president and the Justice Department, which he said have left his hands tied. To the list of issues he would like to see investigated, Trump added funding for the infamous dossier of salacious but unverified information about him, some of which reportedly came from the Clinton campaign and the DNC.
While the president sits atop the executive branch, the Justice Department has traditionally operated with a great degree of independence from the White House as a means of separating the justice system from political influence. While Trump has regularly been willing to wade into Justice Department matters and ongoing cases, historically, presidents have mostly refrained from involving themselves in the operations of the Justice Department beyond appointing and dealing with the attorney general.
“The saddest thing is, because I am the President of the United States, I am not supposed to be involved with the Justice Department. I’m not supposed to be involved with the FBI. I’m not supposed to be doing the kind of things I would love to be doing and I am very frustrated by it,” Trump told O’Connor. “It’s very discouraging to me. I’ll be honest, I’m very unhappy with it, that the Justice Department isn’t going … maybe they are but you know as president, and I think you understand this, as a president you’re not supposed to be involved in that process.”
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