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story.lead_photo.caption President Donald Trump gestures while speaking at the Harris Conference Center in Charlotte, N.C., Friday, Aug. 31, 2018. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump escalated his attacks on Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Monday, suggesting the Department of Justice put Republicans in midterm jeopardy with recent indictments of two GOP congressmen.

In his latest broadside against the Justice Department's traditional independence, Trump tweeted that "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."

He added: "Two easy wins now in doubt because there is not enough time. Good job Jeff......"

Trump has frequently suggested he views Justice less as a law enforcement agency and more as a department that is supposed to do his personal and political bidding. Still, investigators are never supposed to take into account the political affiliations of the people they investigate.

Trump, who did not address the specifics of the charges, did not name the Republicans. But he was apparently referring to the first two Republicans to endorse him in the GOP presidential primaries. Both were indicted on separate charges last month: Rep. Duncan Hunter of California on charges that included spending campaign funds for personal expenses and Rep. Chris Collins of New York on insider trading. Both have proclaimed their innocence.

The Hunter investigation began in June 2016, according to the indictment. The indictment into Collins lays out behavior from 2017. He was also under investigation by congressional ethics officials.

Hunter has not exited his race, while Collins ended his re-election bid days after his indictment. Both seats appear likely to remain in GOP hands, but the charges have raised Democratic hopes.

A spokeswoman for Sessions declined comment, and the White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Trump did not have any public events Monday. He briefly exited the White House to a waiting motorcade but then went back inside without going anywhere.

Trump's tweet drew a scolding from Sen. Ben Sasse, a Nebraska Republican who sits on the Senate Judiciary Committee.

"The United States is not some banana republic with a two-tiered system of justice — one for the majority party and one for the minority party," Sasse said in a statement. "These two men have been charged with crimes because of evidence, not because of who the President was when the investigations began. Instead of commenting on ongoing investigations and prosecutions, the job of the President of the United States is to defend the Constitution and protect the impartial administration of justice."

Trump has previously pressed Sessions to investigate his perceived enemies and has accused Sessions of failing to take control of the Justice Department. Trump has also repeatedly complained publicly and privately over Sessions' decision to recuse himself from the federal investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia because he'd worked on Trump's campaign.

Some of the issues Trump has raised have either already been examined or are being investigated.

The tension between Trump and Sessions boiled over recently with Sessions punching back, saying that he and his department "will not be improperly influenced by political considerations." Still, Sessions has made clear to associates that he has no intention of leaving his job voluntarily despite Trump's constant criticism.

Allies, including Republican members of Congress, have long advised Trump that firing Sessions — especially before the November midterm elections — would be deeply damaging to the party. But some have indicated that Trump may make a change after the elections.

"I think there will come a time, sooner rather than later, where it will be time to have a new face and a fresh voice at the Department of Justice," Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina told reporters recently.

Read Tuesday's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.

EARLIER:

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump started his Labor Day with an attack on a top union leader, lashing out after criticism from AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka.

Trump tweeted Monday that Trumka "represented his union poorly on television this weekend." He added: "it is easy to see why unions are doing so poorly. A Dem!"

The president's attack came after Trumka appeared on Fox News Sunday over the weekend and said efforts to overhaul the North American Free Trade Agreement should include Canada. Trumka, whose organization is an umbrella group for most unions, said the economies of the United States, Canada and Mexico are "integrated" and "it's pretty hard to see how that would work without having Canada in the deal."

Trump said Saturday on Twitter that there was "no political necessity" to keep Canada in NAFTA. But it's questionable whether Trump can unilaterally exclude Canada from a deal to replace the three-nation NAFTA agreement, without the approval of Congress. Any such move would likely face lengthy legal and congressional challenges.

Trump administration negotiations to keep Canada in the reimagined trade bloc are to resume this week as Washington and Ottawa try to break a deadlock over issues such as Canada's dairy market and U.S. efforts to shield drug companies from generic competition.

Trump wants to get a trade deal finalized by Dec. 1.

Trumka also said of Trump: "The things that he's done to hurt workers outpace what he's done to help workers," arguing that Trump has not come through with an infrastructure program and has overturned regulations that "will hurt us on the job."

Asked about the low unemployment rate and economic growth, Trumka said: "Those are good, but wages have been down since the first of the year. Gas prices have been up since the first of the year. So, overall, workers aren't doing as well."

On Monday, Trump touted the economy, saying "Our country is doing better than ever before with unemployment setting record lows." He added, "The Worker in America is doing better than ever before. Celebrate Labor Day!"

The unemployment rate of 3.9 percent is not at the best point ever — it is near the lowest in 18 years.

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Archived Comments

  • RBear
    September 3, 2018 at 11:13 a.m.

    Wage growth still lags and inflation has all but negated any growth that has been found in wages. What is even more interesting with Trump's statement is that in the agreement with Mexico, the US INSISTED it include provisions for collective bargaining in Mexico. In other words, the US believes collective bargaining is good EXCEPT at home. Mixed message from a mixed-up administration.

  • 23cal
    September 3, 2018 at 11:56 a.m.

    "Trump attacks union leader on Labor Day'
    Different person, different day....but, the pattern is the same. Trump attacks somebody every day. His base just loves attacks instead of accomplishments.

  • mozarky2
    September 3, 2018 at 12:21 p.m.

    When did President Trump outlaw collective bargaining, RB?
    UFO-CIA (how many will get this reference) screwed the pooch with many of their members when they endorsed Obama, then Clinton.
    Union reps came to my workplace about a year ago moaning about all the coal-fired power plants shutting down and the job losses.
    They got an earful from this 38-year IBEW member. They endorsed the president who said "Under my plan, energy prices would necessarily skyrocket"!
    That said, coal should be phased out, but wind is the biggest fraud ever perpetrated on the American people.

  • RBear
    September 3, 2018 at 12:56 p.m.

    moz you show daily how little you can actually understand what someone writes. I didn't say Trump outlawed collective bargaining, but I did say that Trump does not believe it is good here in the US. Buy a vowel sometime. It might actually help you attempt to make sense. Or maybe have your granddaughter read to you. I'm sure she'd do a heck of a lot better than you do.

  • BoudinMan
    September 3, 2018 at 3:41 p.m.

    Some posters on here make it perfectly understandable why they are such ardent supporters of the fat, orange blob. After all, he has said how he loves the low educated voter.

  • jwheelii
    September 3, 2018 at 6:05 p.m.

    Both parties, and many other so-called non-political organizations, rely on a less knowledgeable, mis-informed, citizenry. If the full story were told, they would fold for lack of support.

  • TimberTopper
    September 3, 2018 at 7:04 p.m.

    I just read where Trump's lawyers think they can stop Mueller's investigation information from ever becoming public using executive privilege. They may find they are wrong again. The USA will not let anyone become a dictator, that is a POTUS. The law is for everyone, even one Donald J. Trump, whether he believes it or not.

  • Knuckleball1
    September 3, 2018 at 8:05 p.m.

    Not all IBEW Members believe the Way that Moz believes..... A lot of US have Common Sense.... I guess Moz has been playing with to many hot wires and his brain has been cooked....Again he spouts off and doesn't read what was written...

  • WGT
    September 4, 2018 at 7:21 a.m.

    This administration has no footing to understand the basics of civics, governance, or the arena of global interactions. The sum total of this pitiable administration is an emotional, knee jerk retort to a political avenue of common sense.
    .

    One just cannot take this administration seriously. There is no substance. Sad.

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