Former President George W. Bush’s chief ethics lawyer on Tuesday said President Trump’s public campaign to pressure Attorney General Jeff Sessions to prosecute his former campaign rival Hillary Clinton amounts to “an impeachable offense if we value free elections.”
“Pressuring [attorney general] to prosecute the person who lost the election is an impeachable offense if we value free elections,” Richard Painter tweeted.
Pressuring AG to prosecute the person who lost the election is an impeachable offense if we value free elections. https://t.co/3J78u9ucZb
— Richard W. Painter (@RWPUSA) July 25, 2017
In a series of early morning tweets on Tuesday, Trump escalated his ongoing criticisms of Sessions, saying his attorney general “has taken a VERY weak position on Hillary Clinton crimes.”
The president’s tweet is a complete reversal of a claim he made in November that he wouldn’t follow through on a campaign pledge to seek an investigation into the former secretary of State.
“It’s just not something that I feel very strongly about,” he told The New York Times at the time, adding that prosecuting his former Democratic rival would be “very, very divisive for the country.”
Trump on Monday attacked Sessions on Twitter, calling him “beleaguered,” and in an interview last week with The New York Times, he expressed anger and frustration at Sessions for recusing himself from the Justice Department’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.
He told the Times that Sessions’s decision to recuse himself was “unfair” to him and that he would’ve likely picked another person to lead the Justice Department if he had known Sessions would recuse himself.