Red flags raised as Trump attacks Sessions on Twitter

US Attorney General Jeff Sessions (centre) at a news conference in Washington, DC.
US Attorney General Jeff Sessions (centre) at a news conference in Washington, DC. PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON • A bevy of congressional Republicans are warning President Donald Trump not to move against Attorney-General Jeff Sessions, in what many fear could be a prelude to the dismissal of special counsel Robert Mueller, who is probing Mr Trump's ties to Russia.

Mr Trump's public criticism of Mr Sessions has mounted in recent days, starting with a tweet last Saturday asking why Mr Sessions and Mr Mueller have not investigated alleged "crimes" by former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and former Federal Bureau of Investigation director James Comey.

It culminated in a tweet on Tuesday, accusing Mr Sessions of taking "a VERY weak position" on investigating Mrs Clinton and leakers of intelligence secrets.

The attack prompted an outpouring of support for Mr Sessions among his former colleagues in the Senate, where he served for 20 years before resigning to become Attorney-General, and left scores of other Republicans aghast at Mr Trump's willingness to attack one of his most loyal supporters.

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"I don't think it helps to throw your own people under the bus," said Representative Tom Cole.

Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, meanwhile, raised openly what many Republicans fear privately. "Many Americans must be wondering if the President is trying to pry open the office of Attorney-General to appoint someone during the August recess who will fire special counsel Mueller and shut down the Russia investigation," he said.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 27, 2017, with the headline 'Red flags raised as Trump attacks Sessions on Twitter'. Print Edition | Subscribe