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Trump assails Sessions for pursuing two Republicans' cases

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US President Donald Trump (left) launched a fresh attack on Monday on Attorney General Jeff Sessions, saying his party could lose two "easy" races in November after the Justice Department filed charges against Republican congressmen.

[WASHINGTON] US President Donald Trump launched a fresh attack on Monday on Attorney General Jeff Sessions, saying his party could lose two "easy" races in November after the Justice Department filed charges against Republican congressmen.

"Two long running, 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. Two easy wins now in doubt," Mr Trump tweeted.

"Good job Jeff," he added sarcastically.

Mr Trump has frequently pilloried Mr Sessions for recusing himself from Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation of possible collusion with Russia to tilt the 2016 US election toward the real estate billionaire.

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The president has waged a strikingly public campaign against the Alabama Republican he named to the top law enforcement post.

That has left the attorney general's position seeming tenuous at best, though Mr Trump recently told Bloomberg News that Mr Sessions was safe, at least until after the November mid-term elections.

Chris Collins of New York was indicted on insider trading charges, which he has denied, while Duncan Hunter of California was accused with his wife of using campaign donations for personal purposes. Mr Hunter has said his wife handled the campaign money.

Both men had been expected to face easy re-election campaigns.

Mr Trump's suggestion that Sessions should have withheld charges against two fellow Republicans for purely political reasons seemed a remarkably unapologetic blurring of a traditional line between presidential authority and the law.

While there have been exceptions, longstanding protocol holds that the Justice Department should be left to operate free of political influence from the White House.

Under pressure from Mr Trump, Mr Sessions issued an unusual statement last month saying that "while I am attorney general, the actions of the Department of Justice will not be improperly influenced by political considerations."

Democrats have long expressed disdain for Mr Sessions, a former Alabama senator, as an intolerant relic of the racist Old South.

But some now see him as a bulwark against attacks on the Justice Department.

"The Democrats, none of whom voted for Jeff Sessions, must love him now," Mr Trump quipped.

AFP