Trump re­news at­tacks on at­tor­ney gen­eral Ses­sions

Bizarre speech to Boy Scouts leaves or­ga­ni­za­tion con­fused

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WASH­ING­TON: US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump re­sumed his at­tacks on At­tor­ney Gen­eral Jeff Ses­sions yes­ter­day, call­ing his one­time ally “VERY weak” in pur­su­ing in­tel­li­gence leaks and for fail­ing to go af­ter for­mer Demo­cratic pres­i­den­tial can­di­date Hil­lary Clin­ton over her email. Trump’s lat­est Twit­ter salvo fol­lowed a re­port in the Wash­ing­ton Post that the pres­i­dent and his ad­vis­ers have dis­cussed re­plac­ing Ses­sions, one of the Repub­li­can bil­lion­aire’s ear­li­est sup­port­ers.

“At­tor­ney Gen­eral Jeff Ses­sions has taken a VERY weak po­si­tion on Hil­lary Clin­ton crimes (where are E-mails &DNC server) & In­tel leak­ers!” Trump tweeted. Trump has openly crit­i­cized Ses­sions for re­cus­ing him­self from over­see­ing a fed­eral probe into pos­si­ble col­lu­sion be­tween the Trump cam­paign and Rus­sia to med­dle in the 2016 US pres­i­den­tial elec­tions. Ses­sions has said he has no plans to re­sign.

With pres­sure mount­ing from the in­ves­ti­ga­tion led by for­mer FBI di­rec­tor Robert Mueller, Trump has sought to re­vive an elec­tion year con­tro­versy over Clin­ton’s use of a pri­vate server to send email while sec­re­tary of state. The White House also al­leged last week that the Democrats col­luded with Ukraine dur­ing the 2016 cam­paign, adding an­other twist to the pres­i­dent’s counter-of­fen­sive. “Ukrainian ef­forts to sab­o­tage Trump cam­paign - ‘qui­etly work­ing to boost Clin­ton.’ So where is the in­ves­ti­ga­tion AG,” Trump said in an­other early morn­ing tweet yes­ter­day.

US pres­i­dents nor­mally go to great pains to avoid be­ing seen as in­flu­enc­ing on­go­ing or pos­si­ble in­ves­ti­ga­tions, mak­ing Trump’s at­tacks on Ses­sions all the more ex­tra­or­di­nary. On Mon­day, Trump took to Twit­ter to de­clare his top law en­force­ment of­fi­cial “be­lea­guered” as he won­dered out loud why Ses­sions was not in­ves­ti­gat­ing Clin­ton. “So why aren’t the Com­mit­tees and in­ves­ti­ga­tors, and of course our be­lea­guered A.G., look­ing into Crooked Hil­larys crimes & Rus­sia re­la­tions?”Trump asked.

Trump has ex­pressed in­creas­ing anger with Ses­sions as his Jus­tice De­part­ment’s in­ves­ti­ga­tions into pos­si­ble Trump-Rus­sia col­lu­sion has quick­ened. Last week, he pub­licly up­braided Ses­sions for step­ping back from is­sues re­lated to the probe. Ses­sions re­cused him­self be­cause of his role on Trump’s cam­paign and be­cause he failed to tell the Se­nate dur­ing his con­fir­ma­tion hear­ings about con­tacts he had with the Rus­sian am­bas­sador in Wash­ing­ton. Trump said he would never have hired Ses­sions had he known he would re­cuse him­self. “I think is very un­fair to the pres­i­dent,” Trump told The New York Times last week. “It’s ex­tremely un­fair, and that’s a mild word, to the pres­i­dent.”

Trump’s el­dest son, son-in-law and top aides have be­come en­tan­gled in the widen­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tion led by Mueller. Jared Kush­ner, the pres­i­dent’s son-in-law and a top White House of­fi­cial, was ques­tioned Mon­day by a Se­nate panel about con­tacts with then Rus­sian am­bas­sador Sergey Kislyak, a Rus­sian fi­nancier and a Rus­sian lawyer who of­fered dirt on Clin­ton.

Kush­ner made a state­ment deny­ing col­lu­sion af­ter tes­ti­fy­ing be­hind closed doors, in­sist­ing the string of undis­closed meet­ings with Rus­sian of­fi­cials were “proper.” “Jared Kush­ner did very well yes­ter­day in prov­ing he did not col­lude with the Rus­sians. Witch Hunt. Next up, 11 year old Barron Trump!” Trump tweeted yes­ter­day. In May, Trump fired FBI di­rec­tor James Comey over the bureau’s in­ves­ti­ga­tion into Rus­sia. That led to Mueller’s ap­point­ment as a spe­cial prose­cu­tor.

The Post re­port said Trump as­so­ciates see get­ting rid of Ses­sions as part of a po­ten­tial strat­egy to fire Mueller and end the Rus­sia in­ves­ti­ga­tion. The web­site Ax­ios re­ported that Trump was con­sid­er­ing re­plac­ing Ses­sions with an­other early sup­porter, Rudy Gi­u­liani, a for­mer New York mayor. But Gi­u­liani dis­missed the re­port and said Ses­sions was right to have re­cused him­self from the Rus­sia probe, CNN re­ported. Ses­sions “made the right de­ci­sion un­der the rules of the Jus­tice De­part­ment,” CNN quoted Gi­u­liani as say­ing as he ar­rived at Ron­ald Rea­gan Wash­ing­ton Na­tional Air­port.

Boy Scouts gets taste of Wash­ing­ton pol­i­tics

Else­where, af­ter an­other chal­leng­ing day in Wash­ing­ton, Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump flew to West Vir­ginia to a field full of 40,000 chant­ing and cheer­ing Boy Scouts, telling them he was happy to leave Wash­ing­ton be­hind. “Who the hell wants to speak about pol­i­tics?” Trump boomed, telling the boys he wanted to talk about how to achieve their dreams.

But pol­i­tics proved too hard for Trump to re­sist on a day he spent plead­ing for Repub­li­can sen­a­tors to vote to ad­vance his long-promised health care over­haul and watch­ing his son-in-law Jared Kush­ner be­ing grilled on Capi­tol Hill about con­tacts with Rus­sia. It did not take long for Trump to veer from in­spi­ra­tion to denigration. The teenaged boys loved it, cheer­ing wildly at each sick burn, hoot­ing and hol­ler­ing like they were at a wrestling match.

“Tonight we put aside all of the pol­icy fights in Wash­ing­ton, DC you’ve been hear­ing about with the fake news and all of that,” he told the teenaged boys, sit­ting state by state in brightly col­ored t-shirts. “You know, I go to Wash­ing­ton and I see all these politi­cians and I see the swamp and it’s not a good place,”said Trump.

“In fact, to­day I said we ought to change it from the word ‘swamp’ to the word ‘cesspool’ or per­haps to the word ‘sewer.’ It’s not good. I see what’s go­ing on and be­lieve me, I’d much rather be with you, that I can tell you,” Trump said. He told the boys that the me­dia were dis­hon­est and would not show the size of their jam­boree on tele­vi­sion. “Fake me­dia, fake me­dia,”Trump said, elic­it­ing a cho­rus of boos and cheers.

Trump re­counted his elec­tion night vic­to­ries, state by state, the boys from Wis­con­sin cheer­ing when they heard their state men­tioned, the boys from Michi­gan do­ing the same. But the most sus­tained round of cheers and jeers came when Trump men­tioned his pre­de­ces­sor Pres­i­dent Barack Obama, who had de­clined in­vi­ta­tions to speak to the scout gath­er­ing while he was in of­fice.

“By the way, just a ques­tion: did Pres­i­dent Obama ever come to a jam­boree?” Trump said. Trump said he has 10 for­mer Boy Scouts serv­ing in his cabi­net and White House, and brought a few on stage as ex­am­ples of Boy Scout lead­er­ship in ac­tion, in­clud­ing Tom Price, his health sec­re­tary. “Hope­fully he’s go­ing to get the votes to­mor­row to start our path to­ward killing this hor­ri­ble thing known as Oba­macare,” Trump said, re­fer­ring to Obama’s sig­na­ture health care leg­is­la­tion, as the boys booed. “He bet­ter get them, oth­er­wise I’ll say, ‘Tom, you’re fired!’” he said, bor­row­ing the catch phrase from his re­al­ity tele­vi­sion show, “The Ap­pren­tice.”

—AFP

WEST VIR­GINIA: US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump speaks dur­ing the Na­tional Boy Scout Jam­boree at Sum­mit Bech­tel Na­tional Scout Re­serve in Glen Jean.

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