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TODAY'S PAPER

What Trump's strangest Sessions attack so far tells us

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions speaks during a news conference on Aug. 22 in Cleveland.  Photo Credit: AP/Tony Dejak

President Donald Trump's tweet about the two indicted GOP House members who were the first to endorse him in 2016 may be richer for what it tells the public than his usual nasty shots at people and institutions he feels do not serve him adequately.

Here is the full text, emitted at 2:25 p.m. on Labor Day:

"Two long running, Obama era, investigations of two very popular Republican...

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President Donald Trump's tweet about the two indicted GOP House members who were the first to endorse him in 2016 may be richer for what it tells the public than his usual nasty shots at people and institutions he feels do not serve him adequately.

Here is the full text, emitted at 2:25 p.m. on Labor Day:

"Two long running, Obama era, investigations of two very popular Republican Congressmen were brought to a well publicized charge, just ahead of the Midterms, by the Jeff Sessions Justice Department. Two easy wins now in doubt because there is not enough time. Good job Jeff......"

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First, it is unusual that any president would suggest the charges filed against Republican Reps. Chris Collins of western New York State and Duncan Hunter of California are tainted simply because they stemmed from "Obama era" investigations.

It is a bit like blaming an adverse decision in a civil case on the ethnicity of the judge.

After all, Trump's own appointees as attorney general and U.S. attorney took custody of these prosecutions. If they'd been found false or flawed, they could have been abandoned with an explanation.

Collins is accused of securities fraud, conspiracy and false statements involving a foreign-based drug company of which he's a board member.

Hunter is accused of wire fraud, falsifying records, campaign finance violations and conspiracy in a case in which he allegedly used $250,000 in campaign funds for personal expenses.

Perhaps Trump is now more fearful than before of his party losing congressional control in the midterm races in November. Otherwise he might not lament, "two easy wins now in doubt because there is not enough time."

"Not enough time" to prove their innocence in court — or to replace them on the ballot? Does he care that these loyal allies are facing federal criminal charges or only that he could lose clout? The president does not say.

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The tweet isn't the first time Trump treated the processes of his own Justice Department and his own attorney general with disdain and cynicism. He has been denouncing Sessions for some time for recusing himself from the Russia-meddling probe, based on Sessions' involvement with the 2016 campaign and points of contact with Vladimir Putin loyalists. 

The president seems to imply that law enforcement should not operate independently in these matters but owes him and his allies political protection. If this is a valid position under the Constitution, Trump does nothing on Twitter or in interviews to explain how.

Trump also makes no effort to explain why he has not fired "Good job Jeff" Sessions, although it's clear that doing so could compound his political problems.

In a subsequent tweet on Monday, the president tapped:

"The Democrats, none of whom voted for Jeff Sessions, must love him now. Same thing with Lyin’ James Comey. The Dems all hated him, wanted him out, thought he was disgusting — UNTIL I FIRED HIM! Immediately he became a wonderful man, a saint like figure in fact. Really sick!"

"Disgusting"? "Saint-like figure"? "Really sick"?

This tweet seems to carry a simpler message than the first — blame and self-pity for the straits the president finds himself in. Is that a fair assessment? He hasn't given us an indication to the contrary.

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