WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump on Friday put pressure on the Justice Department and FBI to investigate Hillary Clinton and Democrats for political and other controversies, and announced the U.S. military had “hit ISIS” for the New York City terror attack.
Before boarding Marine One to start his lengthy trip to Asia, Trump said he is “not really involved” with the Justice Department but urged it to investigate Clinton.
“A lot of people are disappointed in the Justice Department, including me,” Trump said.
The president also announced a new administration policy of retaliation against ISIS and terrorists who attack the United States, saying the country hit back after ISIS took credit for its “soldier” Sayfullo Saipov, charged with killing eight as he drove a pickup truck on a bike path in Manhattan.
“What we’re doing is every time we are attacked from this point forward and, it took place yesterday, we are hitting them 10 times harder,” Trump said. “So when we have an animal do an attack like he did the other day on the West Side of Manhattan, we are hitting them 10 times harder. They claim him as a soldier, good luck.”
Trump made the comments in response to questions about his last two tweets Friday morning.
“ISIS just claimed the Degenerate Animal who killed, and so badly wounded, the wonderful people on the West Side, was ‘their soldier,’ ” Trump posted. “ . . . Based on that, the Military has hit ISIS “much harder” over the last two days. They will pay a big price for every attack on us!”
Trump spoke to reporters on the South Lawn of the White House before heading out on a five-nation trip which he said he would discuss trade and North Korea with Asian leaders over the next week, and predicted success.
Before emerging from the White House, Trump spent the morning posting a series of tweets, most of them focused on his former Democratic rival for the presidency.
In them, Trump questioned why there is not a federal investigation of Clinton, and asserted, “People are angry. At some point the Justice Department, and the FBI, must do what is right and proper.”
On Thursday, Trump said on a radio show he would “love” to order the FBI to launch an investigation, but admitted that it’s the “saddest thing” and that he’s “very frustrated” that “I am not supposed to be involved with the Justice Department.”
The posts prompted Tommy Vietor, a former national security and White House spokesman for President Barack Obama, to tweet: “These are not typical flailing Trump tweets. Demanding DOJ investigate his former political opponent is autocrat 101.”
Trump’s comments came a day after he raised eyebrows in the legal community by demanding in all caps that Saipov should get the death penalty.
Trump’s tweets began with his acknowledgment that a departing employee at Twitter had taken his account down for 11 minutes on Thursday evening.
“My Twitter account was taken down for 11 minutes by a rogue employee. I guess the word must finally be getting out — and having an impact,” he posted.
But then Trump focused on Clinton’s missing emails, the uranium deal and Democratic lobbyist Tony Podesta, who stepped down after special counsel Robert Mueller indicted former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort for money laundering from lobbying.
He also stressed in his remarks before departing and in tweets with a book excerpt by former Democratic National Committee interim chair Donna Brazile that said Clinton’s joint fundraising agreement with the DNC effectively gave her control of it, leading to charges she rigged the race against Bernie Sanders.
“Everybody is asking why the Justice Department (and FBI) isn’t looking into all of the dishonesty going on with Crooked Hillary & the Dems,” Trump tweeted.
“ . . . New Donna B book says she paid for and stole the Dem Primary. What about the deleted Emails, Uranium, Podesta, the Server, plus, plus . . .
“ . . . People are angry. At some point the Justice Department, and the FBI, must do what is right and proper. The American public deserves it.
“The real story on Collusion is in Donna B’s new book. Crooked Hillary bought the DNC & then stole the Democratic Primary from Crazy Bernie!”
In the interview late Thursday, Trump said, “You know the saddest thing is that because I’m the president of the United States, I am not supposed to be involved with the Justice Department. I’m not supposed to be involved with the FBI. I’m not supposed to be doing the kind of things I would love to be doing. And I’m very frustrated by it.”
Friday morning, he said, “I’m not really involved with the Justice Department.”