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Trump asks why Russia probe doesn’t include Obama administration

Attorney General Jeff Sessions after speaking at a

Attorney General Jeff Sessions after speaking at a ceremony in Washington D.C., on Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2018. Credit: Bloomberg / Joshua Roberts

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump took aim once again at his attorney general, Jeff Sessions, in a Wednesday morning tweet that questioned why the Justice Department has not targeted the Obama administration in its wide-reaching Russia probe.

The tweet, in which Trump initially misspelled Sessions’ last name, was the president’s latest public dig at his attorney general. Sessions recused himself from the Russia probe last year, putting tension in the relationship between the former political allies.

The president, who has called Sessions “beleaguered” and “weak” in past tweets, has long insisted that Sessions should never have stepped away from the investigation, now led by special counsel Robert Mueller and overseen by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.

“Question: If all of the Russian meddling took place during the Obama Administration, right up to January 20th, why aren’t they the subject of the investigation?,” Trump tweeted shortly after 9 a.m. “Why didn’t Obama do something about the meddling? Why aren’t Dem crimes under investigation? Ask Jeff Session!”

Later, Trump reposted the tweet with the correct spelling of Sessions’ last name.

Trump’s missive was the latest in a round of tweets criticizing the Russia probe since Friday’s federal indictments of 13 Russian nationals and three Russian entities on charges that they attempted to influence the 2016 presidential race, in part through social media campaigns aimed at boosting support for Trump and Bernie Sanders and against Democrat Hillary Clinton.

Mueller’s indictments Friday did not implicate any Trump campaign aides, and the president has argued that shows there was “no collusion” between his campaign and Russian operatives.

Mueller’s sweeping inquiry, which has not yet concluded, also led to the indictments last year of former Trump campaign aides Paul Manafort and Rick Gates on charges related to their work for pro-Russia factions in Ukraine.

Since Friday, Trump has repeatedly criticized the Obama administration, arguing it should have done more to block the Russians leading up to the 2016 presidential election.

In an interview with MSNBC on Tuesday, Ned Price, a former member of Obama’s National Security Council, responded to Trump’s earlier criticisms by saying the Obama administration was focused on blocking the Russians from hacking and manipulating voter rolls and ballots.

“This is a rich line of attack, coming from a president who spills secrets to the Russians in the Oval Office . . . and a person who refuses to enact punitive sanctions on Moscow for its attack on our democracy,” Price said.

Also Wednesday, a coalition of Democratic lawmakers, including Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, called on Congress to authorize a $300 million increase in FBI funding to ensure that authorities have the “resources and manpower” to combat Russian intrusion in the upcoming midterm elections.

“As Russian efforts to interfere with our democracy continue, the burden placed on the FBI to investigate and counter these operations only increases. In order to ensure our nation’s premier law enforcement agency can adequately respond to this threat, we urge you to support a $300 million increase in the Bureau’s 2018 budget request,” the lawmakers wrote in a letter sent to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan.

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