U.S. President Donald Trump, center, waves during a rally in Lewis Center, Ohio, U.S. (Photographer: Maddie McGarvey/Bloomberg)

Trump Calls Sessions ‘Missing in Action’ Over Russia Dossier

(Bloomberg) -- Donald Trump ramped up his attacks on his own attorney general, calling Jeff Sessions “scared stiff and missing in action” as the president continued to question whether officials in his administration have acted appropriately in probing the Trump campaign’s Russian connections.

“The big story that the Fake News Media refuses to report is lowlife Christopher Steele’s many meetings with Deputy A.G. Bruce Ohr” and Ohr’s wife Nellie, Trump tweeted on Saturday, referring to former British spy Steele, who wrote a dossier alleging the Trump campaign conspired with Russia during the 2016 election.

Trump said Nellie Ohr -- whose name he misspelled as “Nelly” -- works for Fusion GPS, the research firm that hired Steele to compile the dossier. “I have never seen anything so Rigged in my life. Our A.G. is scared stiff and Missing in Action. It is all starting to be revealed--not pretty,” the president said. “Witch Hunt!”

Trump has said repeatedly that Steele’s findings prompted the inquiry that led to Mueller’s investigation, but a congressional report found it began months earlier, following a tip about George Papadopoulos, one of Trump’s political advisers.

Scapegoating Sessions

Saturday’s comments by Trump appeared to be responding to a statement by the conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch, which said it was suing the Justice Department for records of communications involving Ohr, his wife, Steele and Fusion GPS.

Trump has repeatedly criticized Sessions, a former Republican senator from Alabama, who recused himself from Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into Russian meddling in the election. “Sessions should stop this Rigged Witch Hunt now,” Trump tweeted on Aug. 1.

Trump Calls Sessions ‘Missing in Action’ Over Russia Dossier

Earlier on Saturday, on a rainy day at his New Jersey golf course, Trump said he may intervene to force the Federal Bureau of Investigation to turn over to Judicial Watch text messages sent by former Deputy Director Andrew McCabe.

“Why isn’t the FBI giving Andrew McCabe text messages to Judicial Watch or appropriate governmental authorities,” Trump tweeted. “FBI said they won’t give up even one (I may have to get involved, DO NOT DESTROY). What are they hiding?”

On Sunday, Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway was asked on ABC’s “This Week” whether Sessions would still be in office by the end of the year. “How in the world would I know the answer?” she said.

Conway praised Sessions’s work on law enforcement issues, including gangs, but said, “The president is frustrated that the attorney general recused himself in early March of 2017 from anything having to do with the campaign.”

Clowns and Losers

Washington-based Judicial Watch has also filed a lawsuit seeking text messages and emails of McCabe relating to his wife, a pediatric emergency physician who ran unsuccessfully for the Virginia state Senate in 2015.

Conservative critics, including the president, have argued that because Jill McCabe accepted a campaign contribution from then-Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe’s political action committee, McCabe should have recused himself from the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server. McAuliffe is a longtime friend of Bill and Hillary Clinton.

“McCabe wife took big campaign dollars from Hillary people,” Trump tweeted on Saturday. The president went on to ask if the FBI would “ever recover it’s once stellar reputation.”

“So many of the great men and women of the FBI have been hurt by these clowns and losers!” Trump said of McCabe, former FBI Director James Comey, and other former bureau officials.

Trump’s Hobbyhorse

The actions of the former deputy director have become a frequent hobbyhorse for Trump, who’s said he believes that the Justice Department’s decision not to prosecute Clinton -- while continuing to investigate potential meddling between his campaign and Russia -- is evidence of institutional bias.

Saturday’s tweets came after Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton appeared on a Friday night episode of Fox News’s “Hannity” to promote the case.

“We’re fighting the FBI over text messages for the corrupt FBI official Andrew McCabe,” Fitton said. “The FBI doesn’t want to turn over one text message to us.”

The Justice Department initially denied the Freedom of Information Act request by arguing that the requested search parameters for McCabe’s communications, which included terms like “email,” “Democrat” and “campaign” -- were too broad, according to a filing by Judicial Watch. The government also said text messages related to McCabe’s wife would be shielded by personal privacy protections.

Sessions fired McCabe earlier this year, days before his scheduled retirement, following months of public criticism of the FBI official by the president. Sessions said he took the action on the recommendation of FBI investigators who argued McCabe had been dishonest with Comey about his role in an October 2016 Wall Street Journal article on an FBI investigation into the Clinton Foundation.

McCabe has said that he didn’t mislead anyone about his actions and that he had the authority to share information with the media.

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