House Speaker Paul Ryan joined other top conservatives in denouncing President Donald Trump’s recent tweet lamenting Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ indictment of two Republicans ahead of midterm elections. But no Republicans have called for any action against the president for advocating the infusion of politics into judicial matters.
“Justice is blind. Justice should be blind,” Ryan told reporters on Wednesday, ABC News reports, adding that “the process is working its way as it should.”
On Monday, Trump had said two congressmen shouldn’t have been charged because it hurt the Republican Party. His comment defied the Justice Department’s requirement of impartiality, eliciting a criticism from both parties.
Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA) and Rep. Chris Collins (R-NY) were charged with unrelated crimes by the Justice Department last month. Hunter was indicted for misusing campaign funds, along with wire fraud, falsifying records, and other charges. Collins, meanwhile, was charged with 13 counts of securities fraud, wire fraud, and lying in relation to an alleged insider-trading scheme.
According to a 2016 Justice Department memorandum by then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch that CNN cited, prosecutors “may never select the timing of investigative steps or criminal charges for the purpose of affecting any election, or for the purpose of giving an advantage or disadvantage to any candidate or political party.”
Some Republicans called Trump’s words “appalling” and “not appropriate,” The New York Times reports. Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ), a consistent Trump critic, tweeted:
While many top officials voiced concern about Trump’s comments, they don’t plan to take any action against him. Many simply doubled-down on their support for Sessions, who has endured withering criticism by Trump ever since Sessions recused himself from the special counsel’s Russia investigation last year.
“I hold Jeff Sessions in the highest regard. I appreciate his service to the nation,” Vice President Mike Pence told a CNN reporter on Wednesday, marking a rare divide between Trump and himself.
Meanwhile, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) told the Times, “I have no reason to believe these prosecutions are politically motivated. I think [Trump’s] was a comment not designed to obstruct justice but in my view, not appropriate.”