House Speaker Paul Ryan, responding to a question about President Donald Trump’s latest attacks on the Department of Justice, insisted Wednesday that “the process is working its way as it should” after two Republican members of Congress were indicted last month.
Ryan, speaking at the weekly Republican leadership news conference in Washington, faced questions about President Donald Trump’s recent attacks against Attorney General Jeff Sessions over the indictments.
Asked Wednesday if Ryan was comfortable with Trump’s attacks against the department, Ryan argued that “justice is blind.”
“Justice is blind, justice should be blind. It should have no respect with respect to political party. Look, I mean, that’s the emblem of the Justice Department: blind justice,” he said. “So I think it’s very important that we respect the fact that justice should be blind. It should have no impact on political party, and I think the process is working its way as it should.”
Trump on Monday accused the Justice Department of targeting the Republicans ahead of the midterms.
“Two long running, Obama era, investigations of two very popular Republican Congressmen were brought to a well publicized charge, just ahead of the Mid-Terms, by the Jeff Sessions Justice Department. Two easy wins now in doubt because there is not enough time. Good job Jeff……”
Trump was referring to the unrelated indictments of Rep. Duncan Hunter of California and Rep. Chris Collins of New York, two of Trump’s earliest supporters in Congress.
Collins was charged with 13 counts of securities fraud, wire fraud and making false statements related to an alleged insider trading scheme. Hunter was indicted for using campaign funds for personal use and were charged with counts of wire fraud, falsifying records, campaign finance violations and conspiracy.
Both lawmakers have pleaded not guilty.
Despite the President’s claim that both cases were “Obama era” investigations, the probe involving Collins began under Trump, from actions the New York Republican allegedly took last year — including calls he placed while at the White House for a congressional picnic hosted by Trump.
Allegations against Hunter began in 2016 — when Obama was still president — but the Justice Department began investigating Hunter last year. The House Ethics Committee announced in March 2017 that it was holding off on taking action against Hunter because the Justice Department had launched a criminal investigation into his use of campaign funds.
Ryan reiterated that both men have been stripped of their committee assignments.
“These are isolated incidents, and our members are working hard at doing their jobs … to improve people’s lives,” Ryan said.