Trump Attacks Blumenthal After Senator Says Trump May See Criminal Charges

Judiciary Committee member Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., talks to media on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, May 3, 2017, after FBI Director James Comey testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing: "Oversight of the Federal Bureau of Investigation." (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
Carolyn Kaster/AP

President Donald Trump attacked Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) Wednesday morning after the senator said a special prosecutor was needed after Trump’s abrupt firing of the FBI director. Blumenthal also said that Trump himself may ultimately be the subject of criminal charges.

Trump dug up an old attack on Blumenthal, from his 2010 campaign for Senate: Blumenthal had claimed that he served in Vietnam, when in fact he had served during the Vietnam War as a Marine reservist in the United States. Blumenthal acknowledged that he had misspoken about his service in 2010. (Trump was granted five deferments during the Vietnam War.)

On MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” Wednesday, an hour before Trump’s attack, Blumenthal called for a special prosecutor to investigate the potential ties between Trump and Russia.

“What’s needed is an independent, objective, impartial prosecutor, because only a prosecutor can bring criminal charges and hold accountable the people who may have committed treason, or fraud or lied to the FBI, and obviously the President is a potential target.”

“Indeed, I think one of the very revealing parts of Jim Comey’s testimony at the Judiciary Committee was when he refused to rule out the President as a potential target in response to my question,” he said.

On CNN just minutes before Trump’s attack, Blumenthal said the firing had created “a looming constitutional crisis.”

“What we have now is really a looming constitutional crisis that is deadly serious, because there is an investigation ongoing and, CNN reported, subpoenas issued from the Eastern District of Virginia in to Flynn associates,” he said, referring to CNN’s report late Tuesday that prosecutors had served affiliates of the ousted national security adviser with subpoenas, seeking business records after Flynn’s ouster as director of the Defense Intelligence Agency in 2014.

“And ultimately there may be subpoenas to the President of the United States just as occurred in 1973 precipitating United States versus Nixon and a similar firing of a special prosecutor,” he continued. “So what’s needed now is, in fact, an independent counsel and special prosecutor.”

In his letter to Comey telling him he was fired Tuesday, Trump claimed that the FBI director had told him he wasn’t under any investigation. Comey has never said that publicly, and, as Blumenthal told MSNBC, has not ruled it out under oath.

Trump has attacked Blumenthal for his claims of service in Vietnam before, after Blumenthal told reporters in February that then-nominee to the Supreme Court Neil Gorsuch had expressed concern over Trump’s attacks against judges.

Trump said Blumenthal “now misrepresents what Judge Gorsuch told him,” but Gorsuch later repeated his exact criticism of Trump under oath during his confirmation hearings, responding to a question from Blumenthal.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Matt Shuham is a news writer for TPM. He was previously assistant editor of The National Memo and managing editor of the Harvard Political Review. He is available by email at mshuham@talkingpointsmemo.com and on Twitter @mattshuham.
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