GOP Sen. Sasse knocks Trump for ‘trying to politicize’ DOJ

Sen. Ben Sasse said Tuesday at Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court confirmation hearing that President Donald Trump’s politicization of the Justice Department was worthy of condemnation.

“The comments from the White House yesterday about trying to politicize the Department of Justice — they were wrong,” the Nebraska Republican said. “And they should be condemned, and my guess is Brett Kavanaugh would condemn them.”

Sasse’s comment came during an extended series of remarks he made about the shortcomings of confirmation hearings and his criticism of the discourse around Kavanaugh’s nomination to fill the vacancy created by Justice Anthony Kennedy’s retirement this summer.

On Monday, Trump had knocked Attorney General Jeff Sessions for his leadership of the Justice Department and bemoaned that “two easy wins” would be in doubt this fall because of charges brought by the Justice Department against two Republican members of Congress, Reps. Chris Collins of New York and Rep. Duncan Hunter of California.

Collins was charged with securities fraud and Hunter with misuse of campaign funds, and both congressmen have pleaded not guilty.

Sen. Jeff Flake, an Arizona Republican who’s a frequent critic of Trump, followed Sasse in addressing the President’s remarks, calling them “why a lot of people are concerned about this administration and why they want to ensure that our institutions hold.”

Some Democrats warned on Tuesday that the President’s tweet about the political implications of the charges against two pro-Trump members of Congress amounted to an attack on the judicial system and a demonstration of disrespect for the rule of law.

Sasse, in his remarks at the hearing, lambasted “hysteria” around Supreme Court confirmations and attributed it to an overly partisan understanding of the judiciary.

“Our political commentary talks about the Supreme Court like they’re people wearing red and blue jerseys,” Sasse said. “That’s a really dangerous thing.”