‘The leaders of the Republican Party in this body need to stand and say that the president is out of bounds…’
This time, he’s calling out Republicans for failing to speak out against Trump for what he perceives is a politicization of the Justice Department.
Flake, who decided not to run for re-election this year after polls found him deeply unpopular, took to the Senate floor Wednesday night to lambast members of his party and cultivate media attention.
His office sent out a press release Thursday heralding the speech.
“I appeal to the leadership in this body to speak out,” he stated during his remarks. “They don’t have to speak out at every Twitter outburst, but when the president so blatantly calls for the Department of Justice to act as an arm of the Republican Party, then the leaders of the Republican Party in this body need to stand and say that the president is out of bounds.”
The politicization Flake suggests referenced what the Arizona senator called Trump’s “slander” leveled at Attorney General Jeff Sessions for indicting Republican members of Congress.
“That’s right,” said Flake. “The president attacked Mr. Sessions, by name, for refusing to cover up allegations of Republican misconduct.”
As it turns out, Flake might be wrong.
In the tweet where Trump criticizes his attorney general, the president’s chief complaint seems to be that the department brought indictments just ahead of the midterm elections, a result of investigations started during the Obama administration.
During Flake’s speech, he also urged Republicans to support the investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, and took issue with the president’s use of the term “witch hunt.”
The interest in politicization of the Justice Department appears to be recent for Flake.
Thus far, he has declined to criticize the DOJ for what appears to be a double standard in favor of protecting Democratic politicians and their allies, and has made no floor speeches on the subject.