Political News

Flake: Trump calling for FBI to go after political adversaries is 'not normal'

Posted November 6, 2017 7:45 a.m. EST

— Sen. Jeff Flake criticized President Donald Trump for encouraging the Department of Justice and the FBI to investigate his political opponents, telling CNN's "New Day" on Monday it isn't "normal" presidential behavior.

"A lot of people are concerned about where we're going ... the vitriol that we now see daily, the kind of behavior that the President has exhibited, saying over the weekend, or on Friday, saying the FBI should go after the President's political adversaries," said the Arizona Republican, who has emerged as a fervent Trump critic. "To have a President say that, that is not normal and we shouldn't accept it as normal."

After Justice Department special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation handed down indictments against his former campaign hands, both of whom have pleaded not guilty, the President lamented last week that he couldn't influence the DOJ and FBI to direct its efforts toward investigating Hillary Clinton, his 2016 general election opponent. The President's suggestion that his Justice Department target his political opponent is a call he's made before.

Several other Republican critics of Trump have criticized the President for pressuring the FBI and DOJ to investigate his opponents.

Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tennessee, said in a statement Friday that "President Trump's pressuring of the Justice Department and FBI to pursue cases against his adversaries and calling for punishment before trials take place are totally inappropriate and not only undermine our justice system but erode the American people's confidence in our institutions."

And Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, told "Fox News Sunday" that the President was "crossing a line" with the comments.

Speaking to "New Day" Monday, Flake also addressed the issue of gun control following the Texas shooting that left at least 26 people dead. The senator was present at the Virginia shooting that targeted members of Congress in June, and he supported legislation banning bump-fire stocks after a shooter using the mechanism killed more than 50 people in Las Vegas last month.

"I've felt for a long time Congress needs to act with regard to background checks and mental health issues. I've introduced legislation on the topic," he said. "I've never felt anybody who is on a no-fly list should be able to get a gun."

Flake also said he thinks that a month is long enough for agencies to enforce a ban on bump stocks before Congress steps in. Efforts to pass legislation to ban the devices, which enable semi-automatic devices to fire more rapidly, have stalled.