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Trump Puts in Late Plug for Handel in Georgia Special Election

President following DOJ recommendation on Comey was 'not obstruction,' lawyer says

Democrat Jon Ossoff and Republican Karen Handel will meet in the June runoff. (Photos by Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
Democrat Jon Ossoff and Republican Karen Handel will meet in the June runoff. (Photos by Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Taking a swipe at Washington Democrats, President Donald Trump is urging voters in a key special House race to elect the Republican candidate so his health care, tax and border security policies can move forward.

A day before voters will head to the polls in Georgia’s closely watched 6th District race between Democrat Jon Ossoff and Republican Karen Handel, Trump used his preferred method of communication, Twitter, to try and give the GOP candidate a boost.

Congressional Democrats want to “stop” Republicans’ intention to pass tax overhaul, health care and border security legislation, Trump tweeted, the latter an apparent reference to his promised wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. He dubbed former President Barack Obama’s 2010 health law “dead” due to what he described as “100% increases” in premiums. That’s why he wants his followers to “vote now for Karen H”.

Trump weighed in as polls show the special election, the most expensive House race in U.S. history, as a virtual dead heat. Several show Ossoff ahead by a few percentage points, but well within the surveys’ respective margins of error.

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Political experts are calling the Georgia race a key harbinger of what might lie ahead in the 2018 congressional midterms.

Meantime, it was back to sparring on television Monday morning for Jay Sekulow, one of Trump’s personal lawyers representing him on matters related to the Justice Department’s ongoing probe of Russian election meddling — and the possibility that the president obstructed justice in trying to get part of it dropped and by firing FBI Director James B. Comey.

In a sometimes-testy interview on CNN’s “New Day,” Sekulow said the Trump outside “legal team has not been notified” by the DOJ’s special counsel for the Russia probe, former FBI Director Robert Mueller, that Trump is directly under investigation.

Trump fired off a Tweet on Friday morning, however, beginning with the words “I am being investigated…” Sekulow contends the president was merely responding to a Washington Post report citing multiple sources saying the opposite.

After making the rounds Sunday on several morning political shows, Sekulow made the same claim — though on “Fox News Sunday” he stated Trump was indeed under investigation. But by the next morning, he strongly contended the president is not.

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Sekulow’s main argument about whether Trump did or did not obstruct justice is this: Any president possesses the constitutional authority to fire any FBI director. His secondary argument is Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein recommended he fire Comey — though Trump has said he was going to do so regardless of their opinions.

When a president makes a decision that aligns with the recommendations of senior members of his administration, Sekulow said Monday, “that is not obstruction of justice.”

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