Democratic lawmakers are upset after it was reported that President Trump met personally with U.S. attorney candidates.
"There's no reason for President Trump to be meeting with candidates for these positions, which create the appearance that he may be trying to influence or elicit Inappropriate commitments from potential U.S. attorneys," Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., said in a statement Thursday. "U.S. attorneys must be loyal to the Constitution -- not the president."
"What's most alarming about the president interviewing these particular candidates for US attorney positions is that these chief federal prosecutors are going to decide whether to indict Trump campaign advisers or staff if there's collusion between the Trump campaign and Russians proven and possibly consider criminal charges against the President himself," Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., told CNN Thursday.
Trump met with Geoffrey Berman, a candidate to be U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, and Ed McNally, candidate for the Eastern District of New York position, according to Politico.
It is not typical for U.S. attorney candidates to meet with the president who intends to nominate them. The two positions in New York are particularly controversial because the Trump Organization and its headquarters at Trump Tower are covered by the Southern District of New York in Manhattan.
A White House official did not refute the report that Trump met with the candidates, telling Politico, "These are individuals that the president nominates and the Senate confirms under Article II of the Constitution."
"We realize Senate Democrats would like to reduce this president's constitutional powers," the White House official added. "But he and other presidents before him and after may talk to individuals nominated to positions within the executive branch."
Attorney General Jeff Sessions also seemed to confirm that the meetings had occurred after Blumenthal accused Trump of being involved in the interview process on Wednesday during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing.
"I'm not sure I remember whether he had interviewed for New York, but if you say so, I assume so," Sessions told Blumenthal, after initially saying they had conducted multiple interviews. "And he has the right to, for sure, because he has to make an appointment, and I assume that everybody would understand that."