President Donald Trump on Wednesday urged Attorney General Jeff Sessions to consider prosecuting the mayor of Oakland, California, on an obstruction of justice charge, after Mayor Libby Schaaf warned her constituents in February of an impending federal raid that targeted more than 1,100 undocumented immigrants but resulted in the arrests of only about 200.
“I mean, you talk about obstruction of justice, I would recommend that you look into obstruction of justice for the mayor of Oakland, California, Jeff,” Trump said, gesturing toward Sessions. The attorney general did not respond, and sat expressionless as the president made his comments.
Trump’s remarks came during a White House roundtable discussion with several California elected officials and law enforcement officers who favor tougher immigration enforcement standards in their state. Sessions; Homeland Security secretary Kirstjen Nielsen; the acting head of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Thomas Homan; and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy .) were some of the federal officials in attendance at the meeting.
“She informed them, and they all fled — or most of them fled — and that whole operation, that took a long time to put together,” Trump said. “To me, that’s obstruction of justice. And perhaps the Department of Justice can look into that, with respect to the mayor. Because it’s a big deal out there, and a lot of people are very angry about what happened. There was a lot of hard work and a lot of danger involved. And that was a terrible thing.”
Trump has previously accused Schaaf of obstructing justice by interfering with the raid, but Wednesday marked the first time he directly implored the nation’s top law enforcement official to contemplate legal action against the mayor.