That’s when Trump went after the Justice Department and FBI.
Earlier in the day, in an Oval Office interview with Bloomberg, he said that he views Mueller’s probe as an “illegal investigation,” citing “great scholars” who say it should never have been launched.
Some Republicans have worried that a Justice Department bloodbath could harm their chances of holding the House and Senate in the midterms, but Trump told Bloomberg he wouldn’t move on the attorney general before then.
“I just would love to have him do a great job,” Trump said. But he would not say whether Sessions would stay in place after the election.
It is not unheard of for a president to fire an unpopular Cabinet official in the wake of a midterm election. President George W. Bush famously canned Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld right after Democrats won the House and Senate in the 2006 midterms.
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., who has formed a close bond with Trump, said earlier this week on “Today” that the relationship between the president and his attorney general is “beyond repair.”
Immigration was a key feature of Trump’s speech here Thursday night, as he told the crowd that “this election is about safety and this election is about jobs.”
As he often does, Trump portrayed Democrats as weak on border security and the violent gang MS-13.
“We want to abolish MS-13, they want to abolish ICE,” he said.
Trump was in Indiana to boost the hopes of Republican candidates before the midterms. The biggest race on the ballot here is Republican Mike Braun’s effort to unseat Democratic Sen. Joe Donnelly.
Donnelly is one of a handful of highly vulnerable Democrats in the country, as Trump won 56.5 percent to 37.5 percent over Hillary Clinton in Indiana in 2016. His numbers in Evansville’s Vanderburgh County, home of this city, were just slightly less impressive at 55.2 percent to 38.9 percent.
Marjory Hershey, a political science professor at Indiana University, said Trump’s not really trying to win over voters.
“Trump is not one to try and expand the Republican base,” she said. “The intention of his visit is not to increase Republican support. Rather, Trump is all about mass adoration and being in front of his own base.”
Trump’s popularity has ebbed here, according to polling from Morning Consult. In January 2017, 55 percent of Hoosiers approved of Trump while 33 percent disapproved of him. In July this year, his approval rating had slipped to 51 percent and his disapproval was up to 45 percent.
That’s in part because of his tariff policies, according to Robert Dion, chair of the political science department at the University of Evansville.
“We are the biggest steel producing state in the country, and there’s also a lot of agriculture in the state,” Dion said. “A lot of businesses across the state are deeply involved in the international economy. So when you start engaging in trade war and tariffs, it has immediate and negative consequences. You can hear the grumbling across the Midwest.”
Trump bashed Donnelly for voting against tax cuts, efforts to repeal Obamacare and other items on his agenda.
“We’re always happy to have President Trump in Indiana,” Donnelly said in a statement released after the rally, “but Hoosiers still want a senator who always puts them first before any politician or political party.”
Jonathan Allen reported from Evansville. Lauren Egan contributed from Washington, D.C.