Longtime Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah, who is set to retire at the end of the current session, took back comments that he made in which he said he didn’t care about the criminal allegations that federal prosecutors are making against President Trump.
Asked on Tuesday if he had any concerns about the implications of the pending investigations into several aspects of President Trump’s activities, Hatch blamed the Democrats before standing beside President Trump as “a good President.” When a CNN reporter pointed out that the allegations weren’t made by Democrats but by the Department of Justice, Hatch snapped “I don’t care! All I can say is he’s doing a good job as President.”
Hatch was heavily criticized for his comments for implying that President Trump was above the law, according to the New York Post. In an op-ed for the Washington Post, a trio of political insiders (George Conway, Trevor Potter, and Neal Katyal) called Hatch out for his comments.
“As individuals who have devoted their lives to nonpartisan enforcement of the law, we cannot think of a more dispiriting statement. Hatch is wrong about every aspect of this statement,” they wrote. “The accusations against Trump come from career prosecutors in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York (otherwise known as Trump’s own Justice Department). But the more important point is this: We will rue the day a senator trotted out such callousness about federal felonies.”
Hatch responded on Friday that he regretted the comment and took responsibility for them.
Hatch issues statement regretting comments he made to me earlier this week about Trump and Cohen allegations. Says no one is above the law. Video of his initial comments in our story here https://t.co/QuTov2XW4D https://t.co/ameHMvtIKM— Manu Raju (@mkraju) December 14, 2018
Hatch said in a statement that he spoke “imprudently” and that “I made comments about allegations against the President that were irresponsible and a poor reflection on my lengthy record of dedication to the rule of law.”
“While I don’t believe Michael Cohen is any kind of reliable voice in this process, I have expressed confidence in Bob Mueller and his investigation countless times, including writing in the Wall Street Journal that he must be allowed to complete his investigation,” Hatch said in a statement.
“Last October, when Paul Manafort and Rick Gates were indicted, I said, ‘I believe that it’s in the best interest for all parties involved to allow Bob Mueller to conduct a full and vigorous investigation,'” he continued. “I continue to believe that, and when we see Mueller’s full report and the complete filings from the New York US Attorney’s office, we can determine the path forward. While I believe the President has succeeded in a number of important policy areas, that success is separate from the validity of these investigations, which I believe should be allowed to run their course.”
“I don’t believe the president broke the law, but one of the core principles of our country is that no one is above the law. That means anyone who does break the law should face appropriate consequences,” he said.