Sen. Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeBiden nominates former Sen. Tom Udall as New Zealand ambassador Biden to nominate Jane Hartley as UK ambassador: report The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Goldman Sachs - Voting rights will be on '22, '24 ballots MORE (Ariz.) knocked President Trump on Monday over his public push for the Justice Department to probe Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonDemocrats worry negative images are defining White House Heller won't say if Biden won election Whitmer trailing GOP challenger by 6 points in Michigan governor race: poll MORE and Democrats.
Flake announced late last month that he would retire after 2018, and used a Senate floor speech to explain his decision and take aim at both Trump and members of his own party.
"The kind of behavior that the president has exhibited ... saying the FBI should go after the president's political adversaries. I mean to have a president say that, that is not normal. And we shouldn't accept it as normal, and that was the point of the [floor] speech," Flake told CNN.
Flake's comments to CNN come after he referenced Trump's comments as part of a New York Times op-ed, writing that "the damage to our democracy seems to come daily now."
"Most recently with the president’s venting late last week that if he had his way, he would hijack the American justice system to conduct political prosecutions — a practice that only happens in the very worst places on earth," Flake added in the op-ed.
Trump told reporters on Friday that he was "disappointed" the Department of Justice (DOJ) wasn't investigating Clinton after former interim Democratic National Committee (DNC) Chairwoman Donna Brazile wrote about a deal between Clinton’s 2016 campaign and the DNC aimed at keeping the party financially viable.
“I’m really not involved with the Justice Department. I’d like to let it run itself, but honestly, they should be looking at the Democrats," Trump said.
"I had no idea that it would strike such a chord, the speech I gave on the Senate floor. A lot of people are concerned about where we're going. Particularly the type of politics that we've entered into. The vitriol that we now see daily," Flake told CNN.