Issa accuses US attorney of 'political misconduct' for timing of Duncan Hunter indictment

Issa accuses US attorney of 'political misconduct' for timing of Duncan Hunter indictment
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Retiring Rep. Darrell IssaDarrell Edward IssaFive times presidents sparked controversy using executive privilege GOP plots comeback in Orange County The Hill's Morning Report — Shutdown fallout — economic distress MORE (R-Calif.) accused U.S. Attorney Adam Braverman of  “political misconduct” Tuesday for indicting Rep. Duncan HunterDuncan Duane HunterHouse ethics panel renews probes into three GOP lawmakers GOP Rep. Duncan Hunter accused of violating 'parole' after pretending to cross US-Mexico border Challenger outraises embattled California rep ahead of 2020 rematch MORE (R-Calif.) likely too close to the midterm elections to be able to remove Hunter from the ballot.

“I believe that the assistant U.S. attorney has totally screwed us,” Issa told CBS News. “I believe that this is political misconduct by the assistant U.S. attorney, and I believe it simply because all deadlines, as far as I know, as far as I've been told, have passed.”

Issa, an eight-term Congressman, said the timing of the indictment was suspect given California's primaries had already taken place. The state's "jungle" primary makes it difficult to replace a candidate on the ballot should they drop out because the system dictates that the top two candidates, irrespective of party, compete in the general election.

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“So now you have an accusation that could sink anyone, when in fact, this same information … I didn't see anything that hasn't been there for years," Issa said. CBS notes that it is not clear if Issa was referring to Braverman or a different federal prosecutor in the Southern District of California.

“I don't know how you make any kind of sense other than he sat on it for most of three years and certainly the last year," Issa said.

Issa continued, stating that he was unsure of any legal means of taking Duncan off the ballot and replacing him with another candidate. Even if Hunter could be removed from the ballot, Issa said he is unsure someone else could be added in his stead.

“The important question that we don't have an answer to, but I'm pretty sure of the answer, is — can he get off the ballot if he chose to and can anyone else get on the ballot?” Issa said. “And I think the answer in California is 'no' to both.”

Issa also told CBS News he had called the general counsel for the California Republican Party Chuck Bell to clarify the party’s options after Hunter’s indictment.

The outgoing representative said he was already preparing to leave the House, but would be open to "heed[ing] the call" if needed.

Hunter was indicted alongside his wife on Tuesday over charges of at least $250,000 in misused campaign funds.

The indictment swiftly resulted in Hunter being dropped from his position on several House committees. Retiring Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) called the charges against the three-term GOP lawmaker "deeply serious."