President Donald Trump has lashed out at Senator Richard Blumenthal, calling him a "phony Vietnam con artist" after the Democrat expressed strong support for a special counsel's probe of Russia meddling in the election and possible collusion with Trump campaign officials.
In a series of tweets from his holiday in New Jersey, Trump dismissed the "hoax Russian collusion" and revived a 2010 embarrassment for Blumenthal: the Connecticut lawmaker, a Marine Corps reservist during Vietnam, had to apologise for saying he had served in the war.
"Interesting to watch Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut talking about hoax Russian collusion when he was a phony Vietnam con artist!" Trump tweeted on Monday.
"Never in U.S. history has anyone lied or defrauded voters like Senator Richard Blumenthal. He told stories about his Vietnam battles and.......conquests, how brave he was, and it was all a lie. He cried like a baby and begged for forgiveness like a child. Now he judges collusion?"
Blumenthal responded to Trump on Twitter, saying: "Mr. President: Your bullying hasn't worked before and it won't work now. No one is above the law.
"This issue isn't about me - it's about the Special Counsel's independence and integrity."
Nine hours after the tweet storm, Trump again lashed out against Blumenthal via Twitter: "I think Senator Blumenthal should take a nice long vacation in Vietnam, where he lied about his service, so he can at least say he was there."
Trump's initial criticism came shortly after Blumenthal, a member of the Senate judiciary committee, was interviewed on CNN.
The senator discussed several topics, including the Justice Department's crackdown on leakers, new sanctions on North Korea and reports special counsel Robert Mueller has impanelled a grand jury in his inquiry.
The senator credited the media for its reporting on the Trump administration and said Mueller's investigation must be pursued.