Politics Sessions considering second special counsel to investigate Republican concerns, letter shows

05:52  14 november  2017
05:52  14 november  2017 Source:   MSN

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Attorney General Jeff Sessions is entertaining the idea of appointing a second special counsel to investigate a host of Republican concerns — including alleged wrongdoing by the Clinton Foundation and the controversial sale of a uranium company to Russia

Attorney General Jeff Sessions is entertaining the idea of appointing a second special counsel to investigate a host of Republican concerns — including alleged wrongdoing by the Clinton Foundation and the controversial sale of a uranium company to Russia

Jeff Sessions wearing a suit and tie: Attorney General Jeff Sessions has directed federal prosecutors to explore GOP concerns including alleged wrongdoing by the Clinton Foundation.. © Darron Cummings/AP Attorney General Jeff Sessions has directed federal prosecutors to explore GOP concerns including alleged wrongdoing by the Clinton Foundation..

Attorney General Jeff Sessions is entertaining the idea of appointing a second special counsel to investigate a host of Republican concerns — including alleged wrongdoing by the Clinton Foundation and the controversial sale of a uranium company to Russia — and has directed senior federal prosecutors to explore at least some of the matters and report back to him and his top deputy, according to a letter obtained by The Washington Post.

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Attorney General Jeff Sessions is entertaining the idea of appointing a second special counsel to investigate a host of Republican concerns – including alleged wrongdoing by the Clinton Foundation and the controversial sale of a uranium company to Russia

WASHINGTON - Attorney General Jeff Sessions is entertaining the idea of appointing a second special counsel to investigate a host of Republican concerns - including alleged wrongdoing by the Clinton Foundation and the controversial sale of a uranium company to Russia

The revelation came in a response from the Justice Department to an inquiry from House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), who in July and again in September called for Sessions to appoint a second special counsel to investigate concerns he had related to the 2016 election and its aftermath.

The list of matters he wanted probed was wide ranging, but included the FBI's handling of the investigation into Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server while she was secretary of state, various dealings of the Clinton Foundation and several matters connected to the purchase of the Canadian mining company Uranium One by Russia's nuclear energy agency. Goodlatte took particular aim at former FBI director James B. Comey, asking for a second special counsel to evaluate the leaks he directed about his conversations with President Trump, among other things.

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House Judiciary Committee Republicans on Thursday called for a new special counsel — to investigate Hillary Clinton, James Comey and Loretta Lynch. In a letter addressed to Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein

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In response, Assistant Attorney General Stephen E. Boyd wrote that Sessions had "directed senior federal prosecutors to evaluate certain issues raised in your letters," and those prosecutors would "report directly to the Attorney General and Deputy Attorney General, as appropriate, and will make recommendations as to whether any matters not currently under investigation should be opened, whether any matters currently under investigation require further resources, or whether any matters merit the appointment of a Special Counsel."

President Trump has repeatedly criticized his Justice Department for not aggressively probing a variety of conservative concerns. He said recently that officials there "should be looking at the Democrats and that it was "very discouraging" they were not "going after Hillary Clinton." On the campaign trail, Trump's supporters had frequently chanted "Lock her up!" at the mention of Clinton's name.

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In a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, the Judiciary Republicans say they want a second investigator to match Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who is conducting a sprawling

Goodlatte & Judiciary Republicans Call for Second Special Counsel to Address Issues Outside the Scope of Special Counsel Mueller’s Investigation . The members call for the appointment of a second special counsel to investigate grave concerns such as former Attorney General Lynch’s

"Hopefully they are doing something and at some point, maybe we are going to all have it out," Trump said.

Sessions's relationship with the president has been significantly strained since he recused himself from the investigation into possible coordination between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin to influence the 2016 election. The president has publicly lambasted his attorney general and noted that had he known in advance of Sessions's recusal, he would not have appointed him to the post. It was after Sessions's recusal that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein appointed Robert S. Mueller III to lead the investigation into the Trump campaign and the Kremlin.

While the Justice Department is part of the executive branch — and the attorney general is appointed by and answers to the president — the White House generally provides input on broad policy goals and does not weigh in on criminal probes.

In that context, the letter is likely to be seen by some, especially on the left, as Sessions's inappropriately bending to political pressure, possibly to save his job. The possible re-igniting of a probe of Clinton is likely to draw especially fierce criticism, even as it is welcomed by Trump supporters.

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In July, Republican members of the House Judiciary Committee sent a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein calling for the appointment of a second special counsel to investigate unaddressed matters

WASHINGTON - Attorney General Jeff Sessions is entertaining the idea of appointing a second special counsel to investigate a host of Republican concerns - including alleged wrongdoing by the Clinton Foundation and the controversial sale of a uranium company to Russia

When Trump had said during the campaign that he would "instruct my attorney general to get a special prosecutor" to look into his rival, former attorney general Michael Mukasey, a Trump supporter and vocal Clinton critic, said Trump having her investigated and jailed "would be like a banana republic."

"Putting political opponents in jail for offenses committed in a political setting, even if they are criminal offenses — and they very well may be — is something that we don't do here," he said. Trump would later back down from his threats, before breathing life into them again with his more recent comments.

Sessions, who was a Republican senator for Alabama before he was appointed attorney general, is set to testify before Goodlatte's committee on Tuesday and is likely to face questions on the topics raised in the letter.

A Justice Department spokesman declined to comment for this article, as did a lawyer for Comey. Brian Fallon, who served as the press secretary for the Clinton campaign, noted that the Justice Department letter became public not long after it was revealed Donald Trump Jr. had communicated with WikiLeaks during the 2016 campaign.

"Like clockwork, just as we learn of damning details of Donald Trump Jr's contacts with WikiLeaks, the Trump administration is firing up the fog machine to distract from the Mueller probe," Fallon said.

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Several Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee sent a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein on Thursday, asking for a second special counsel to investigate former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s email scandal.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions “is entertaining the idea of appointing a second special counsel to investigate a host of Republican concerns — including alleged wrongdoing by the Clinton Foundation and the controversial sale of a uranium company to Russia

In asking for a second special counsel in July, Goodlatte wrote that he wanted to "request assistance in restoring public confidence in our nation's justice system and its investigators." His letter, signed by 19 other Republicans, said that Judiciary Committee members were concerned that Mueller might not have a broad enough mandate to investigate other election-related matters, which he said included actions taken by Comey, Clinton and then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch.

Many of the items Goodlatte wanted probed had long been conservative talking points, some having to do with matters many considered long resolved: various decisions made in the Clinton email case, the Uranium One purchase, the so-called "unmasking" of people by the intelligence committee, and allegations by Trump that he was wiretapped by his predecessors. Unmasking is a routine part of intelligence officials' jobs, officials have said there is no evidence to support Trump's claim he was wiretapped, and while conservatives have sought to cast the Uranium One deal as an example of Clinton taking Russian money to influence U.S. policy, there is no evidence that Clinton participated in any discussions regarding the sale, which was approved during the Obama administration while she was secretary of state.

In the Justice Department's response, Boyd did not indicate which of the topics might draw greater interest than others, though he said the review by senior federal prosecutors would "better enable the Attorney General and the Deputy Attorney General to more effectively evaluate and manage the caseload." He noted the Justice Department Inspector General already was investigating several aspects of the Clinton email case and said once that probe was complete the department would assess "what, if any, additional steps are necessary to address any issues identified by that review."

"We will conduct this evaluation according to the highest standards of justice," he wrote.

A special counsel can be appointed when the Justice Department or a U.S. attorney's office has a conflict of interest, there are other "extraordinary circumstances" or it would otherwise be "in the public interest" to do so, according to the federal regulation governing such appointments.

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