Jeff Sessions Weighs Competing Special Counsel Focused On Clinton, Democrats




 

WASHINGTON ― Attorney General Jeff Sessions, facing a dissatisfied boss and increased scrutiny over his knowledge of the Trump campaign's dealings with Russia, is weighing whether to appoint a separate special counsel to zero in on allegations against presidential rival Hillary Clinton and other Democrats, a Justice Department official disclosed in a letter to Republican members of Congress on Monday.

Appointing a second special counsel would be seen as a move to appease President Donald Trump, who has long been critical of Sessions and recently publicly aired his frustrations with the traditional divide between the White House and the Justice Department and his inability to aim the nation's premier law enforcement agency at his political adversaries.

The disclosure came in a letter from a top Justice Department official to Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), who chairs the House Judiciary Committee. Goodlatte and other House Republicans had sent letters to the Justice Department in July and September featuring a wide-ranging list of 14 allegations against Democrats that Republicans wanted investigated. In addition to raising concerns about the handling of the Clinton investigation, which is already being examined by the Justice Department's inspector general, the letter raised questions about the Clinton Foundation, mining company Uranium One and other topics.

In a response sent to Goodlatte on the eve of Sessions' appearance before the House Judiciary Committee, Justice official Stephen Boyd wrote that Sessions had "directed senior federal prosecutors to evaluate certain issues raised" in Goodlatte's letter. While not confirming the existence of any investigation, the letter made it clear that the allegations against Democrats have Sessions' attention.

"These senior prosecutors will 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," he wrote.

A copy of the letter was acquired by HuffPost. It was first reported by Fox News.

Allegations against Clinton have received renewed attention from Republicans and the conservative media in recent weeks as Robert Mueller's special counsel investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election has heated up, with charges filed against three former Trump campaign staffers.

Trump, in particular, has highlighted allegations of Democratic wrongdoing to distract from Mueller's probe.

"Everybody is asking why the Justice Department (and FBI) isn't looking into all of the dishonesty going on with Crooked Hillary & the Dems," Trump tweeted in early November, subsequently referring to "deleted E-mails, Uranium, Podesta, the Server, plus, plus.." in a subsequent tweet. "People are angry. At some point the Justice Department, and the FBI, must do what is right and proper. The American public deserves it!" Trump wrote.

Politically, a second special counsel would be a major boost for the Trump administration, potentially serving up fresh headlines on a scandal involving Democrats that would compete for space with news of the Russia probe.

Sessions himself is likely to face tough questions from House Democrats on Tuesday over what he knew when about Trump campaign surrogates' dealings with the Russians. Sessions had denied being aware of any Trump surrogates having conversations with the Russians. But Sessions was photographed at a national security meeting with the Trump campaign sitting near George Papadopoulos, a former Trump campaign adviser who apparently has been flipped by Mueller and has admitted lying to FBI agents about being offered "dirt" on Clinton by a professor with ties to the Russians.

Sessions' advocates have stated that he shot down Papadopoulos' suggestion that Trump meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Ryan Reilly is HuffPost's senior justice reporter, covering criminal justice, federal law enforcement and legal affairs. Have a tip? Reach him at ryan.reilly@huffpost.com or on Signal at 202-527-9261.

COMMENTS

More Related News

U.S. attorney general orders probe of FBI agents
U.S. attorney general orders probe of FBI agents' text messages
  • US
  • 2018-01-23 21:57:02Z

By Sarah N. Lynch WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has ordered an investigation into missing text messages exchanged between two Federal Bureau of Investigation staffers who are accused of expressing views against President Donald Trump, the Justice Department has confirmed. Texts between FBI agent Peter Strzok and FBI lawyer Lisa Page exchanged between Dec. 14, 2016, and May 17, 2017, are among a broader batch of missing phone messages that the FBI's system failed to store due to a software upgrade glitch on many Samsung 5 cell phones.

US Attorney General Sessions questioned in Russia probe
US Attorney General Sessions questioned in Russia probe

US Attorney General Jeff Sessions was questioned last week for several hours by investigators probing possible collusion between Russia and President Donald Trump's election campaign, the Justice Department confirmed Tuesday. Sessions, who like Trump has repeatedly downplayed the idea that Russian

Former Trump Aide's Fiancee Warns White House:
Former Trump Aide's Fiancee Warns White House: 'A Lot To Come'

The fiancee of George Papadopoulos, a former foreign policy adviser to President Donald Trump who pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI last year, said there's a lot the public doesn't know yet.

Senator says FBI lost crucial texts tied to Clinton probe
Senator says FBI lost crucial texts tied to Clinton probe

By Sarah N. Lynch WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Federal Bureau of Investigation has lost about five months worth of text messages between two staffers who worked on probes into former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's emails and possible collusion between Russia and President Donald Trump's 2016 presidential campaign, according to a Republican lawmaker. Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson, who chairs the Senate Homeland Security Committee, revealed in a Jan. 20 letter that the FBI's technical system failed to preserve texts that were exchanged between Lisa Page, a lawyer, and Peter Strzok, an agent, between mid-December 2016 through mid-May of 2017.

'SNL': Stormy Daniels, Robert Mueller visit Weekend Update, Jessica Chastain salutes the Women's March and more

Jessica Chastain used her Saturday Night Live hosting debut this weekend to salute those who took part in the second annual Women's March. The two-time Oscar nominee, who couldn't attend the demonstration due to her commitment to the late-night sketch-comedy series, devoted her intro to those who were, performing Lesley Gore's "You Don't Own Me" alongside Kate […]

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply

Comments

Top News: Latin America

facebook
Hit "Like"
Don't miss any important news
Thanks, you don't need to show me this anymore.