Administration

Sessions assembles team to probe support for Hezbollah

Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced on Thursday that the Justice Department has assembled a team to investigate individuals and groups supporting the Iranian-backed militant Islamist group Hezbollah.

"The Justice Department will leave no stone unturned in order to eliminate threats to our citizens from terrorist organizations and to stem the tide of the devastating drug crisis," Sessions said, adding that the Hezbollah Financing and Narcoterrorism Team will include prosecutors and investigators.

The move follows a Politico report last month that the Obama administration worked to block a Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) campaign targeting the Lebanon-based group's narcotics and weapons trafficking, known as Project Cassandra, to avoid damaging negotiations around the eventual 2015 Iran nuclear deal.

The DEA launched the effort in 2008 after it amassed evidence showing Hezbollah had been collected $1 billion a year as a result of trafficking and money laundering.

Sessions ordered a review of a law enforcement efforts to crack down on Hezbollah's trafficking and money-laundering operations after that report.

Republicans have seized on the Politico report, saying the Obama administration gave away too much to Iran in order to reach the nuclear agreement.

Relations between the U.S. and Iran have declined under the Trump administration.

President Trump ripped the Iranian government for its violent response to peaceful protestors this month. U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley also accused Iran of supplying weapons to Yemeni rebels last month.

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