Sessions pushes back on calls for Clinton special counsel

Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsUnder pressure, Trump shifts blame for Russia intrusion Overnight Tech: Judge blocks AT&T request for DOJ communications | Facebook VP apologizes for tweets about Mueller probe | Tech wants Treasury to fight EU tax proposal Overnight Regulation: Trump to take steps to ban bump stocks | Trump eases rules on insurance sold outside of ObamaCare | FCC to officially rescind net neutrality Thursday | Obama EPA chief: Reg rollback won't stand MORE on Tuesday pushed back on the immediate need for a second special counsel to investigate former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonWoman behind pro-Trump Facebook page denies being influenced by Russians Trump: CNN, MSNBC 'got scammed' into covering Russian-organized rally Pennsylvania Democrats set to win big with new district map MORE.

It would take "a factual basis that meets the standard of a special counsel" for the Justice Department to make such an appointment, he said during a heated exchange with Rep. Jim JordanJames (Jim) Daniel JordanCNN's Cuomo spars with GOP lawmaker over memos in heated exchange Burned by the budget, right warns Ryan on immigration Freedom Caucus chairman on budget deal: 'The swamp won and the American taxpayer lost' MORE (R-Ohio) at a Tuesday House Judiciary Committee meeting.
"We will use the proper standards and that’s the only thing I can tell you, Mr. Jordan," Sessions said. "You can have your idea but sometimes we have to study what the facts are and to evaluate whether it meets the standards it requires."

Jordan made a fiery case for allegations of improper spying on the Trump campaign by the Obama administration Department of Justice that widely was touted amongst Capitol Hill Republicans.

"We know one fact. We know the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee paid for the dossier," he said. 

"And it sure looks like the FBI was paying the author of that document and it sure looks like a major political party was working with the federal government to then turn an opposition research document — the equivalent of some National Enquirer story — into an intelligence document to take that to the FISA Court so they could then get a warrant to spy on President Trump’s campaign," Jordan said.

"That’s what it looks like and I’m asking you, in addition to all the things we know about James Comey in 2016, doesn’t that warrant naming a second special counsel?" he said.

Sessions at first demurred, noting that Comey is no longer the director of the FBI and praising the current director, Chris Wray. But pressed further by Jordan — "He's not here today, Attorney General Sessions, and you are" — Sessions appeared to throw cold water on the immediate need for a special counsel.

"I would say 'looks like' is not enough basis to appoint a special counsel," he said sharply.
Sessions' comment comes after the Justice Department sent a letter to Bob GoodlatteRobert (Bob) William GoodlatteProgressive group targets GOP moderates on immigration Florida shooting reopens CDC gun research debate Congress punts fight over Dreamers to March MORE (R-Va.) Monday that said he had asked senior prosecutors to look into allegations against Clinton and question whether a special counsel would be needed to investigate allegations related to the former secretary of State.
Sessions also testified on Tuesday that he had directed prosecutors to look into whether a special prosecutor was necessary. 
Late last month, the House Judiciary and the House Oversight and Government Reform committees announced that they will jointly look into the FBI’s probe into Clinton’s private server and her handling of classified documents.

The House Intelligence and Oversight committees are also jointly probing the sale of a Canada-based company with control over some U.S. uranium to a Russian firm when Clinton was secretary of State.