Sessions weighs second special counsel to probe Clinton-related matters
Attorney General Jeff Sessions is considering naming a special counsel to lead an investigation into a list of matters involving former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, according to a Monday letter the Justice Department sent to the House Judiciary Committee.
President Trump’s top prosecutor is interested in further probing a wide range of topics, including the Obama-era sale of Uranium One that gave a Russian state-owned company partial control of U.S. atomic energy resources.
Officials told The Hill that the Justice Department is also currently investigating several issues related to Clinton Foundation donations, the unmasking of American identities by the intelligence community and former FBI Director James Comey’s handling of the investigation into Clinton’s private email server, all of which could lead to the appointment of a second special prosecutor if the facts warrant.
The letter comes in response to the repeated appeal of Rep. Robert Goodlatte (R-Va.), chairman of the Judiciary panel, who called on Sessions twice this year to appoint a second special counsel who could independently investigate these concerns.
Goodlatte had particularly taken aim at Comey after revelations surfaced earlier this year that he had drafted a statement ending the agency’s investigation into Clinton’s email server before more than a dozen key witnesses, including Clinton herself, had been interviewed about the issue.
Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd responded to Goodlatte, saying that Sessions had “directed senior federal prosecutors to evaluate certain issues raised in your letters,” according to the letter.
Boyd added that they 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.”
In the letter, Boyd repeatedly underscored that if they do open such probes, it will be for “non-political” reasons.
“As noted during our prior meeting in response to your letters, the Department of Justice takes seriously its responsibility to provide timely and accurate information to Congress on issues of public interest and seeks to do so in a non-political manner that is consistent with the Department’s litigation, law enforcement, and national security responsibilities,” Boyd wrote, adding that “this letter should not be construed” as a confirmation or denial of any such investigations as remains the department’s long-practiced policy.
“In addition, you must know the Department will never evaluate any matter except the facts and the law.”
Sources said more work will need to be done to determine whether there is legal grounds to name a second special counsel for any of the issues, and Sessions is unlikely to say much more during his Tuesday appearance before the House Judiciary Committee beyond what he put in the Goodlatte letter.
The letter also was meant to signal that Sessions has not recused himself from issues outside the Russia election tampering probe now under special counsel Robert Mueller’s jurisdiction, such as the 2010 approval of the sale of Uranium One or the Clinton email case, the officials added.
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