GOP chairmen: Sessions move to probe alleged FISA abuse 'a step in the right direction'

GOP chairmen: Sessions move to probe alleged FISA abuse 'a step in the right direction'
© Greg Nash

Two top House Republicans said Thursday that Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsThe Hill's Campaign Report: Late bids surprise 2020 Democratic field Sessions vows to 'work for' Trump endorsement Sanford: 'It carries real weight' to speak against Trump 'while in office' MORE's decision to appoint a federal prosecutor in Utah to investigate allegations of surveillance abuse by the FBI is a "step in the right direction."

Reps. Trey GowdyHarold (Trey) Watson GowdyFive landmark moments of testimony to Congress Conway spars with Wallace on whether White House will cooperate with impeachment inquiry after formal vote Gowdy: I '100 percent' still believe public congressional hearings are 'a circus' MORE (R-S.C.) and Bob GoodlatteRobert (Bob) William GoodlatteUSCIS chief Cuccinelli blames Paul Ryan for immigration inaction Immigrant advocacy groups shouldn't be opposing Trump's raids Top Republican releases full transcript of Bruce Ohr interview MORE (R-Va.), the chairmen of the House Oversight and Government Reform and Judiciary committees, respectively, said in a statement that they still believed the appointment of a special counsel was necessary to probe the allegations against the FBI.

But they also said they were "encouraged" by Sessions's appointment of U.S. Attorney John Huber to investigate potential abuses.

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"While we continue to believe the appointment of a second Special Counsel is necessary, this is a step in the right direction. We expect that U.S. Attorney Huber, given his reputation, will conduct an independent and thorough investigation," Gowdy and Goodlatte said.

"Such an investigation is critical to restoring the reputation of both the Bureau and DOJ in the eyes of the American people," they added.

The statement came after Sessions revealed in a letter to the Republican chairmen that he had declined to appoint a special counsel to oversee such an investigation, at least for now.

He also revealed in that letter that Huber was investigating whether the FBI and Justice Department had abused their authority in obtaining a clandestine surveillance warrant on Carter Page, a former foreign policy adviser to President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump opens new line of impeachment attack for Democrats Bloomberg to spend 0M on anti-Trump ads in battleground states New witness claims first-hand account of Trump's push for Ukraine probes MORE's campaign.

Sessions has faced pressure for months to appoint a special counsel to oversee such an investigation. He said in the letter to Goodlatte and Gowdy that he had directed the department's inspector general, Michael Horowitz, to open a probe into the allegations. That investigation was formally announced on Wednesday.