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 SessionsTrump attack on Sessions may point to his departure Hillicon Valley: Trump's exclusive interview with Hill.TV | Trump, intel officials clash over Russia docs | EU investigating Amazon | Military gets new cyber authority | Flynn sentencing sparks new questions about Mueller probe Sessions in Chicago: If you want more shootings, listen to ACLU, Antifa, Black Lives Matter 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 GowdyGowdy requests FEMA administrator’s travel records amid allegations Nunes: Russia probe documents should be released before election Gowdy: House Intel panel should release all transcripts from Russia probe MORE (R-S.C.) and Bob GoodlatteRobert (Bob) William GoodlatteVirginia reps urge Trump to declare federal emergency ahead of Hurricane Florence Republicans mull new punishments for dissident lawmakers Republicans ready to grill Bruce Ohr as Trump-DOJ feud escalates 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 TrumpLondon terror suspect’s children told authorities he complained about Trump: inquiry The Memo: Tide turns on Kavanaugh Trump to nominate retiring lawmaker as head of trade agency 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.