Sessions pushes back on calls for Clinton special counsel

Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsHillicon Valley: State officials share tech privacy concerns with Sessions | Senator says election security bill won't pass before midterms | Instagram co-founders leave Facebook | Google chief to meet GOP lawmakers over bias claims On The Money: US trade chief casts doubt on Canada joining new deal | House panel invites Watt accuser to testify | Brady defends GOP message on tax cuts State officials press Sessions on tech privacy worries MORE on Tuesday pushed back on the immediate need for a second special counsel to investigate former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonSenate panel subpoenas Roger Stone associate for Russia probe Webb: The new mob: Anti-American Dems Clinton to hold fundraiser for Menendez in NJ next month 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 JordanFreedom Caucus calls on Rosenstein to testify or resign GOP divide in Congress over Rosenstein's future Kavanaugh is a 'huge step backwards,' says Dem congressional candidate 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.
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"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 GoodlatteGOP divide in Congress over Rosenstein's future Jordan wants Rosenstein to testify before House Judiciary Committee House Judiciary chair threatens subpoena if DOJ doesn’t supply McCabe memos by Tuesday 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.