Sessions: Mueller probe has taken on 'life of its own'

Sessions: Mueller probe has taken on 'life of its own'
© Greg Nash

Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsDOJ should take action against China's Twitter propaganda Lewandowski says he's 'happy' to testify before House panel The Hill's Morning Report — Trump and the new Israel-'squad' controversy MORE on Thursday defended his decision not to appoint a second special counsel to investigate alleged bias in the Justice Department, saying the current probe into Russia's election meddling has already taken "on a life of its own."

Asked by a House Appropriations panel about GOP accusations of surveillance abuse, Sessions told lawmakers that the Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerTrump calls for probe of Obama book deal Democrats express private disappointment with Mueller testimony Kellyanne Conway: 'I'd like to know' if Mueller read his own report MORE probe proved that it was a bad idea to appoint special counsels "willy-nilly."

ADVERTISEMENT

“I do not think we need to willy-nilly appoint special counsels,” Sessions said. “As we can see, it can really take on a life of its own.”

He added that the Department of Justice (DOJ) needs to “be disciplined and stay within our classical procedure and rules” before opening further investigations.

The remarks came the same day that the Senate Judiciary Committee approved legislation to protect Mueller from a possible firing attempt by President TrumpDonald John TrumpO'Rourke: Trump driving global, U.S. economy into recession Manchin: Trump has 'golden opportunity' on gun reforms Objections to Trump's new immigration rule wildly exaggerated MORE. Democrats and some Republicans have become increasingly concerned that Trump will seek to fire Mueller, whose probe he has dismissed as a "hoax" and a "witch hunt."

Republicans have been clamoring for weeks for the appointment of a second special counsel to probe the FBI's handling of both the investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia and the investigation into former Secretary of State Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonLewandowski on potential NH Senate run: If I run, 'I'm going to win' Fighter pilot vs. astronaut match-up in Arizona could determine control of Senate Progressive Democrats' turnout plans simply don't add up MORE's private email server.

GOP lawmakers have argued that both investigations were marked by instances in which FBI agents displayed personal bias against Trump and for Clinton.

Sessions announced in March that he would not approve the appointment of a second special counsel, but instead named a federal prosecutor from Utah, John Huber, to lead the investigation into Republicans' allegations that the FBI and DOJ abused a surveillance program against a former Trump campaign aide.

The chairmen of the House Oversight and Government Reform and House Judiciary committees, Reps. Trey GowdyHarold (Trey) Watson GowdyRising star Ratcliffe faces battle to become Trump's intel chief Cummings announces expansion of Oversight panel's White House personal email probe, citing stonewalling Pelosi says it's up to GOP to address sexual assault allegation against Trump MORE (R-S.C.) and Bob GoodlatteRobert (Bob) William GoodlatteImmigrant advocacy groups shouldn't be opposing Trump's raids Top Republican releases full transcript of Bruce Ohr interview It’s time for Congress to pass an anti-cruelty statute MORE (R-Va.), respectively, applauded the move, but continued their calls for a second special counsel to investigate supposed misconduct.

"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," the two chairmen said in a statement last month.

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