Jeff Ses­sions ex­plor­ing a spe­cial coun­sel to look at Clin­ton Foun­da­tion

The Guardian Australia - - World News -

At­tor­ney gen­eral Jeff Ses­sions is leav­ing open the pos­si­bil­ity that a spe­cial coun­sel could be ap­pointed to look into Clin­ton Foun­da­tion deal­ings and an Obama-era ura­nium deal, the jus­tice de­part­ment said Mon­day.

In a let­ter to the House ju­di­ciary com­mit­tee, which is hold­ing an over­sight hear­ing Tues­day, the jus­tice de­part­ment said Ses­sions had di­rected se­nior fed­eral prose­cu­tors to “eval­u­ate cer­tain is­sues” re­cently raised by Repub­li­can law­mak­ers.

The prose­cu­tors will re­port to Ses­sions and deputy at­tor­ney gen­eral Rod Rosen­stein and rec­om­mend whether any new in­ves­ti­ga­tions should be opened, whether any mat­ters cur­rently under in­ves­ti­ga­tion re­quire ad­di­tional re­sources and whether it might be nec­es­sary to ap­point a spe­cial coun­sel to over­see an in­ves­ti­ga­tion, ac­cord­ing to a let­ter sent to con­gress­man Robert Good­latte of Vir­ginia, the ju­di­ciary com­mit­tee’s Repub­li­can chair­man.

As­sis­tant at­tor­ney gen­eral Stephen Boyd did not say in the let­ter what spe­cific steps might be taken by the jus­tice de­part­ment to ad­dress the law­mak­ers’ con­cerns, or whether any of the mat­ters Repub­li­cans have seized might on al­ready be under in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

The let­ter comes one day be­fore Ses­sions is to ap­pear be­fore the ju­di­ciary panel for a jus­tice de­part­ment over­sight hear­ing. Democrats on the com­mit­tee have al­ready sig­naled that they in­tend to press Ses­sions on his knowl­edge of con­tacts be­tween Rus­sians and aides to the Trump cam­paign.

It also comes as he has faces crit­i­cism from Trump over the lack of in­ves­ti­ga­tion as well. The pres­i­dent tweeted on Novem­ber 3, “ev­ery­body is ask­ing why the Jus­tice De­part­ment (and FBI) isn’t look­ing into all of the dis­hon­esty go­ing on with Crooked Hil­lary amp; the Dems.”

Any ap­point­ment of a new spe­cial coun­sel, par­tic­u­larly in re­sponse to calls from mem­bers of Congress, is likely to lead to Demo­cratic com­plaints about an un­due po­lit­i­cal in­flu­ence on the de­part­ment’s de­ci­sion-mak­ing.

Trump in re­cent weeks has re­peat­edly weighed in on de­part­ment af­fairs, pub­licly lament­ing that he does not have more di­rect in­volve­ment with it and call­ing on law en­force­ment scru­tiny of Demo­crat Hil­lary Clin­ton, his op­po­nent in the 2016 pres­i­den­tial race, and other Democrats. He has been par­tic­u­larly in­ter­ested in the Clin­ton Foun­da­tion.

In ap­par­ent an­tic­i­pa­tion of those con­cerns, Boyd said in the let­ter that the de­part­ment “will never eval­u­ate any mat­ter ex­cept on the facts and the law”.

Ses­sions said at his Jan­uary con­fir­ma­tion hear­ing that he would re­cuse him­self from any in­ves­ti­ga­tions in­volv­ing Hil­lary Clin­ton given his role as a vo­cal cam­paign sur­ro­gate to Don­ald Trump. He sim­i­larly re­cused him­self from a sep­a­rate in­ves­ti­ga­tion into po­ten­tial co­or­di­na­tion be­tween the Trump cam­paign and Rus­sia, and in May, the jus­tice de­part­ment ap­pointed for­mer FBI di­rec­tor Robert Mueller as spe­cial coun­sel to lead that in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

House Repub­li­cans in re­cent weeks have launched their own in­ves­ti­ga­tions into the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion and Hil­lary Clin­ton’s emails.

Some have specif­i­cally said they want to know more about whether Obama’s jus­tice de­part­ment was in­ves­ti­gat­ing the pur­chase of Amer­i­can ura­nium mines by a Rus­sian­backed com­pany in 2010. The agree­ment was reached while Hil­lary Clin­ton led the state de­part­ment and some in­vestors in the com­pany had re­la­tion­ships with for­mer pres­i­dent Bill Clin­ton and do­nated large sums to the Clin­ton Foun­da­tion.

At­tor­ney Gen­eral Jeff Ses­sions De­liv­ers Re­marks On Na­tional Se­cu­rity In NYCNEW YORK, NY - NOVEM­BER 02: At­tor­ney Gen­eral Jeff Ses­sions speaks about do­mes­tic se­cu­rity in New York on Novem­ber 2, 2017 in New York City. Ses­sions, the na­tion’s top law...

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