Of­fi­cials dis­turbed by Clin­ton pro­posal

The Dominion Post - - World -

UNITED STATES: US At­tor­ney Gen­eral Jeff Ses­sions’ pub­lic sug­ges­tion that he may ap­point a spe­cial coun­sel to in­ves­ti­gate Hil­lary Clin­ton has alarmed cur­rent and for­mer Jus­tice Depart­ment of­fi­cials, who fear he will fur­ther politi­cise the em­bat­tled agency.

Ses­sions said at a con­gres­sional hear­ing yes­ter­day that he will weigh rec­om­men­da­tions from se­nior prose­cu­tors on whether to ap­point a spe­cial coun­sel over a 2010 ura­nium com­pany deal and other is­sues, in­clud­ing do­na­tions to the Clin­ton Foun­da­tion.

Such an ap­point­ment could give US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump and Repub­li­cans a po­lit­i­cal coun­ter­weight to the on­go­ing work of Spe­cial Coun­sel Robert Mueller, who is prob­ing whether any Trump as­so­ci­ates co­or­di­nated with the Rus­sian gov­ern­ment to in­ter­fere in last year’s pres­i­den­tial elec­tion.

‘‘To have the win­ning side ex­plor­ing the pos­si­bil­ity of pros­e­cut­ing the los­ing side in an elec­tion - it’s un-Amer­i­can, and it’s grotesque,’’ said John Dan­forth, a for­mer spe­cial coun­sel who in­ves­ti­gated the FBI’s role in a vi­o­lent stand­off with a cult in Waco, Texas in 1993.

The first year of the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion has been a tur­bu­lent one for the Jus­tice Depart­ment. FBI Di­rec­tor James Comey was fired, and Trump has re­peat­edly and pub­licly at­tacked the depart­ment, the FBI and se­nior of­fi­cials at those agen­cies, com­plain­ing that he wishes he could have more con­trol over how they pur­sue crim­i­nal cases.

It is un­clear how Ses­sions might ap­point a spe­cial coun­sel, given that he has re­cused him­self from in­ves­tiga­tive mat­ters in­volv­ing the 2016 cam­paign due to his vo­cal sup­port of Trump and fierce pub­lic crit­i­cism of Clin­ton.

Ses­sions also told the House Ju­di­ciary Com­mit­tee yes­ter­day that he had ‘‘al­ways told the truth’’ in de­scrib­ing his knowl­edge of Trump cam­paign con­tacts with Rus­sians.

How­ever, he ac­knowl­edged that he now re­called an in­ter­ac­tion with a lower-level ad­viser to Trump, Ge­orge Pa­padopou­los, who said he told Ses­sions about con­tacts who could help to ar­range a meet­ing be­tween Trump and Rus­sian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin.

– Wash­ing­ton Post

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