Ses­sions open to Clin­ton Foun­da­tion special coun­sel

Manteca Bulletin - - Nation -

WASH­ING­TON ( AP) — 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 a probe, ac­cord­ing to a let­ter sent to Rep. Robert Good­latte of Vir­ginia, the Ju­di­ciary Com­mit­tee’s Repub­li­can chair­man.

The let­ter from As­sis­tant At­tor­ney Gen­eral Stephen Boyd did not say 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.

Any ap­point­ment of a new special coun­sel, par­tic­u­larly in re­sponse to calls from mem­bers of Congress or from Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump, 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.

“Everybody is ask­ing why the Jus­tice Depart­ment (and FBI) isn’t look­ing into all of the dis­hon­esty go­ing on with Crooked Hil­lary & the Dems...” Trump tweeted ear­lier this month.

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

“Pro­fes­sion­al­ism, in­tegrity and pub­lic con­fi­dence in the Depart­ment’s work is crit­i­cal for us, and no pri­or­ity is higher,” Boyd said.

Ses­sions said at his Jan­uary con­fir­ma­tion hear­ing that he would re­cuse him­self from any in­ves­ti­ga­tions in­volv­ing Demo­crat Hil­lary Clin­ton given his role as a vo­cal cam­paign sur­ro­gate to Pres­i­dent 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 probe.

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