Justice Dept. considering special counsel over Clinton Foundation’s dealings
WASHINGTON — Ten days after President Donald Trump said that he was frustrated with the Justice Department for not investigating Hillary Clinton and other Democrats, the Justice Department told Congress on Monday that senior prosecutors were looking into whether a special counsel should be appointedto investigate them.
The prosecutors will examine reports of misconduct at the Clinton Foundation and the Obama administration’s 2010 decision to
allow a Russian nuclear energy agency to acquire much of the United States’ uranium, among other matters, according to a letter sent to the House Judiciary Committee from a senior Justice Department official on Monday.
“These senior prosecutors will report directly to the attorney general and the deputy attorney general, as appropriate, and will make recommendations as to whether any matters not currently under investigation should be opened, whether any matters currently under investigation require further resources, or whether any matters merit a special counsel,” said the senior official, Stephen Boyd, an assistant attorney general.
The revelation came in a response from the Justice Department to an inquiry from House Judiciary Committee Chairman Robert Goodlatte, R-Va., who in July and again in September called for Attorney General Jeff Sessions to appoint a second special counsel to investigate concerns he had related to the 2016 election and its aftermath.
The list of matters he wanted probed was wide ranging but included the FBI’s handling of the investigation into Ms. Clinton’s use of a private email server while she was secretary of state, various dealings of the Clinton Foundation and several matters connected to the purchase of the Canadian mining company Uranium One by Russia’s nuclear energy agency. Mr. Goodlatte took particular aim at former FBI Director James Comey, asking for a second special counsel to evaluate the leaks he directed about his conversations with Mr. Trump, among other things.
In response, Mr. Boyd wrote that Mr. Sessions had “directed senior federal prosecutors to evaluate certain issues raised in your letters.”
The decision to examine those matters raises questions about whether Mr. Trump is trying to use the Justice Department to investigate his political rivals and distract from the special counsel’s investigation into his presidential campaign. It also comes at a tenuous time for Mr. Sessions, whom Mr. Trump has hinted to advisers he may want to fire. People close to the White House believe Mr. Sessions can stop the president from firing him by appointing a special counsel to investigate the uranium deal.
As the special counsel’s investigation into Mr. Trump and his associates has intensified in recent weeks, Mr. Trump has asked allies and advisers why the special counsel, Robert Mueller, is not investigating the Uranium One case, according to a person familiar with the president’s discussions. The allies and advisers have told Mr. Trump that Mr. Mueller’s purview is only to look into Russian interference in the 2016 election, the person said. In response, Mr. Trump has said that the Uranium One relates to Russia. Mr. Trump has asked allies and advisers why the special counsel, Robert Mueller, is not investigating the Uranium One case, according to a person familiar with the president’s discussions.
U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ Justice Department is entertaining the idea of appointing a second special counsel to investigate a host of Republican concerns about Hillary Clinton and other Democrats.