RSN Fundraising Banner
FB Share
Email This Page
add comment
Print

Zapotosky writes: "Attorney General Jeff Sessions is entertaining the idea of appointing a second special counsel to investigate a host of Republican concerns - including alleged wrongdoing by the Clinton Foundation and the controversial sale of a uranium company to Russia."

Jeff Sessions. (photo: AP)
Jeff Sessions. (photo: AP)


Sessions Considering Second Special Counsel to Investigate Republican Concerns, Letter Shows

By Matt Zapotosky, The Washington Post

14 November 17

 

ttorney General Jeff Sessions is entertaining the idea of appointing a second special counsel to investigate a host of Republican concerns — including alleged wrongdoing by the Clinton Foundation and the controversial sale of a uranium company to Russia — and has directed senior federal prosecutors to explore at least some of the matters and report back to him and his top deputy, according to a letter obtained by The Washington Post.

The revelation came in a response by the Justice Department to an inquiry from House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), who in July and again in September called for 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 Hillary 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. Goodlatte took particular aim at former FBI director James B. Comey, asking for the second special counsel to evaluate the leaks he directed about his conversations with President Trump, among other things.

In response, Assistant Attorney General Stephen E. Boyd wrote that Sessions had “directed senior federal prosecutors to evaluate certain issues raised in your letters,” and that those prosecutors would “report directly to the Attorney General and 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 the appointment of a Special Counsel.”

Trump has repeatedly criticized his Justice Department for not aggressively probing a variety of conservative concerns. He said recently that officials there “should be looking at the Democrats” and that it was “very discouraging” they were not “going after Hillary Clinton.” On the campaign trail, Trump’s supporters frequently chanted “Lock her up!” at the mention of Clinton’s name.

“Hopefully they are doing something, and at some point, maybe we are going to all have it out,” Trump said recently.

Sessions’s relationship with the president has been significantly strained since he recused himself from the investigation into possible coordination between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin to influence the 2016 election. The president has publicly lambasted his attorney general and noted that had he known in advance of Sessions’s recusal, he would not have appointed him to the post. It was after Sessions’s recusal that Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein appointed Robert S. Mueller III to lead the investigation into the Trump campaign and the Kremlin.

While the Justice Department is part of the executive branch — and the attorney general is appointed by and answers to the president — the White House generally provides input on broad policy goals and does not weigh in on criminal probes.

In that context, the letter is likely to be seen by some, especially on the left, as Sessions inappropriately bending to political pressure, perhaps to save his job. The possible reigniting of a probe of Clinton is likely to draw especially fierce criticism, even as it is welcomed by Trump’s supporters.

When Trump said during the campaign that he would “instruct my attorney general to get a special prosecutor” to look into Clinton, former attorney general Michael Mukasey — a Trump supporter and vocal Clinton critic — said Trump having her investigated and jailed “would be like a banana republic.”

“Putting political opponents in jail for offenses committed in a political setting, even if they are criminal offenses — and they very well may be — is something that we don’t do here,” he said.

Trump would later back down from his threats, before breathing life into them again with his more recent comments.

Sessions, who was a Republican senator from Alabama before being appointed attorney general, is set to testify before Goodlatte’s committee Tuesday and is likely to face questions on the topics raised in the letter.

A Justice Department spokesman declined to comment for this article, as did a lawyer for Comey.

Brian Fallon, who served as the press secretary for the Clinton campaign, noted that the Justice Department letter became public not long after revelations that Donald Trump Jr. had communicated with WikiLeaks during the 2016 campaign.

“Like clockwork, just as we learn of damning details of Donald Trump Jr.’s contacts with WikiLeaks, the Trump administration is firing up the fog machine to distract from the Mueller probe,” Fallon said.

In asking for a second special counsel in July, Goodlatte wrote that he wanted to “request assistance in restoring public confidence in our nation’s justice system and its investigators.” His letter, signed by 19 other Republicans, said Judiciary Committee members were concerned that Mueller might not have a broad enough mandate to investigate other election-related matters, which he said included actions taken by Comey, Clinton and then-Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch.

Many of the items Goodlatte wanted investigated had long been conservative talking points, some having to do with matters many considered resolved: various decisions made in the Clinton email case, the Uranium One purchase, the “unmasking” of people by the intelligence community and allegations by Trump that he was wiretapped by his predecessors. Unmasking is a routine part of intelligence officials’ jobs; officials have said there is no evidence to support Trump’s claims that he was wiretapped; and while conservatives have sought to cast the Uranium One deal as an example of Clinton taking Russian money to influence U.S. policy, there is no evidence that Clinton participated in any discussions regarding the sale, which was approved during the Obama administration while she was secretary of state.

In the Justice Department’s response, Boyd did not indicate whether any of the topics might draw greater interest than others, though he said the review by senior federal prosecutors would “better enable the Attorney General and the Deputy Attorney General to more effectively evaluate and manage the caseload.” He noted that the Justice Department inspector general already was investigating several aspects of the Clinton email case and said that once that probe was complete, the department would assess “what, if any, additional steps are necessary to address any issues identified by that review.”

“We will conduct this evaluation according to the highest standards of justice,” he wrote.

A special counsel can be appointed when the Justice Department or a U.S. attorney’s office has a conflict of interest, when there are other “extraordinary circumstances,” or when it would otherwise be “in the public interest” to do so, according to the federal regulation governing such appointments.


e-max.it: your social media marketing partner
 

Comments   

A note of caution regarding our comment sections:

For months a stream of media reports have warned of coordinated propaganda efforts targeting political websites based in the U.S., particularly in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election.

We too were alarmed at the patterns we were, and still are, seeing. It is clear that the provocateurs are far more savvy, disciplined, and purposeful than anything we have ever experienced before.

It is also clear that we still have elements of the same activity in our article discussion forums at this time.

We have hosted and encouraged reader expression since the turn of the century. The comments of our readers are the most vibrant, best-used interactive feature at Reader Supported News. Accordingly, we are strongly resistant to interrupting those services.

It is, however, important to note that in all likelihood hardened operatives are attempting to shape the dialog our community seeks to engage in.

Adapt and overcome.

Marc Ash
Founder, Reader Supported News

 
-4 # Dale 2017-11-14 12:52
This is a matter worth investigation. The Russia-Gate is a big hoax. Some of these critiques, that now appear daily may have a grain of truth, but not much more. They dont take account of the utter hypocrisy of the Dems and all those reverting to the old style red-baiting. The United States interferes in the elections and internal affairs of dozens of countries around the world. Such interference takes the form of regime change, as occured in the Ukraine, and is happening now in Venezuela. Other times, outright military intervention as in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria. Drone murders and Special Ops in dozens of countries, now including Africa. 60 years of boycott continuing against Cuba. Aid to local militaries to overthrow governments or to violently repress those demanding change, Chile, Central America. So get off it Democrats and media. Go after Trump for real, not trumped up, reasons. A PLAGUE ON BOTH PARTIES.
 
 
0 # ericlipps 2017-11-14 18:58
Quoting Dale:
This is a matter worth investigation. The Russia-Gate is a big hoax. Some of these critiques, that now appear daily may have a grain of truth, but not much more. They dont take account of the utter hypocrisy of the Dems and all those reverting to the old style red-baiting. . . . So get off it Democrats and media. Go after Trump for real, not trumped up, reasons. A PLAGUE ON BOTH PARTIES.

(1) Do you mnean to suggest that ANY charge against ANY Russian government or ANYONE possibly colluding with that government about ANYTHING is "red-baiting"? The last time I looked, no one was accusing either Trump or Putin of Communist sympathies. This is a red herring (so to speak).

(2) Quite a few people, including growing numbers of Republicans, would disagree about "Russia-Gate" being a "big hoax." Donald Trump, his family and his flunkies would of course disagree, as would those who think his election "saved the world from Hillary Clinton," as one poster hear memorably put it.

(3) What the U.S. has done elsewhere is wrong. Granted. So why is it right for others to do it to us?
 
 
-1 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2017-11-15 07:28
"The last time I looked, no one was accusing either Trump or Putin of Communist sympathies."


Clint Watts of the Foreign Policy Research Institute is certainly referring to communism. In his testimony to congress, he frequently referred to Russia as "the Soviet Union." Many people who talk about Putin refer to his service in the KGB, something that has not existed since the end of the USSR. So yes, this is all red baiting, with a little updating.

Maybe "hoax" is the wrong word. this is a massive and carefully planned out "manufacturing of consent" for the New Cold War and the coup d'etat against Trump. That's hardly a "hoax." It is infinitely worse.
 
 
+1 # Robbee 2017-11-14 16:34
Sessions Considering Second Special Counsel 14 November 17

there is evidence that rump's campaign committed crimes - the evidence merits investigation, evaluation, and evidently, charges - it was ever thus in every legal system - so far, on the basis of evidence presented to grand jury finding that they probably committed crime, mueller has charged 3 men associated with rump's campaign

if there is any evidence that hillary committed a crime, and i'm not saying there is, i don't know and simply don't care to study allegations that some repukes want to investigate, not after the benghazzi and email server witch hunts, all busts - repukes have a blame lust about hillary that defies logic - then repukes should hire special prosecutors to investigate hillary

personally i wish that hillary or clinton foundation committed some crime, so that the dnc could get over hillary and her neoliberal influence once and for all
 
 
-1 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2017-11-15 07:10
robbee -- "personally i wish that hillary or clinton foundation committed some crime, so that the dnc could get over hillary and her neoliberal influence once and for all"


Yes, this would be good for the party. But the Clinton Foundation has been investigated before and it was Mueller who covered up the crimes of money laundering and bribery. Personally, I think the "pay to play" racket that the Clinton Foundation has been running is too much a part of Washington to ever be investigated. Many politicans do it. Exposing the Clintons would expose them all. They won't let that happen. It is how the system works. Those who can pay get all the influence in government.

But I've read that now that the Clintons are out of power, there are no more contributions coming in to the Foundation. So it may collapse on its own. The Clinton Global Initiatives has already been shut down.

No one will pay if there is no play.
 
 
0 # Robbee 2017-11-16 21:57
[quote name="Rodion Raskolnikov"The Clinton Global Initiatives has already been shut down.
- really?
 
 
+1 # lfeuille 2017-11-15 01:01
Today Sessions told congress that there is not enough evidence for an investigation of Hillary. If Sessions says this he is probably acting like a lawyer for once instead of a Republican hack because he shows no signs of being a Hillary admirer, but he has also left the door open to changing his mind and going back to being a Republican hack.
 
 
0 # Robbee 2017-11-16 22:03
Quoting lfeuille:
Today Sessions ... left the door open to changing his mind

- repukes worry hillary will ride again

just in case, they need to leave in her closet what they will call a skeleton
 

THE NEW STREAMLINED RSN LOGIN PROCESS: Register once, then login and you are ready to comment. All you need is a Username and a Password of your choosing and you are free to comment whenever you like! Welcome to the Reader Supported News community.

RSNRSN