partlycloudy
Tuesday November 21st, 2017 8:56AM

Sessions considers a Clinton Foundation special counsel

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

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, in responding to concerns from Republican lawmakers.

The department said in a letter to the House Judiciary Committee Monday that Sessions had directed senior federal prosecutors to "evaluate certain issues" raised in recent weeks by members of Congress, which include allegations that the Clinton Foundation benefited from a years-old uranium transaction involving a Russian-backed company.

President Donald Trump himself has repeatedly implored the Justice Department on social media to investigate the deal, including in a series of Twitter posts this month in which he lamented not having more direct influence over the agency's affairs.

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 the Judiciary Committee's Republican chairman, Rep. Robert Goodlatte.

Any appointment of a new special counsel, particularly in response to calls from members of Congress or from Trump himself, is likely to lead to criticism complaints about an undue political influence on a department that is meant to function outside of any partisan sway or demand.

Though the Justice Department falls within the executive branch, and its priorities are historically in line with those of the president, the White House is not supposed to influence the decisions of prosecutors on any particular cases.

The Justice Department sought to address those concerns in its letter, with Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd saying that the 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," he added.

Nonetheless, the action follows a series of critical public statements by Trump that observers said blurred the bright line between the White House and the Justice Department.

In recent weeks, he has repeatedly weighed in on Twitter on Justice Department business to call for investigations of Democrats and has challenged Sessions to be more aggressive in going after his political opponents, expressing particular support for investigating the Clinton Foundation. He has also suggested at times that Sessions' job could be in jeopardy.

"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.

Boyd's letter 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 on might already be under investigation by federal authorities.

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

House Republicans in recent weeks have launched their own probes into the Obama administration and Clinton's emails.

Some lawmakers have specifically said they want to know more about whether President Barack Obama's Justice Department had been investigating the purchase of American uranium mines by a Russian-backed company in 2010.

The agreement was reached while 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.

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.

___

Follow Eric Tucker on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/etuckerAP

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Online Headlines - Washington, AP Online Congress News
© Copyright 2017 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
'A national shame': Local papers react harshly to Italy exit
The End, The Apocalypse, A national shame: Local newspapers spared no words in describing four-time champion Italy's failure to qualify for the World Cup
4:38AM ( 9 minutes ago )
Sessions considers a Clinton Foundation special counsel
Attorney General Jeff Sessions is leaving open the possibility that a special counsel could be appointed to look into Clinton Foundation dealings and a uranium deal during the Obama administration
4:17AM ( 30 minutes ago )
Trump heads home after 'tremendously successful' Asia trip
President Donald Trump is heading home following an extensive tour of Asia that he says has been "tremendously successful."
4:17AM ( 31 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Trump Jr. messaged with WikiLeaks during 2016 campaign
President Donald Trump's oldest son has released a series of direct messages he received from the Twitter account behind the WikiLeaks website
4:00AM ( 47 minutes ago )
GOP bill aimed at overhauling taxes to get Trump push
As Republicans stake their claim to middle-class rescue in tax cut legislation deemed to carry tax hikes for millions, President Donald Trump plans an in-person appeal to lawmakers as the proposal faces a crucial vote in the House.
3:51AM ( 56 minutes ago )
Sessions facing Congress amid new Russia probe details
Attorney General Jeff Sessions returns to Capitol Hill this week amid growing evidence of contacts between Russians and associates of President Donald Trump
3:49AM ( 59 minutes ago )
AP Online Headlines - Washington
'A national shame': Local papers react harshly to Italy exit
The End, The Apocalypse, A national shame: Local newspapers spared no words in describing four-time champion Italy's failure to qualify for the World Cup
4:38AM ( 9 minutes ago )
Trump heads home after 'tremendously successful' Asia trip
President Donald Trump is heading home following an extensive tour of Asia that he says has been "tremendously successful."
4:17AM ( 31 minutes ago )
Boeing inks $1.3B Ethiopian Airlines deal for 777 freighters
Boeing Co. has inked a deal to sell four 777 freighters to Ethiopian Airlines, a purchase valued at $1.3 billion
4:12AM ( 36 minutes ago )
Without injured Curry, Durant leads Warriors past Magic
Kevin Durant had 21 points, eight assists and seven rebounds, Shaun Livingston scored a season-best 16 points in place of the injured Stephen Curry, and the Warriors beat the Orlando Magic 110-100 for their seventh straight win
4:04AM ( 43 minutes ago )
Trump Jr. messaged with WikiLeaks during 2016 campaign
President Donald Trump's oldest son has released a series of direct messages he received from the Twitter account behind the WikiLeaks website
4:00AM ( 47 minutes ago )