Sessions admits GOP’s phony Clinton scandal doesn't meet "factual basis" for special counsel
Attorney General Jeff Sessions may have broken lots of hearts at Fox News on Tuesday during his testimony before the House Judiciary Committee. Pressed by Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) about the need for a special counsel investigate a non-controversial, seven-year-old sale of a uranium mining company, Sessions announced that it didn’t appears as if the […]
Pressed by Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) about the need for a special counsel investigate a non-controversial, seven-year-old sale of a uranium mining company, Sessions announced that it didn’t appears as if the facts currently warranted the appointment of an outside investigation.
Sessions raised Republican hopes of another possible anti-Hillary Clinton witch hunt on Monday when the Department of Justice wrote back to congressional Republicans who had requested an investigation of a private citizen who left the government payroll five years ago.
The letter conceded that it was possible a special counsel might be appointed. But on Tuesday, when pressed by Republicans on the House Judiciary Commitee, Sessions clearly suggested that would not happen.
JORDAN: What’s it going to take to actually get a special counsel?
SESSIONS: It would take a factual basis that meets the standards of an appointment of a special counsel.
JORDAN: Is that analysis going on right now?
SESSIONS: It’s in the manual for the Department of Justice, what’s required. We’ve only had two. The first one was the Waco Janet Reno — Sen. Danforth who took over that investigation as special counsel, and Mr. Mueller. Each of those are pretty special factual situations, and we will use the proper standards, and that’s the only thing I can tell you, Mr. Jordan. You can have your idea but sometimes we have to study what the facts are and to evaluate whether it meets the standard that requires a special counsel.
JORDAN: We know one fact. We know the Clinton campaign, the Democrat [sic] National Committee paid for, through the law firm, paid for the dossier. We know that happened. And it sure looks like the FBI was paying the author of that document. And it sure looks like a major political party was working with the federal government to then turn in an opposition research document that quoted some National Enquirer story into an intelligence document, take that to the FISA court, so that they could then get a warrant to spy on Americans associated with President Trump’s campaign. That’s what it looks like. And I’m asking you, doesn’t that — in addition to all the things that we know about James Comes in 2016 — doesn’t that warrant naming a second special counsel? As 20 members of this committee wrote three and a half months ago, asking you to do.
SESSIONS: Well, Mr. Comey is no longer the director of the FBI. We have an excellent man of integrity and ability in Chris Wray, and I think he’s going to do an outstanding job, and I’m very happy —
JORDAN: He’s not here today, Attorney General Sessions, and you are, and I’m asking for a special counsel.
SESSIONS: And I would say “looks like” is not enough basis to appoint a special counsel.
Donald Trump will also likely be disappointed by Sessions’ analysis. Trump’s been trumpeting the distant uranium sale as proof of Clinton’s supposedly “crooked” ways:
….People are angry. At some point the Justice Department, and the FBI, must do what is right and proper. The American public deserves it!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 3, 2017
But the whole, hollow story of supposed pay-for-play was long ago debunked — Fox News helped birth the phony scandal back in 2015 — and today it serves solely to distract from the White House’s mounting legal and ethical woes.
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