US Attorney General Jeff Sessions vowed Tuesday to decide quickly whether to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate Hillary Clinton's alleged mishandling of classified materials when she was secretary of state.
Jordan listed off a number of reasons why he believed a special counsel should be appointed, pointing to issues stemming from the Fusion GPS dossier on President Donald Trump's ties to Russia, which has been partially substantiated and partially discredited; former FBI Director James Comey's handling of the investigation into Clinton's use of a private email server as secretary of state; and the 2010 Uranium One deal, which involved a Russian energy business acquiring a controlling stake in the Canadian company by that name which, at that time, controlled 20% of U.S. uranium extraction ability, The New York Times reported.
While the attorney general's testimony Tuesday before the House Judiciary Committee was dominated by questions about the probe into Russian meddling in last year's presidential campaign, Democrats also pressed Sessions over the lack of diversity in his department's top ranks.
McCarthy also said he thought it was a mistake, legally and politically, for the Justice Department to publicly suggest that it might appoint a special counsel. Sessions would not say whether the dossier was used by the FBI to obtain warrants to surveil Trump associates, nor would he comment on any hypothetical investigation into Justice Department leaks to the media about the dossier. Republican lawmakers are calling him to probe former FBI Director James Comey's handling of the 2016 election.
He did not, however, rule out that a special counsel could be appointed if the proper standards were met. In a celebrated 1940 address that's still required reading for federal prosecutors today, Attorney General (and later Supreme Court Justice) Robert Jackson identified the Justice Department's ability to "choose [its] defendants" as "the most risky power of the prosecutor: that he will pick people that he thinks he should get, rather than pick cases that need to be prosecuted".More news: Senate committee considers Trump's authority to launch nuclear weapons
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"There are significant concerns that the partisanship of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Department [of Justice] has weakened the ability of each to act objectively". Typically, the Department would issue a subpoena or get a warrant and seize it.
Republicans have questioned the deal, approved during the Obama administration, which gave Russian companies control of about 20 percent of US uranium deposits.
"Why in 2016 did FBI Director Comey begin drafting an exoneration letter for Secretary Clinton, whom he called "grossly negligent" in an early draft of the letter, before completing the investigation?"
Former federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy said he doubted there was any prosecutor appointment or assignment that would lead to Mueller stepping down.
"After another heated exchange, Sessions said, "'Looks like' is not enough basis to appoint a special counsel".