In a response to members of Congress, Attorney General Jeff Sessions has directed senior federal prosecutors to evaluate "certain issues" involving Hillary Clinton’s tenure as Barack Obama’s secretary of state. The missive to House Judicary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) leaves the door open to the appointing of a special counsel in the matter of the Obama administration’s approval of Uranium One and allegations of illegal transactions involving the Clinton Foundation.
The Department of Justice responded to requests sent on July 27 and September 26 from Goodlatte, and other committee members, which called for the appointment of a special counsel. Attorney General Sessions will testify before the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, and it is expected that he will face sharp questioning from both Democrats and Republicans. Republican congressman are expected to ask Sessions why he has apparentlly not investigated former FBI Director James Comey, nor Uranium One or the other issues involving Hillary Clinton.
Uranium One is a Canadian uranium mining company with operations in various countries, including the United States. In January 2013 Rosatom, the Russian state-owned uranium monopoly, purchased the company at a value of $1.3 billion. The State Department, with input from Robert Mueller approved the sale after determining that now strategic risks were posed to uranium interests the company has in the United States. As of October 2017, the sale has been under investigation by the United States House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. Also at issue is Clinton's use of a non-secure email server during her tenure as secretary of state and whether she leaked classified information.
The letter from Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd read: “The Attorney General has directed senior federal prosecutors to evaluate certain issues raised in your letters.” Boyd went on to say, “These senior prosecutors will report directly to the Attorney General and the Deputy Attorney General [Rod Rosenstein], 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.”
Also, because DOJ does not usually confirm or deny investigations, Boyd wrote that “this letter should not be construed to do so.” The letter specified that some of the issues raised in the letters from Goodlatte and others are being addressed by the Inspector General of the Justice Department. It mentioned the allegations over the FBI probe into Clinton’s emails and that the DOJ and FBI did not follow their “policies or procedures” in “connection with, or in actions leading up to or related to” then-FBI Director James Comey’s public announcement to close the Clinton email “matter” in July 2016. Boyd also wrote that Comey’s letter to Congress of October 28, 2016, about newly discovered Clinton emails revealed “investigative decisions were based on improper considerations.”
Boyd’s letter stated that the congressmen’s letters were forwarded to the DOJ Inspector General to determine whether he will “expand the scope of his investigation” Boyd wrote: “Once the IG’s review is complete, the Department will assess what, if any, additional steps are necessary to address any issues identified by that review.”
Sessions told the Senate Judiciary Committee in January that, because of certain comments he had made about Hillary Clinton, his objectivity could be questioned. He thus recused himself from any questions involving investigations into Clinton’s activities. Former FBI Director Robert Mueller has been serving as special counsel since May to investigation alleged collusion by Donald Trump’s campaign advisors with Russian officials.
On September 26, Goodlatte and the other Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee wrote to Attorney General Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein, saying in part:
"Out of bounds"
"We write to renew this Committee’s recent call for a second special counsel, to investigate matters which may be outside the scope of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation. Such a step is even more critical given the recent revelation that former FBI Director James Comey had prepared a statement ending the investigation into former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, before interviewing at least 17 key witnesses, including the former Secretary herself. At least one former career FBI supervisor has characterized this action as “so far out of bounds it’s not even in the stadium,” and “clearly communicating to [FBI executive staff] where the investigation was going to go.”
Among the signators of the letter were Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) and Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) wrote an op-ed at Fox News demanding that Sessions resign should he not name a special counsel to examine issues relating to Hillary Clinton and her failed presidential campaign.