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Attorney General Jeff Sessions directed senior federal prosecutors to evaluate “certain issues” requested by congressional Republicans, involving the sale of Uranium One and alleged unlawful dealings related to the Clinton Foundation, leaving the door open for an appointment of another special counsel.
In a letter first obtained by Fox News, the Justice Department responded to July 27 and September 26 requests from House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., and other committee members, who called for the appointment of a special counsel to investigate the matters in question.
The letter comes on the eve of Sessions’ testimony before the same committee, scheduled for Tuesday.
“The Attorney General has directed senior federal prosecutors to evaluate certain issues raised in your letters,” Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd wrote.
“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,” Boyd wrote.
The Justice Department does not ordinarily confirm or deny investigations, and Boyd wrote that “this letter should not be construed to do so.”
The Justice Department’s letter specifically said that some of the topics requested by Goodlatte and other committee members were already being investigated by the department’s Inspector General’s office.
The letter specifically mentioned allegations related to the FBI’s handling of the Clinton email probe, including allegations that DOJ and FBI “policies or procedures” were “not followed 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” on July 5, 2016, or the letter he sent lawmakers on October 28, 2016, about newly discovered Clinton emails, and that those “investigative decisions were based on improper considerations.”
“The Department has forwarded a copy of your letters to the IG so he can determine whether he should expand the scope of his investigation based on the information contained in those letters,” 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.”
While the Justice Department did not confirm or deny an ongoing investigation into Clinton matters, administration officials pointed Fox News to the attorney general’s testimony at his confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee in January, raising questions over whether he would recuse himself from this investigation.
“With regard to Secretary Clinton and some of the comments I made, I do believe that that could place my objectivity in question,” Sessions said in response to committee Chairman Chuck Grassley’s, R-Iowa, asking whether he could approach a Clinton investigation “impartially.” Sessions added at the time, “I believe the proper thing for me to do would be to recuse myself from any questions involving those kind of investigations that involve Secretary Clinton and that were raised during the campaign or to be otherwise connected to it.”
Former FBI Director Robert Mueller was appointed in May as a special counsel to investigate accusations of collusion between Russia and officials close to President Trump.