Addressing calls by conservative Republicans in the Congress for the appointment of a special counsel to probe Hillary Clinton over the sale of a company during the Obama Administration with American uranium reserves, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions told lawmakers on Tuesday that there would need to be facts to support such a high profile investigation, giving no indication that such a probe has been authorized by the Justice Department.
"What's it going to take to actually get a special counsel?" asked Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), who repeatedly pressed Sessions on the need for a probe to look at the Uranium One matter, the Clinton Foundation and more.
"It would take a factual basis," the Attorney General replied, in an extended back and forth with the Ohio Republican.
"The only thing I can tell you Mr. Jordan, you can have your idea, but sometimes we have to study what the facts are."
The call by Jordan and other conservative GOP lawmakers for a full review of the Uranium One story has been supported publicly by President Donald Trump, as some Republicans argue there is more than enough evidence to support a broader investigation.
But in his testimony before the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, Sessions seemed to indicate otherwise.
"I would say, 'looks like' is not enough basis to appoint a special counsel," the Attorney General said, weighing in more directly than before on an issue that has drawn repeated public interest from President Donald Trump, who has often argued that Clinton's ties to Russia need more investigation than questions of Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. elections, and any ties to the Trump campaign.
Sessions was asked about the same issue four weeks ago during an appearance before the Senate Judiciary Committee; that time, he gave more of an extended 'no comment' response on whether there was even an ongoing investigation of the Uranium One matter.
"The Department of Justice will take such actions as appropriate," Sessions said, as he seemed to take pains to say his answer should be taken "without confirming or denying the existence of any such investigation."
Today was much different.
Republicans in October announced that a pair of committees in the House would investigate the issue, hoping to hear from an FBI informant who reportedly brought information of possible wrongdoing to the feds during the Obama Administration's decision-making on whether to allow the sale of a company with U.S. uranium reserves to a Russian government business.
"The American people deserve answers," Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) said at the time.
No schedule has been given for any hearings into the case.