WASHINGTON, DC - Attorney Gen. Jeff Sessions rejected calls from Republican lawmakers to appoint a second special counsel to investigate alleged abuse by the FBI and Department of Justice, according to news reports.
Republicans have accused the agencies of misconduct during surveillance operations on a former Trump campaign official during the investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.
“I take the concerns you raise seriously,” Sessions wrote in a letter to three Congressional committee chairmen Thursday, The New York Times reported. “No institution is perfect,” he said.
Instead, Sessions tapped Utah’s top federal prosecutor, John Huber, to look into the allegations against the FBI and DOJ, and accusations that Hillary Clinton’s alleged involvement with a Russian nuclear energy agency were not fully investigated, CNN reported.
The allegations against the FBI and DOJ center on the how the agencies obtained a warrant to surveil former Trump campaign official Carter Page.
"While we continue to believe that the appointment of a second special counsel is necessary, this is a step in the right direction," House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte of Virginia and House Oversight Chairman Trey Gowdy of South Carolina said in a statement, according to CNN. Goodlatte and Gowdy also said they agreed with the choice of “an individual outside Washington, DC” to handle the investigation.
Sessions said he will rely on Huber’s review to decide if a special counsel is needed.
"I receive regular updates from Mr. Huber and upon the conclusion of his review, will receive his 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."
President Donald Trump has also demanded a second special prosecutor look into the allegations.
Why is A.G. Jeff Sessions asking the Inspector General to investigate potentially massive FISA abuse. Will take forever, has no prosecutorial power and already late with reports on Comey etc. Isn’t the I.G. an Obama guy? Why not use Justice Department lawyers? DISGRACEFUL!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 28, 2018
Huber, a Republican, is the U.S. attorney in Utah and was first appointed in 2015 by then-President Barack Obama, but resigned with other U.S. attorneys when Trump took office. Trump then reappointed him and, as a U.S. attorney, Huber has the power to convene grand juries and bring charges.
U.S. attorneys represent the federal government in court cases across the country.