Pressured by Trump, Sessions breaks vow not to investigate Clinton
During Jeff Sessions’ confirmation hearing in January to become Donald Trump’s attorney general, he stressed that he would never personally oversee any investigation of Hillary Clinton. That’s because during the 2016 campaign, he had been so forcefully (and recklessly) critical of her. Sessions announced that meant he had a conflict of interest and would recuse […]
During Jeff Sessions’ confirmation hearing in January to become Donald Trump’s attorney general, he stressed that he would never personally oversee any investigation of Hillary Clinton. That’s because during the 2016 campaign, he had been so forcefully (and recklessly) critical of her.
Sessions announced that meant he had a conflict of interest and would recuse himself from any possible Clinton investigation.
Sessions has now broken that vow.
“On the orders of Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Justice Department prosecutors have begun asking FBI agents to explain the evidence they found in a now dormant criminal investigation into a controversial uranium deal that critics have linked to Bill and Hillary Clinton,” NBC News reported on Thursday.
The issue at the center of the bogus, already-debunked Clinton gotcha crusade is a seven-year-old transaction in which the Obama administration allowed the sale of U.S. uranium mining facilities to Russia’s state atomic energy company. Clinton was secretary of state at the time, had no direct oversight of the deal, and the State Department was one of nine agencies that agreed to approve the deal.
Republicans have tried to revive the old story by suggesting the Clinton Foundation was used to get approval of the deal.
But there’s no there there. That’s why, when testifying before Congress in November, Sessions seemed to downplay any need for a Uranium One investigation, telling agitating Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee that there wasn’t “any factual basis” for a special counsel.
But since then, Republicans have escalated their at times hysterical campaign to smear and malign the FBI and special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian collusion during the 2016 campaign. Some Republicans have demanded that Mueller be fired or that a second special counsel be appointed to investigate the first one, Mueller.
By publicly indicating he’s personally ordering the FBI to delve further into the Uranium One story, Sessions may be seeking political cover. He may be trying to show angry Republicans that he’s willing to use the Department of Justice to investigate private citizens such as Clinton, who is among Trump’s most visible critic.
Trump himself this year has demanded that Sessions investigate his political foe.
The move could also be a way to distract from Mueller’s investigation, which has already secured two guilty pleas and is reportedly scheduled to continue through all of next year.
By ordering agents to move on Uranium One, Session is also clearly breaking the public and unambiguous promise he made to Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) during his attorney general confirmation hearing.
This isn’t even a close call:
SESSIONS: Mr. Chairman, it was a highly contentious campaign. I, like a lot of people, made comments about the issues in that campaign. With regard to Secretary Clinton and some of the comments I made, I do believe that that could place my objectivity in question. I’ve given that thought. I believe the proper thing for me to do, would be to recuse myself from any questions involving those kinds of investigations that involve Secretary Clinton and that were raised during the campaign or to be otherwise connected to it.
GRASSLEY: OK. I think, that’s — let me emphasize then with a follow up question. To be very clear, you intend to recuse yourself from both the Clinton email investigation and any matters involving the Clinton Foundation, if there are any?
The attorney general, of all people, ought to keep his word when it comes to politically motivated investigations.
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