Attorney General Jeff Sessions told Fox News Host Shannon Bream that he "will consider" naming a second special counsel to investigate the conduct of the FBI and Justice department during the 2016 election.
On Tuesday, House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) and Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) wrote a letter to Sessions demanding the appointment of a second Special Counsel.
“Matters have arisen—both recently and otherwise—which necessitate the appointment of a Special Counsel. We do not make this observation and attendant request lightly,” wrote the Congressmen.
“What changed for me was the knowledge that there are two dozen witnesses that Michael Horowitz, the [DOJ] Inspector General, would not have access to,” Gowdy said. “When I counted up 24 witnesses that he would not be able to access were he to investigate it, yeah only one conclusion, that’s special counsel.” -Fox News
Instead of a second Special Counsel, Sessions says he's appointed "a person outside of Washington" to look into the allegations.
“Well, I have great respect for Mr. Gowdy and Chairman Goodlatte, and we are going to consider seriously their recommendations,” Sessions told Bream in a Wednesday night interview. “I have appointed a person outside of Washington — many years at the Department of Justice — to look at all of the allegations that the House Judiciary Committee members sent to us and we are conducting that investigation.”
Sessions also noted that he is "well aware that we have a responsibility to ensure the integrity of the FISA process."
“We are not afraid to look at that,” the AG explained. “The inspector general, something that our inspector general is not very strong, but he has almost 500 employees, most of which are lawyers and prosecutors, and they are looking at the FISA process.... ...We must make sure it is done properly, and we are going to do that, and I will consider the request.”
Trump Has Already Approved
As we reported on Monday, Deputy Press Secretary Raj Shah said that President Trump's attorneys have already approved the idea of appointing a second special counsel to investigate the FBI and Justice Department's actions during the 2016 presidential campaign, according to White House pool reports.
The excerpt from the pool in question:
*FISA warrant should it be released? and what about a second special counsel?*
Presidents attorneys have addressed this and said yes to a second special counsel.
FISA: That document along with any other that the House Intelligence Committee chooses to vote out of its committee through its process and all the House procedures, we would entertain like anything else.
President Trump was critical of Sessions refusal to appoint a second special counsel, tweeting "Why is A.G. Jeff Sessions asking the Inspector General to investigate potentially massive FISA abuse," adding "Will take forever, has no prosecutorial power and already late with reports on [former FBI Director James] Comey etc. Isn’t the I.G. an Obama guy? Why not use Justice Department lawyers? DISGRACEFUL!"
Sessions released a statement shortly afterwards defending what he considers an "appropriate process," and that he will continue to do his job with "integrity and honor."
AG SESSIONS STATEMENT: “We have initiated the appropriate process that will ensure complaints against this Department will be fully and fairly acted upon if necessary...." (1/2) https://t.co/MXsl6QF0r3— Adam Levine (@cnnadam) February 28, 2018
AG SESSIONS STATEMENT CT'D: "As long as I am the Attorney General, I will continue to discharge my duties with integrity and honor, and this Department will continue to do its work in a fair and impartial manner according to the law and Constitution. “ (2/2) https://t.co/MXsl6QF0r3— Adam Levine (@cnnadam) February 28, 2018