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Sessions defends DOJ, says Trump isn't influencing investigations

15 November 2017

That's because the Justice Department is supposed to be independent of politics.

Sessions noted that there have only ever been two special counsels: one for the Waco siege in April 1993, and Robert Mueller's probe into possible collusion between Russian Federation and the Trump campaign. "The proliferation of special counsels in a political setting is very, very bad".

"You can be sure that they will be done without political influence and they will be done correctly and properly", he said.

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Former federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy likewise told the Post he doesn't see "any good reason for the Justice Department, in a situation where it's not the administration investigating itself, to appoint a special counsel". Sessions is at the hearing to answer questions about his leadership of the Department of Justice and his interactions with Russians while a top adviser in the Trump campaign.

He did not, however, rule out that a special counsel could be appointed if the proper standards were met.

"It would take a factual basis that meets the standards of the appointment of a special counsel", Sessions responded after Jordan read off a list of reasons why he believed an appointment was necessary.

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Peter Zeidenberg, who once served as deputy special counsel in the investigation of former White House aide Lewis "Scooter" Libby, said "the best-case scenario" is that the attorney general is trying simply to mollify an angry president and doesn't really plan to name a special counsel.

The first year of the Trump administration has been a turbulent one for the Justice Department. Sessions would not say whether the dossier was used by the FBI to obtain warrants to surveil Trump associates, nor would he comment on any hypothetical investigation into Justice Department leaks to the media about the dossier.

Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.), the ranking Democrat on the committee, asked Sessions a series of questions early in the hearing about the DOJ's role and if it was proper for it to be influenced by Trump, citing a number of tweets where the president called on the Justice Department to take action against Clinton.

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Now, a Justice Department letter dated November 13 says Sessions directed federal prosecutors to "evaluate certain issues" from the list of concerns and figure out if they warrant additional resources or a special counsel. "But my concern is we sent you a letter three and a half months ago asking for a second special counsel".

Sessions defends DOJ, says Trump isn't influencing investigations