WASHINGTON – US Attorney General Jeff Sessions promised Tuesday to quickly decide if former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton should be investigated for controversial donations her foundation received and a 2010 deal with Russia to sell uranium, among other matters.
In a hearing before the House Judiciary Committee, Sessions spoke for the first time about the possibility of naming a special prosecutor to investigate Clinton, something that some Republican legislators and President Donald Trump have called for on numerous occasions.
Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, a Republican, reiterated to Sessions his request that an investigation be opened on assorted issues linked to Clinton and Sessions said that he would fairly and quickly proceed on making a decision on that, assuring the committee that he will make his decision free from any political influence and it will be conducted properly.
Sessions’ comments came within the context of Trump’s threats to fire him and making numerous attacks on him for recusing himself from the Russia probe, thereby allowing it to proceed.
The AG said that he had not been – and would not be – unduly influenced in conducting such an investigation focusing on Clinton, and he added – in response to questions from the Democratic opposition – that he will not help Trump take reprisals against his political enemies, adding “that would be wrong.”
The Department of Justice in May designated a special prosecutor to head the investigation into links between Russia and the Trump presidential campaign, but some GOP lawmakers have been calling for a similar probe to be conducted on Clinton.
During his confirmation hearing for the post of attorney general, Sessions said that he “did not have communications with the Russians” during the campaign, but The Washington Post subsequently reported that he had spoken with Russia’s envoy to the US on two occasions and the Alabama senator then changed his testimony, claiming that he had not discussed “issues of the campaign” with any Russians.
The Washington daily then reported that the Russian ambassador told his Kremlin superiors that he had, in fact, discussed campaign-related issues and policy issues with Sessions, and the AG then shifted his stance once again, saying he engaged in no “improper discussions with Russians at any time regarding a campaign or any other item facing this country,” although he admitted that “some comment was made about what Trump’s positions were.”
Now, it has emerged that Sessions was present at a meeting with one of Trump’s foreign policy advisers, George Papadopoulos, whom special prosecutor Robert Mueller has indicted and who has pleaded guilty to lying to federal authorities about his contacts with Russians linked to the Kremlin.
Former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page recently told the House Intelligence Committee that he had briefly told Sessions of his plans to travel to Moscow on matters unrelated to the campaign, but Sessions has said he had no recollection of hearing that.