Attorney General Jeff Sessions disclosed that he had tapped a longtime federal prosecutor to investigate FBI decisions in 2016, saying a new special counsel was not yet needed to look into Republican criticism about the bureau’s handling of investigations into Hillary Clinton and the Trump campaign, reports Politico. In a letter to congressional Republicans, Sessions said that in November, he named U.S. Attorney John Huber of Utah to partner with the Justice Department’s inspector general. The move adds legal muscle to an investigation being run by Inspector General Michael Horowitz, who is nearing the release of an extensive report on the FBI’s handling of its investigation into Clinton’s use of a private email server as secretary of state.
Sessions’ move won’t placate the faction of House Republicans that wants a new special counsel. “Mr. Sessions, what’s it going to take?” said Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH). “I’m hopeful this is just one last step Jeff Sessions wants to take before he realizes the obvious, which is there needs to be a second special counsel.” Jordan, vice chairman of the House Freedom Caucus, said Sessions’ explanation for why he opted against an immediate appointment of another special counsel rang hollow. Sessions’ letter responded to a push by the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), for a special counsel to examine the FBI’s handling of its 2016 decision-making.