Federal prosecutor in Utah leading DOJ review of GOP concerns
Chris Kleponis/Getty Images(SALT LAKE CITY) — “I take the concerns you raise seriously,” Sessions wrote in the letter, addressed to the Republican chairmen of the Senate and House judiciary committees, and the chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. “It is important that Congress and the American people have confidence in the Department of Justice.”
Thursday’s letter comes in response to a series of letters recently sent to Sessions and the Justice Department, calling for a second special counsel to look into, among other things, whether the department under the Obama administration appropriately investigated the sale of the Uranium One company, the Clinton Foundation, and Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server as secretary of state.
In November, Sessions told lawmakers he had “directed senior federal prosecutors to evaluate certain issues,” including whether the Justice Department or another special counsel should investigate allegations related to the concerns being raised by Republicans.
In the new letter, Sessions names an attorney to investigate further but does not appoint a second special counsel to lead the inquiry.
The president, several top Republicans, and Fox’s Judge Jeanine have voiced strong support for appointing a second special counsel.
“These senior prosecutors will report directly to the Attorney General and the Deputy Attorney General, as appropriate, and will make recommendations as to whether any matters not currently under investigation should be opened, whether any matters currently under investigation require further resources, or whether any matters merit the appointment of a Special Counsel,” Sessions said at the time. “We will conduct this evaluation according to the highest standards of justice.”
In his letter on Thursday, Sessions noted that he specifically asked the U.S. Attorney for the District of Utah, John Huber, “to lead this effort.”
“Mr. Huber is conducting his work from outside the Washington, D.C. area and in cooperating with the Inspector General,” Sessions said. “I am confident that Mr. Huber’s review will include a full, complete, and objective evaluation of these matters in a manner that is consistent with the law and the facts.”
Sessions said he is receiving “regular updates” from Huber and expects Huber to provide recommendations as to whether any new investigations should be opened.
Sessions called Huber “an experienced federal prosecutor who was twice confirmed unanimously by the Senate” as U.S. attorney, in 2015 and 2017.”
“He has personally prosecuted a number of high-profile cases and coordinated task forces focused against violent crime and terrorism,” Sessions wrote.
For months, the Justice Department has been under pressure from President Donald Trump and other Republicans to investigate the Clinton Foundation and the sale of Uranium One, a Canadian-based company that had most of its ownership rights sold to a Russian agency. The sale was approved in 2010 under the Obama administration.
The U.S. government had to approve the deal because Uranium One produced significant amounts of uranium in the United States.
The State Department, which at the time was led by Hillary Clinton, was one of several federal agencies that had to weigh in on the matter.
Ultimately, the sale was approved.
Republicans have raised questions because around the same time, business associates of Uranium One donated millions of dollars to the Clinton Foundation.
The Uranium One’s predecessor company, UrAsia, also based in Canada, gave millions to the Clinton Foundation before Hillary Clinton became secretary of state. Frank Giustra, a Canadian mining financier who at the time owned UrAsia, gave $31.3 million to the Clinton Foundation in 2006.
The next year, UrAsia merged with a South African mining company and became Uranium One.
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