Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Chuck Grassley said Tuesday that he believed appointing a second special counsel, to investigate issues related to Hillary Clinton, ‘would bring about more independence and credibility.’
‘The reason I asked for special counsel is because the extent to which Mueller was head of the FBI at the time of the Uranium One stuff and he’s special counsel in the Trump-Russia investigation,’ Grassley said on Fox & Friends.
Grassley was echoing comments made by other Republican lawmakers, urging the Justice Department to bring on a special counsel to look into whether donations to the Clinton Foundation swayed a 2010 Obama administration decision to allow a Russian company to buy uranium reserves in the United States.
Because Mueller was head of the FBI at the time, Rep. Jim Jordan, an Ohio Republican, charged that he ‘surely seems a bit compromised,’ for not going after Clinton back then – more articulately wording the argument Grassley made today.
On Monday, Fox News broke the story that Attorney General Jeff Sessions had directed senior federal prosecutors to look into ‘certain issues’ that Congressional Republicans have become interested in, including a Uranium deal Secretary Clinton signed off on and dealings related to the Clinton Foundation.
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley said he wanted to see a special counsel look into Clinton-related matters as he tried tying Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who is overseeing the Trump-Russia probe, to inaction over a 2010 uranium deal
‘What all this is about is political interference within the Justice Department,’ argued Sen. Chuck Grassley (right), appearing alongside Steve Doocy (left) Tuesday on Fox & Friends
Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who is probing Trump-Russia affairs, was formerly the head of the FBI, appointed by Republican George W. Bush. Grassley and other Republicans are suggesting that Mueller is compromised because he didn’t probe Hillary Clinton in 2010
This move opens the door to the appointment of another special counsel, as the Justice Department answered letters written on July 27 and September 26 from House Judiciary Committee Chairman, Rep. Bob Goodlatte, a Virginia Republican, making such a request.
Robert Mueller, the former FBI director, was tapped in May by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to investigate ties between President Trump and Russia after the Kremlin meddled in the 2016 presidential campaign.
While the FBI, under former Director James Comey, investigated Clinton last year, looking into her handling of classified information once it came out that she was using a private server as secretary of state, Grassley agreed with Fox & Friends host Steve Doocy that a number of other things should be examined.
Doocy noted the Uranium deal, pay-for-play at the Clinton Foundation, the unmasking of American citizens on intelligence reports and the dossier, which Clinton’s campaign partially financed, along with leaking information to the media as valid tentacles of where another Clinton-themed investigation could go.
Grassley agreed, ‘It would include all of those.’
GOP lawmakers want a special counsel to look into a 2010 uranium deal, which gave U.S. uranium to Russia, to see if the Obama administration was swayed by donations to the Clinton Foundation while Hillary Clinton (pictured) was secretary of state
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (left) is photographed sitting alongside President Obama (right) in 2009. Republicans are suggesting that Clinton should be investigated for approving a uranium deal in 2010 after related donations flowed to the Clinton Foundation
But then Grassley told the host to look at it from the ‘50,000-foot level.’
‘I said it isn’t about Clinton, it isn’t about Trump and Russia, what all this is about is political interference within the Justice Department whether it’s under Republican presidents or under Democrat presidents,’ Grassley said, telling the Fox News host what he told a Democratic Senate colleague.
‘It’s the responsibility of the Judiciary Committee to investigate it,’ he added, touting the committee he runs.
Grassley then pointed to evidence, he saw, of a politicized Justice Department, including former Attorney General Loretta Lynch’s tarmac meeting with ex-President Bill Clinton, which occurred during the FBI’s investigation into his wife.
The Iowa Republican also pointed to the press conference Comey gave, in July 2016, where the former top FBI official said the FBI wouldn’t recommend charging Clinton, though called her email use ‘extremely careless.’
Grassley said Comey, in that instance, had ‘assum[ed] prosecutorial decision from the attorney general.’
Comey, testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee in May, had explained to lawmakers that he decided to hold such a press conference because Lynch’s tarmac meeting with the former president had called into question the credibility of the Hillary Clinton probe.
Going forward, Grassley said he’d be happy to see a special counsels or Justice Department officials look into the Clinton issues.
‘If it’s going on within the Department of Justice and people that aren’t, that had anything to do with it at that time or weren’t close to the leadership of the Department of Justice or the FBI, if they can carry it on, I’m satisfied with that,’ the Iowa Republican told Fox & Friends.
Attorney General Sessions is testifying before the House Judiciary Committee today and will likely face questions about his decision to point federal prosecutors in Clinton’s direction, as he told Grassley during his confirmation hearing that comments he’s made about the former Democratic presidential nominee ‘could place my objectivity in question.’
‘I believe the proper thing for me to do would be to recuse myself from any questions involving those kinds of investigations that involve Hillary Clinton and that were raised during the campaign or to be otherwise connected to it,’ Sessions told members of the Senate Judiciary Committee in January.
Since then, he’s had a rocky relationship with Trump, who was angered that Sessions recused himself from all things Russia, which put Rosenstein in the position to appoint Mueller.
During a November 2 radio interview, Trump bemoaned the fact that it would be inappropriate for him to order the Justice Department to look into Clinton again.
‘But you know the saddest thing, because I’m the president of the United States, I am not supposed to be involved with the Justice Department. I am not supposed to be involved with the FBI,’ Trump said in an interview with WMAL’s Larry O’Connor.
‘I’m not supposed to be doing the kinds of things I would love to be doing and I’m very frustrated by it,’ the president added.