WASHINGTON, (CBS, ABC) - U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions says there is no factual basis to appoint special counsel to investigate Hillary Clinton and the Clinton Foundation, despite calls from some Republicans.
Sessions testified before the House Judiciary Committee Tuesday morning on a number of topics both related to and not related to the 2016 presidential election and its candidates. His exchanges with representatives got heated several times.
At one point, Rep. Jim Jordan, a Republican from Ohio, emphatically asked Sessions why a special prosecutor hasn't been appointed to investigate Clinton after the emergence of an unconfirmed report, citing a lawsuit, that the Clinton campaign and the DNC paid for information about Donald Trump which was released in a controversial dossier in January 2017.
Sessions answered by saying the rule of law requires a "factual basis" and "the proper standards" first, saying the Dept. of Justice studies facts when making such determinations. "You can have your idea but sometimes we have to study what the facts are and to evaluate whether it… meets the standard required for a special counsel."
Rep. Jordon raised his voice and indicated that many of his Republican colleagues wanted a special prosecutor appointed because, to them, it looks like someone in the Clinton campaign engaged in questionable activity.
But Sessions held his ground, adding, "I would say 'looks like' is not enough basis to appoint a special counsel."
Obama-era uranium deal
Sessions' testimony comes just hours after he suggested a second special counsel was needed in order to look into Clinton Foundation dealings and an Obama-era uranium deal, responding to concerns from Republican lawmakers.
"The Department's Inspector General has an active review of allegations that FBI policies and procedures were not followed last year in a number of these matters you have raised. And we will make such decisions without regard to politics, ideology, or bias," said Sessions, alluding to a possible investigation to look into Clinton Foundation dealings and an Obama-era uranium deal.
Asked by Chairman Goodlatte about conducting an investigation into the mishandling of classified information by Hillary Clinton after former FBI Director James Comey said he would not pursue charges, Sessions said an investigation would "be done without political influence and be done correctly and properly."
Trump's promise to "Lock her up"
Rep. Luis Gutierrez asked Sessions if he felt an obligation to fulfill Mr. Trump's campaign promise to "lock Hillary up" Sessions would only say that he would comply with any new special counsel investigations and that he would fulfill his duty as attorney general.
"The president makes decisions, and if it's lawful, we defend it," Sessions added.
When earlier asked if it is common for the leader of the country to order criminal justice system to retaliate against his political opponents, Sessions replied, "I would say the DOJ can never be used to retaliate politically against opponents and that would be wrong." He added, "The answer stands for itself I guess."
Sessions has indicted on more than one occasion, that he would recuse himself from any matter involving Clinton and again did so Tuesday.