Washington, D.C. — Following a letter sent by House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) and House Oversight Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-SC) demanding the appointment of a second special counsel to investigate alleged FISA abuse by the FBI and DOJ, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, during an interview on Fox News on Wednesday night, said that he “will consider” the request, curiously stating that he’s appointed “a person outside Washington” to investigate the allegations of impropriety.
Gowdy and Goodlatte submitted a letter to AG Sessions on Tuesday demanding the appointment of a second Special Counsel, noting, “Matters have arisen—both recently and otherwise—which necessitate the appointment of a Special Counsel. We do not make this observation and attendant request lightly,” wrote the Congressional chairmen.
“There is evidence of bias, trending toward animus, among those charged with investigating serious cases,” Gowdy and Goodlatte wrote. “There is evidence political opposition research was used in court filings. There is evidence this political opposition research was neither vetted before it was used nor fully revealed to the relevant tribunal.”
During the interview on Fox, Sessions stated:
“Well, I have great respect for Mr. Gowdy and Chairman Goodlatte, and we are going to consider seriously their recommendations. I have appointed a person outside of Washington — many years at the Department of Justice — to look at all of the allegations that the House Judiciary Committee members sent to us and we are conducting that investigation.”
Sessions went on to say the he is “well aware that we have a responsibility to ensure the integrity of the FISA process.”
“We are not afraid to look at that,” Sessions reasoned. “The inspector general, some think that our inspector general is not very strong, but he has almost 500 employees, most of which are lawyers and prosecutors, and they are looking at the FISA process….We must make sure it is done properly, and we are going to do that, and I will consider the request.”
— Fox News (@FoxNews) March 8, 2018
Contrary to the assertions by Sessions regarding the strength of the Office of Inspector General (OIG), Gowdy and Goodlatte’s letter pointed out the inadequacy of using the OIG in this circumstance, noting, “While we have confidence in the Inspector General for the Department of Justice, the DOJ IG does not have the authority to investigate other governmental entities or former employees of the Department, the Bureau, or other agencies.”
In an interview with Fox News, Gowdy explained why he felt an OIG investigation is inadequate in these circumstances.
“What changed for me was the knowledge that there are two dozen witnesses that Michael Horowitz, the [DOJ] Inspector General, would not have access to,” Gowdy said. “When I counted up 24 witnesses that he would not be able to access were he to investigate it, yeah only one conclusion, that’s special counsel.”
Sessions’ nebulous statement regarding having “appointed someone outside of Washington” raises questions as to whom he is referring and what they have been tasked with doing, but according to Fox Host Shannon Bream the AG’s office has confirmed Sessions was referring to a separate “senior federal prosecutor” outside Washington, D.C.
AG’s office confirms this is NOT the IG, but a separate “senior federal prosecutor” outside DC. https://t.co/x7OFhZB30s
— Shannon Bream (@ShannonBream) March 8, 2018