Attorney General Jeff Sessions defended his decision not to appoint a second special counsel that will investigate the alleged bias in the Justice Department, adding that the current investigation into Russia’s election meddling has already taken “on a life of its own.”
The House Appropriations panel asked Sessions about the GOP accusations of surveillance abuse. Sessions replied that the Robert Mueller probe is a proof that it is a bad idea to appoint special counsels “willy-nilly.”
“I do not think we need to willy-nilly appoint special counsels,” Sessions said. “As we can see, it can really take on a life of its own.”
According to Reuters, he also said that the Department of Justice (DOJ) needs to “be disciplined and stay within our classical procedure and rules” before starting additional investigations.
His comments came the same day that the Senate Judiciary Committee approved legislation to protect Mueller from being fired by President Donald Trump.
Meanwhile, Republicans for weeks have been requesting the appointment of a second special counsel that will investigate the FBI’s handling of the investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia as well as the investigation into former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s private email server.
Republicans argue that in both investigations there were situations in which FBI agents were biased against Trump while being for Clinton.
Sessions in March stated that he is not going to approve the appointment of a second special counsel, but instead named a federal prosecutor from Utah, John Huber, to lead the investigation into Republicans’ allegations that the FBI and DOJ abused a surveillance program against a former Trump campaign aide.
Republican Representatives Trey Gowdy and Bob Goodlatte praise Sessions’ move; however, they repeated their call for a second special counsel that will investigate the supposed misconduct.
“While we continue to believe the appointment of a second Special Counsel is necessary, this is a step in the right direction. We expect that U.S. Attorney Huber, given his reputation, will conduct an independent and thorough investigation,” the two chairmen said in a statement last month.
“Such an investigation is critical to restoring the reputation of both the Bureau and DOJ in the eyes of the American people,” they added.