Attorney General Jeff Sessions may not have officially appointed a special counsel to investigate if the FBI abused the federal Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act [FISA] program, but he has hired someone internally to look into the issue.
Sessions has tasked the Utah U.S. Attorney John Huber to investigate the alleged FBI misconduct.
“John W. Huber, the U.S. attorney in Utah, can convene a grand jury, issue subpoenas, collect evidence and order witnesses to testify — all the usual powers a federal prosecutor has — as he delves into whether the FBI abused its powers when it sought permission and then carried out wiretapping of a Trump campaign figure, or whether it trod too lightly in pursuing questions about Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton,” writes The Washington Times.
Several lawmakers have demanded that the FBI’s actions during the 2016 campaign showed bias and needs to be further investigated.
Judiciary Committee Bob Goodlatte was one of the lawmakers that asked for a special counsel to look into the misconduct of the FBI.
“We don’t know for sure and that, coupled with the fact that we really think this should be an investigation outside of the Department of Justice altogether, is why we continue to call for a special counsel,” said Goodlatte on Fox News’ “Cavuto Live” show on Saturday. “We’re very hopeful that he, working with the inspector general, will make substantial progress in this area,” said Goodlatte. “So we’re reserving judgment on his work. But, again, we think that ultimately a special prosecutor would be needed and would be best.”
Although this is a step in the right direction according to Goodlatte, he also points out he is concerned about Huber being part of the Department of Justice, instead of it being an outside researcher conducting the investigation.
“What he can’t do is what you mentioned and that is he can’t be outside of the Department of Justice,” said Goodlatte. “He is a presidential appointee, confirmed by the United States Senate. In fact, appointed first by President [Barack] Obama and then reappointed by President [Donald] Trump. So, he has that form of independence, but he still is a part of the Department of Justice and that, I think, is a difficulty unless he steps up and shows us that he’s willing to take on anybody here, including former senior employees of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.”
He argues that the recent material provided by the FBI has been so redacted and that they need to be removed “so we can find out the extent of what was going on in 2016 when the FBI in an astonishing manner conducted one investigation with regard to one presidential candidate, and bent over backwards not to prosecute her, and then launched another investigation where they definitely were leaning into it with insurance policies and secret plans.”
Sessions said right now there is no need for the appointment of a second special counsel and that he is confident in Huber’s research that apparently has already been underway.
“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 facts,” wrote Sessions. “I receive regular updates from Mr. Huber and upon the conclusion of his review, will receive his 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.”
“He will have the full authority of a federal prosecutor,” said Richard Painter, former chief ethics attorney under President George W. Bush. “If he looks at this and finds someone in the DOJ lied to a government official, he would be able to convene a grand jury, compel testimony and even prosecute them.”
Huber also has bipartisan support and many have said he is fair, ethical, and known for always doing the right thing.
Author’s note: This is progress. Let’s hope Huber gets to the bottom of this. Could this expose a scandal about Obama or Clinton?
Editor’s note: While this is not quite as good as a special counsel, it may serve the purpose. And of course, it gives Sessions a lot more control.