During his confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), President-elect Trump’s nomination for attorney general, pledged to recuse himself from any investigation involving Hillary Clinton.
In response to a question from Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA) regarding his comments about the email and Clinton Foundation scandals during the presidential campaign, Sessions agreed that some of his past comments would place his objectivity in question.
The proper thing for me to do would be to recuse myself in anything involving Secretary Clinton that were raised in the campaign.
Grassley asked Sessions a follow-up question to clarify the matter, because of the precedent set by Attorney General Loretta Lynch:
When you say recuse, do you mean that you’ll actually recuse and the decision will, I assume, fall on a deputy attorney general? I ask because after Attorney General Lynch met with President Clinton in Phoenix, she said that she would — quote, unquote — defer to the FBI, but she never officially recused.
No, she did not officially recuse and there is a procedure for that I would follow. We can never have a political dispute turning to a criminal dispute.
Sessions may well find himself needing to recuse himself: an FBI investigation into the Clinton Foundation is said to be ongoing. Citing an unnamed former official in December, the Daily Caller reported that officials at FBI headquarters ordered New York field agents “to continue” with its probe focusing on corruption and money laundering:
“There were no instructions to shut it down, to discontinue or to stand down on the investigation, but to continue its work,” the former official told the Daily Caller News Foundation in an interview.
Additionally, the chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee yesterday vowed to continue the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s private email server. Via CBS News:
“Just because there was a political election doesn’t mean it goes away, so of course I am going to continue to pursue that,” Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, told reporters.
Chaffetz called finishing the investigation into Clinton one of his top priorities for the committee and noted the State Department has been “terribly slow and inefficient” in turning over documents forcing this to be dragged out.
“It was potentially one of the largest breaches in security in the history of the State Department. It cannot and should not be repeated ever again,” he said. “There are still open questions that we need to finish up so they won’t happen again.”