Attorney General Jeff Sessions told conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt Thursday that he would consider appointing an outside counsel to look into actions taken by the Department of Justice during the Obama years.
Hewitt asked Sessions if he would be open to appointing an outside counsel to review the DOJ’s actions regarding the IRS case, the Fast and Furious case, and Secretary Clinton’s server.
The Department just “had a bad eight years,” Hewitt said. “How about an outside counsel, not connected to politics, to review the DOJ’s actions in those matters with authority to bring charges if underlying crimes are uncovered in the course of the investigation, and just generally to look at how the Department of Justice operated in the highly-politicized Holder-Lynch years?”
Sessions committed to nothing, but didn’t dismiss the idea out of hand, either.
“Well, I’m going to do everything I possibly can to restore the independence and professionalism of the Department of Justice,” he said. “So we would have to consider whether or not some outside special counselor is needed. Generally, a good review of that internally is the first step before any such decision is made.”
Hewitt pressed Sessions on the IRS targeting scandal in particular.
“Will you be looking at the IRS investigation specifically?” he asked. “Because that left many of us thinking that the Department of Justice had laid down for a terrible abuse of political power.”
Sessions agreed, saying “that circumstance raised a lot of questions in my mind when I was in the Senate. So it is a matter of real concern to me.”
During the campaign, then-candidate Donald Trump repeatedly threatened to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate Clinton’s scandals, but since the election he has been less resolute, disappointing the “lock her up!” crowd.
Hewitt was asked by MSNBC’s Steve Kornacki later in the day if he thought Sessions was being serious when he said he would consider a special counsel to investigate Obama Justice Department corruption.
“I think it’s something he’s seriously considering, Steve, based upon the next question in the sequence,” Hewitt answered. “I said let’s drill down on the IRS — which is the one that gave me the most heartburn — the Lois Lerner document destruction, the absolute fumble of the investigation…”
Hewitt pointed out that Sessions “was on record in the Senate of having been quite upset about that, and he is a longtime DOJ person.”
Hewitt noted that during his interview with Sessions he had “ticked off all of the occasions where Republicans had asked for special prosecutors during the Obama/Holder/Loretta Lynch years and not once was one named.”
“I didn’t even bring up that Attorney General Holder was held in contempt of Congress,” he continued. “There is an opportunity here for President Trump and Attorney General Sessions to find a non-political person to find out happened between 2009 through 2016 at DOJ and see if any political influences came to bear.”
Hewitt added, “I think the attorney general opened the door today, and I’m glad and I think Democrats should think about that.”
To be honest, I’ve been thinking about it since the election.
.@BarackObama Say…the DOJ is going to be in Republican hands pretty soon. Bet that makes you uncomfortable, huh?
— Debra Heine (@NiceDeb) November 9, 2016