Current and former Justice Department officials are alarmed by Attorney General Jeff Sessions’s public suggestion that he may appoint a special counsel to investigate Hillary Clinton. “To have the winning side exploring the possibility of prosecuting the losing side in an election — it’s un-American, and it’s grotesque,” said John Danforth, a former DOJ special counsel.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions’s public suggestion that he may appoint a special counsel to investigate Hillary Clinton has alarmed current and former Justice Department officials who fear he will further politicize the embattled agency, says the Washington Post. Sessions said at a congressional hearing Tuesday that he will weigh recommendations from senior prosecutors on whether to appoint a special counsel over a 2010 uranium company deal and other issues, including donations to the Clinton Foundation. Such an appointment could give President Trump and Republicans a political counterweight to the ongoing work of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, who is probing whether any Trump associates coordinated with the Russian government to interfere in last year’s presidential election.
For that reason, Sessions’s suggestion has raised fresh questions about the independence of the Justice Department in the Trump administration. “To have the winning side exploring the possibility of prosecuting the losing side in an election — it’s un-American, and it’s grotesque,” said John Danforth, a former special counsel who investigated the FBI’s role in a violent standoff with a cult in Waco, Tex. “The proliferation of special counsels in a political setting is very, very bad.” Peter R. Zeidenberg, who once served as deputy special counsel in the probe of former White House aide Lewis “Scooter’’ Libby, said “the best-case scenario” is that the attorney general is trying simply to mollify an angry president and doesn’t really plan to name a special counsel. If one is appointed to probe Clinton matters, “I think the vast majority of people at DOJ would be completely disgusted and demoralized by it,’’ said Zeidenberg. “They don’t like feeling that they are political tools to be used by the president.’’