- The Washington Times - Friday, December 15, 2017

Attorney General Jeff Sessions said the Justice Department is taking concerns about political bias within the FBI seriously and that he generally believes the bureau “is doing a great job around the country.”

The bureau has come under attack in recent days from President Trump, who said the FBI’s reputation is “in tatters,” and Republican lawmakers who have questioned the degree to which alleged anti-Trump bias on the part of a senior official may have crept into recent investigations.

“Our responsibility is to provide the highest possible professional standards of law enforcement we can provide to the American people — that we do so in an effective way and we do so honorably and with integrity,” Mr. Sessions said, speaking at the Justice Department on Friday afternoon.

Asked whether he would consider the appointment of a second special counsel to probe interactions between the private research firm behind the anti-Trump dossier and DOJ officials, Mr. Sessions said the department was “going to take seriously the concerns that have been expressed.”

President Trump’s attorneys this week called for a second special counsel to investigate the connections between the Justice Department and the firm, Fusion GPS, after it was reported that the wife of a demoted Justice Department official once worked for it.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller is currently investigating Russian meddling in the 2016 election and any possible collusion with members of the Trump campaign.

The investigation has come under fire in recent days after text messages were revealed that show two FBI employees, who had served on the special counsel team, exchanging disparaging remarks about Mr. Trump. One of the employees, Peter Strzok, was removed from the investigation after the messages were discovered. The other, Lisa Page, was only temporarily detailed to the team and had left by the time the messages came to light over the summer.

Mr. Sessions highlighted that those messages were turned over to Congress, as were numerous other documents sought by congressional committees as part of their investigations into the Russia matter. He said the department is monitoring employees to ensure they are upholding the department’s standards, but he also cautioned that not all the relevant information in ongoing investigations is made public.

“Sometimes things that appear to be bad in the press have more innocent explanations,” he said. “So fairness and justice should also be provided to our personnel.”

When the department has made a mistake, Mr. Sessions pledged that officials will acknowledge doing so.

“We will not be reluctant to admit error. We will not hide and be excessively defensive,” Mr. Sessions said. “We are going to insist on the highest standards.”

Sign up for Daily Newsletters

Manage Newsletters

Copyright © 2020 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

Please read our comment policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide