Attorney General Jeff Sessions said he would consider having outside counsel review actions taken by the Justice Department under the Obama administration — including an examination of charges that the IRS was engaging in politically-motivated investigations, and a probe of the department’s handling of an investigation into former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server.
In an interview Thursday with conservative radio show host Hugh Hewitt, the attorney general was asked whether he might investigate how the Justice Department was run under his predecessors, Attorneys General Loretta Lynch and Eric Holder.
“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?” Mr. Hewitt asked in the interview, according to transcripts.
“Well, I’m going to do everything I possibly can to restore the independence and professionalism of the Department of Justice,” Mr. Sessions said. “So we would have to consider whether or not some outside special counsel is needed. Generally, a good review of that internally is the first step before any such decision is made.”
The openness to handing an investigation of the prior administration over to an outsider is in contrast to Trump administration officials views on any probe of their own administration.
Mr. Sessions last week resisted calls to appoint a special prosecutor to handle any investigation into ties between the Russian government and President Trump’s administration. Rather he announced that he would be recusing himself from any such investigation into the 2016 presidential campaigns. As a result, the responsibility would fall to his deputy attorney general.