Sessions: 'Looks Like' Is Not Enough Basis to Appoint a Special Counsel

Susan Jones | November 14, 2017 | 12:19pm EST
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Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) wants Attorney General Jeff Sessions to appoint a second special counsel to investigate Hillary Clinton and James Comey and the Russian dossier. (Photo: Screen grab/C-SPAN)

( - In a fiery exchange on Tuesday, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) asked Attorney General Jeff Sessions, "What's it going to take to actually get a special counsel" to investigate the Trump dossier, the unmasking of American citizens, and James Comey's exoneration of Hillary Clinton, among other concerns.

“It would take a factual basis that meets the standards of the appointment of a special counsel,” Sessions said.

“Is that analysis going on right now?” Jordan asked.

“Well, it's in the manual of the Department of Justice about what's required,” Sessions said, pointing to two previous cases where special counsels were appointed by the attorney general.


Sessions noted that former Sen. John Danforth led an investigation into the federal raid on the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas; and Robert Mueller is now leading an investigation into the alleged Trump-Russia connection.

“Each of those are pretty special factual situations, and we will use the proper standards, and that's the only thing I can tell you, Mr. Jordan,” Sessions said. “You can have your ideas, but sometimes we have to study what the facts are and to evaluate whether it meets the standard required to have a special counsel.”

“We know one fact,” Jordan shot back. “We know the Clinton campaign, the Democrat National Committee, paid for, through the law firm, paid for the dossier. We know that happened.

"And it sure looks like the FBI was paying the author of that document, and it sure looks like a major political party was working with the federal government to then turn an opposition research document...into an intelligence document, take that to the FISA court so that they could then get a warrant to spy on Americans associated with President Trump's campaign. That's what it looks like!”  Jordan said.

“And I’m asking you...doesn't that warrant, in addition to all the things we know about James Comey in 2016 -- doesn't that warrant  naming a second special counsel, as 20 members of this committee wrote you three-and-a-half months ago asking you to do?”

“Well, Mr. Comey is no longer the director of the FBI," Sessions responded. "We have an excellent man of integrity and ability in Chris Wray, and I think he's going to do an outstanding job—"

"He's not here today, Mr. Attorney General,” Jordan cut in. “You are. And I'm asking for a special counsel!”

"And I would say, 'looks like' is not enough basis to appoint a special counsel," Sessions said, as Jordan’s five minutes ended.

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