CELEBRATING 20 YEARS OF EXCELLENCE: Countdown: Top stories of 2018
by WorldTribune Staff, August 24, 2018
FBI agents are privately voicing frustration that the agency and the Department of Justice have focused almost exclusively on investigations of Trump-Russia collusion while allowing probes on other major issues to die, including Hillary Clinton’s ties to the sale of U.S. uranium rights to a Russian-controlled company.
“It seems that there is a pattern of investigations dying on the vine that is occurring for no other explainable reason but that senior executives both in the FBI and DOJ are choosing to allow them to die or forcing them to die,” a former senior FBI official said, according to an Aug. 23 report by investigative journalist Sara Carter.
“The people actually doing the investigating – the junior agents – aren’t the ones who can make the decisions to allow the case to die. It can only be done at the very senior levels at the FBI. AKA: the seventh floor.”
Attorney General Jeff Sessions earlier this year tasked U.S. Attorney for Utah John Huber, an Obama holdover, with investigating whether the FBI abused its authority in surveilling a former aide to the Trump campaign and whether federal officials should have probed deeper into allegations of Clinton’s ties to the sale of U.S. uranium rights to Russia.
In a July 27, 2017 letter, GOP leaders had called on Sessions to “appoint a second special counsel to investigate a plethora of matters connected to the 2016 election and its aftermath.” These included actions by Clinton, James Comey, Loretta Lynch and others, email controversies, mishandling of classified information, Fusion GPS and the Christopher Steele dossier, FISA warrants, wire taps, leaks, grand juries, the Clinton Foundation and the Uranium One deal.
Sessions instead appointed Huber who, the attorney general said, “will make recommendations as to whether any matters not currently under investigation should be opened, whether any matters currently under investigation require further resources, or whether any matters merit the appointment of a special counsel.”
“Huber is investigating the investigations, not the underlying allegations,” government watchdog group Judicial Watch said.
Huber was appointed Assistant U.S. Attorney in Utah in 2002. He was named U.S. Attorney in 2015 by President Barack Obama.
“Huber has an important backer in Utah’s senior senator, Orrin Hatch. After President Trump requested the resignations of all sitting U.S. Attorneys, Sessions kept Huber alive with an interim appointment under the Federal Vacancies Act, until the president could be persuaded to re-nominate him. He was confirmed a second time for the post in August,” Judicial Watch noted.
In a letter to congressional leaders, Sessions said that the reviews by federal prosecutors like Huber mean there’s no need for appointment of a second special counsel, as Republican lawmakers had requested.
“We understand that the Department is not above criticism and it can never be that the Department conceals errors when they occur,” Sessions wrote to Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley, House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte and House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Trey Gowdy.
“I am confident that Mr. Huber’s review will include a full, complete and objective evaluation of these matters in a manner that is consistent with the law and facts,” Sessions wrote. “I receive regular updates from Mr. Huber and upon the conclusion of his review, will receive his recommendations as to whether any matters not currently under investigation should be opened, whether any matters currently under investigation require further resources, or whether any matters merit the appointment of a special counsel.”
Currently, the DOJ’s Inspector General (IG) Michael Horowitz is investigating the FBI’s role in the Trump-Russia investigation, but there is no indication that the report will be released anytime soon, sources told Carter.
Meanwhile, several key Republican senators announced on Aug. 23 that they would support President Donald Trump if he chooses to replace Sessions.
“I think this president, like every other president, has the right to pick cabinet members that he feels comfortable with, as long as they are qualified and competent,” Sen. Lindsey Graham told Carter. “To suggest that President Trump is stuck with one attorney general for his eight years, or four years, is just not right. Jeff Sessions is a fine man. There will come a day, I believe, when President Trump will want somebody new. The working relationship is strained, that happens on occasion and I support the president’s right to have a cabinet of his choosing.”
In an Aug. 23 interview on “Fox and Friend”, Trump said that Sessions “never took control of the Justice Department.”
Session’s issued a statement in response, saying, “I took control of the Department of Justice the day I was sworn in, which is why we have had unprecedented success at effectuating the President’s agenda – one that protects the safety and security and rights of the American people, reduces violent crime, enforces our immigration laws, promotes economic growth, and advances religious liberty.”