Former Attorney General Jeff Sessions ordered prosecutors to revisit investigations into Hillary Clinton, newly revealed documents show despite repeated denials from the Department of Justice, The Daily Beast reports.
Despite claiming no such document existed, The Daily Beast reports that then-Sessions chief of staff Matt Whitaker delivered a letter to the US attorney in Utah to review how the investigation into the Clinton Foundation and Uranium One was handled.
The letter to US Attorney John Huber written in November 2017 contradicts claims the Justice Department made in court that no such document existed.
Senior Counsel in the Office of Information Policy Vanessa Brinkmann, who handles Freedom of Information Act requests, told a federal court in a filing that she was told that “when the Attorney General directed Mr. Huber to evaluate these matters, no written guidance or directives were issued to Mr. Huber in connection with this directive, either by the Attorney General, or by other senior leadership office staff.”
Huber investigated the sale of Canadian uranium mining company Uranium One to Russian state-owned company Rosatom. Republicans have long claimed that then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton did not oppose the transaction because the Clinton Foundation received contributions from the parties.
‘Sessions caved to Trump’s worst authoritarian impulses’:
The document, American Oversight chief Austin Evers said, shows that Sessions and the Justice Department gave in to Trump’s “authoritarian” demands over “the facts and the law.”
“‘Lock her up’ was wrong at campaign rallies, and it’s even worse coming from the Department of Justice,” Evers told The Daily Beast. “Even after this long, it’s still deeply shocking to see the black and white proof that Jeff Sessions caved to President Trump’s worst authoritarian impulses and ordered a wide-ranging investigation of his political opponents based on demands from Congress instead of the facts and the law.”
“It strains credulity to believe that the Justice Department didn’t know about this letter when they swore under penalty of perjury that it didn’t exist–you don’t exactly forget about a formal directive to investigate Hillary Clinton signed by Jeff Sessions,” he added. “The fact that they only ‘found’ it the same week Matthew Whitaker was heading for the exit makes it hard to see DOJ’s previous denial as anything but a deliberate attempt to conceal the extent to which President Trump’s authoritarian demands were being put into action. The authoritarian instinct in the Trump administration needs to be investigated. Sessions and Whitaker shouldn’t escape accountability by skipping town.”