WASHINGTON â€” Attorney General Jeff Sessions will not appoint a second special counsel to review a host of politically charged grievances against the Justice Department and the FBI leveled by Republican lawmakers.
While acknowledging that the Justice Department is “not above criticism,” Sessions said in a letter Thursday toÂ three Republican committee chairmen that such an appointment was not necessary.
The attorney general, however, did acknowledge that he had directed Utah U.S. Attorney John Huber to continue an internal review into whether a second counsel may be needed at some point in the future.
Last month, more than a dozen Republican lawmakers called for a second counsel to investigateÂ a range of matters, including: Justice’s handling of the inquiry into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server while secretary of State; the decision to launch a criminal inquiry into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election; and allegations of surveillance abuses by the FBI and Justice related to the Russia probe.
The ongoing Russia inquiry is being managed by Justice special counsel Robert Mueller, whose appointment last May was set in motion when Sessions recused himself from the matter.Â
Earlier this week, at the request of Sessions, Justice’s inspector general launched a review into alleged abuses related to the surveillance of former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page. The inspector general also is in the final stages of a separate inquiry into the FBI and Justice’s handling of the Clinton probe.
That inquiry prompted the dismissal of former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe earlier this month, hours before his eligibility for retirement.Â
McCabe has blasted the decision as politically motivated and engineered by President Trump, who was sharply critical of McCabe wife’s unsuccessful run for a Virginia state Senate and the financial support she received from Clinton ally and former Virginia governorÂ Terry McAuliffe.
Â “It can never be that the department conceals errors when they occur,” Sessions said in the Thursday letter. “I expect person in this department to adhere to the highest level of integrity, ethics and professionalism. If anyone falls short of these high standards, I will fulfill my responsibility to take necessary action to protect the integrity of our work.”