Attorney General Jeff Sessions stated during congressional testimony that the U.S. Department of Justice had not found compelling evidence to merit a special investigation into former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the controversial Uranium One deal approved by the Obama administration in 2010.
On Nov. 14, Sessions testified before the House Judiciary Committee during the panel's ongoing investigation into whether associates of Donald Trump's presidential campaign had colluded with Russian officials to influence the 2016 presidential race, The Guardian reports.
The attorney general signaled that he would not appoint a special counsel to investigate Clinton because there was "not enough basis."
On Nov. 3, Trump took to social media to suggest that the DOJ should open an investigation into Clinton.
"Everybody is asking why the Justice Department (and FBI) isn't looking into all of the dishonesty going on with Crooked Hillary [and] the Dems.." Trump tweeted out.
On Nov. 13, Assistant Attorney General Stephen E. Boyd submitted a letter to the House Judiciary Committee stating that DOJ prosecutors were exploring whether to appoint a special counsel to investigate Clinton's philanthropic Clinton Foundation and any potential ties to the Uranium One sale, according to The New York Times.
Democratic lawmakers blasted the disclosure, asserting that Sessions was giving the appearance of investigating Trump's political enemies. Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff of California tweeted on Nov. 13 that "If the [Attorney General] bends to pressure from President Trump ... it could spell the end of the DOJ as an independent institution."
Sessions said during his testimony that Trump's public statements would not influence whether he appoints a special counsel to investigate Clinton
"The Department of Justice can never be used to retaliate politically against opponents," the attorney general said, according to The Guardian. "That would be wrong ... I have not been improperly influenced and would not be improperly influenced."
"The president speaks his mind," Sessions added. "He is bold and direct about what he says. We do our duty every day based on the facts."
Republican Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio urged Sessions during the hearing to open a probe into Clinton, asserting that it looked like she and the Democratic National Committee had engaged in misconduct during the 2016 election.
"I would say 'looks like' is not enough basis to appoint a special counsel," Sessions responded.
In 2010, the Obama administration approved the sale of Uranium One, a company that accounted for 20 percent of U.S. uranium production capacity, to the Russian nuclear company Rosatom. The FBI had found evidence before the deal was finalized that Rosatom had engaged in bribery and racketeering to expand its business in the U.S., but did not inform the Obama administration, The Hill reports.
Trump and other critics of the Uranium One deal accused Clinton of maliciously approving the sale for financial gain. While Clinton headed the State Department at the time, she could not have a single handedly signed off on the deal. Eight other federal agencies approved the sale, according to PolitiFact.
Sources: Donald J. Trump/Twitter, The Guardian, The Hill, The New York Times, PolitiFact, Adam Schiff/Twitter / Featured Image: Glenn Fawcett/U.S. Customs and Border Protection/Flickr / Embedded Images: FBI/Flickr, United States Mission Geneva/Flickr