Federal Bureau of Investigation agent charged with leaking classified information to press

Jeff Sessions

Justice Department spokeswoman Sarah Flores Isgur said in an email that Sessions asked Huber to do the review before November 13 and that his review officially began before November 13 - the date when Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd sent a letter to Congress stating that Sessions had "directed senior federal prosecutors" to look into whether there should be another special counsel.

Republicans last week revealed that the dossier played a significant role in getting the secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act court to approve wiretaps of Carter Page, a foreign policy adviser to the Trump campaign.

For weeks, President Donald Trump and his allies on Capitol Hill have pointed to the House Intelligence Committee's controversial memo - the so-called Nunes Memo - slamming how the Federal Bureau of Investigation obtained a FISA warrant to monitor Trump foreign policy aide Carter Page to argue that the nation's top law enforcement agency is politically biased.

Sessions' referral of the allegations to the inspector general enraged President Donald Trump, who said Sessions should have ordered is own investigation.

Sessions will receive regular updates from Huber and will comply with any recommendations regarding the need for investigative resources or whether the appointment of a special counsel would be warranted in the future, the attorney general said. It was an unusual appearance for a U.S. attorney, and a former DOJ official told NPR at the time that it undermined the notion of the Justice Department's independence from the White House.

In response to questions about whether Sessions' involvement in requesting the OIG review violated the scope of his recusal, a DOJ spokesperson said, "The AG is not recused from personnel and misconduct issues related to the management of the department".

Sessions also said he will rely on Huber's review to determine if a special counsel is needed down the line. "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 added that he might consider a special counsel if Huber finds that "any matters merit the appointment".

Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley, along with Republican Sens.

Huber was nominated by former President Barack Obama in 2015 and was reappointed by Trump past year.

In a court filing late Tuesday, special counsel Robert Mueller, tasked with investigating accusations of collusion, said Manafort aide Rick Gates did knowingly meet a person with ties to Russian intelligence. Bob Goodlatte of Virginia and Rep. Trey Gowdy of SC, the Republican committee chairmen who are leading the House investigation.

"For instance, the IG's office does not have authority to compel witness interviews, including from past employees, so its investigation will be limited in scope in comparison to a Special Counsel investigation", Goodlatte said in a statement. Trump, who has criticized his attorney general over Twitter several times, will presumably also take issue with Sessions' decision.



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