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Sessions 'Won't Appoint' U.S. Special Counsel To Investigate Bias In Russia Probe


U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions says he won't immediately appoint a second special counsel to investigate charges that the FBI showed bias in its Russia probe and other allegations raised by Republicans.

In a letter to three Republican committee leaders in Congress on March 29, Session said he had directed John Huber, the top U.S. attorney in Utah, to evaluate whether such an appointment is necessary.

Huber, originally appointed by former President Barack Obama and but recently renominated by President Donald Trump, will conduct a "full, complete, and objective evaluation" of Republican concerns and submit recommendations, Sessions said.

Republican lawmakers have called for special counsels to study multiple allegations of misconduct in some of the FBI's most politically charged investigations.

Most recently, they've demanded a special counsel to determine whether Justice Department or FBI employees were biased during their now-closed investigation of Hillary Clinton's use of a private e-mail server, and as they began investigating ties between Russia and Trump's 2016 campaign.

Democrats say the allegations are an effort to distract from and undermine the work of Special Counsel Robert Mueller as his team's investigation of alleged Russian efforts to influence the 2016 election has intensified this year.

Sessions' letter comes a day after the Justice Department's inspector-general announced that, at Sessions' urging, it would review whether FBI agents abused their surveillance powers in seeking a court's permission to monitor the communications of a former Trump foreign policy adviser, Carter Page.

Sessions' referral of the allegations to the inspector-general enraged Trump, who said Sessions should have ordered his own investigation. But in his letter to lawmakers, Sessions defended the move, saying the inspector-general's office had the authority to refer matters for prosecution, if that proved warranted.

Based on reporting by AP and Reuters
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