PoliZette

Here’s Why Jeff Sessions May Be Washington’s Slyest Fox

All this time, people have thought the attorney general's recusal put him on the sidelines of the Trump-Russia collusion investigation

President Donald Trump reportedly called him “Mr. Magoo” in a recent private conversation — but a little-noticed comment by the embattled attorney general provides strong evidence Jeff Sessions just may be Washington’s slyest fox.

The comment came in an interview with Fox News’ Shannon Bream the same day Sessions announced the Department of Justice is suing the state of California for unconstitutionally interfering with federal immigration law enforcement officials.

When Bream asked about the recent request for appointment of a second special counsel from House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) and House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.), here’s what Sessions said:

“Well, I have great respect for Mr. Gowdy and Chairman Goodlatte, and we are going to consider seriously their recommendations. I have appointed a person outside of Washington, many years in the Department of Justice [DOJ], to look at all the allegations that the House Judiciary Committee members sent to us; and we’re conducting that investigation” (emphasis added).

“Also, I am well aware we have a responsibility to ensure the integrity of the FISA process. We’re not afraid to look at that. The inspector general — some think that our inspector general is not very strong; but he has almost 500 [employees], most of which are lawyers and prosecutors; and they are looking at the FISA process. We must make sure that it’s done properly, and we’re going to do that. And I’ll consider their request.”

Note that Sessions appointed “a person outside of Washington,” an individual with “many years in the Department of Justice,” but he doesn’t say when he did so. Sundance, a blogger on The Last Refuge, explains why this is immensely important:

“Attorney General Jeff Sessions is noting the existence of an outside prosecutor who has been in place for quite a while … All the evidence of this was/is clear if you follow the granular details closely,” Sundance wrote.

The next question is this: When did Jeff Sessions appoint this mystery prosecutor?

The Last Refuge blog describes itself as “a ragtag bunch of conservative misfits,” but no response was offered when LifeZette requested additional “about us” details. Even so, the analysis offered by Sundance is compelling, including these six reasons Sessions appears to have been ahead of the game from almost the earliest days of the Trump administration:

1.) Department of Justice Inspector General (IG) Michael Horowitz “has an obligation to notify his superiors when he/she discovers illegal activity, or conduct that is likely unlawful, while conducting an internal investigation,” according to Sundance. This is why Horowitz told Mueller last summer about the potentially illegal conduct of FBI agent Peter Strzok and FBI attorney Lisa Page.

2.) Key DOJ and FBI employees must be cooperating with the IG. “That cooperation, in combination with a likelihood of unlawful conduct, would require a DOJ official (prosecutor) to be assigned to negotiate and outline the DOJ legal terms of investigative compliance,” Sundance observes.

3.) Strzok, Page, former DOJ Deputy Associate Attorney General (AAG) Bruce Ohr, his wife Nellie, and the FBI’s Bill Priestap must be among those cooperating with the IG because they are quoted in that four-page summary memo produced by Republican staff working for House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.). “Those quotes come from investigative interviews; no congressional committee has interviewed those persons,” Sundance writes.

Related: Sessions Confirms Justice Probe of FBI’s FISA Warrant Application

4.) Trump runs the executive branch as president, but he’s also potentially a victim of crimes being investigated by the Sessions-appointed prosecutor. “That’s why [Trump] doesn’t know and Sessions must keep distance from any discussion with the executive due to this separation,” according to Sundance.

5.) Like Trump, Congress also doesn’t know about the Sessions prosecutor’s investigation because “the prosecutor works parallel with, but separate from, the IG investigation. Congress would know of the IG, but not the prosecutor.”

6.) Finally, Sundance contends that “the most transparent reason why we know there’s a DOJ prosecutor already on the case is because Jeff Sessions just said there was” during his interview with Bream.

The next question, then, is: When did Sessions appoint this mystery prosecutor?

Sundance explains: “Likely since the time when IG Horowitz informed the AG and AAG that he may have discovered significant evidence of unlawful conduct within the DOJ and FBI. That would be around July/August 2017.”

Senior editor Mark Tapscott can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter.

meet the author

Mark Tapscott manages LifeZette's political coverage. He is an elected member of the First Amendment Center's Freedom of Information Act Hall of Fame, has testified before Congress on transparency in government, and is a former CPAC Conservative Journalist of the Year.