Attorney General Jeff Sessions told lawmakers Thursday he will not be naming a second special counsel at this time, explaining in a letter that a federal prosecutor is reviewing allegations of misconduct at the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Department of Justice.
“I write in response to recent letters requesting the appointment of a Special Counsel to review certain prosecutorial and investigative determinations made by the Department of Justice in 2016 and 2017. I take the concerns you raise seriously,” Sessions wrote in a letter to Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte and House Oversight Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy.
But, he said, a second special counsel is named only in "the most 'extraordinary circumstances.' "
"To justify such an appointment, the Attorney General would need to conclude that 'the public interest would be served by removing a large degree of responsibility for the matter from the Department of Justice,' " Sessions added.
The attorney general asked U.S. Attorney John Huber to investigate Republicans’ allegations that the DOJ and FBI abused a surveillance program against a former Trump campaign aide.
"The additional matters raised in your March 6, 2018, letter fall within the scope of his existing mandate, and 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 the facts," Sessions said.
After Huber’s review is complete, a recommendation will be provided that will help determine whether or not a second special counsel is needed, Sessions explained.
Reps. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) and Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) were disappointed in Sessions’s decision.
The two GOP lawmakers have seen the DOJ's inspector general report about former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe, which revealed he lied four times about leaking information to the press.
"We need to have this special counsel. I disagree with the attorney general," Meadows said on Fox News Thursday. "For the attorney general to suggest there's not enough there there is just extremely disappointing."
Jordan noted that in addition to McCabe, there have been other top FBI officials who worked on the Russia and Clinton investigation that were fired or demoted.
"If those aren't extraordinary circumstances warranting a second special counsel, I don't know what the heck is," Jordan said. "I don't know why the attorney general keeps postponing this. Everyone in town knows we need a second special counsel to get to the bottom of this."