Chuck Grassley

United States Senator from Iowa

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Grassley: Attorney General Clears Confusion on Hearing Testimony

Mar 06, 2017

WASHINGTON – Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley released the following statement after Attorney General Jeff Sessions supplemented the testimony he provided to the committee on Jan. 11.  There are no plans to ask Sessions to come before the committee before an annual oversight hearing, as is customary.  

The document from Sessions can be found here.

Here is Grassley’s statement.

“I appreciate Attorney General Sessions’ quick action to clear up confusion about his statement and I look forward to confirming the team who can help him carry out the functions of the department, like going after sex offenders, protecting Americans against terrorists and criminal activity, and stopping drug traffickers.”  

Background
•    Sessions supplemented his sworn testimony to the Committee.  He addressed each one of the questions raised in a letter Senate Judiciary   Democrats sent to Chairman Grassley on March 3, 2017 requesting additional testimony.

•    Sessions’ actions to recuse himself stand in stark contrast to those of former Attorney General Loretta Lynch, who refused to recuse herself from the investigation of Hillary Clinton’s personal email server and classified information found on it.  Lynch failed to recuse herself despite several circumstances creating the appearance of a conflict of interest, including her previous appointment by President Clinton, her law firm’s representation of the Clintons, her interest in continuing as Attorney General in a potential Clinton administration, and her private meeting with former President Bill Clinton on her government airplane while the department was investigating the matter.
In addition, the Justice Department Inspector General has assured the Judiciary Committee that the inquiry on the department’s handling of the Clinton matter will include Lynch’s failure to recuse as well FBI Director Jim Comey’s actions and other matters.

•    By consulting with career Department of Justice ethics personnel and other department officials after being confirmed, Sessions acted as he said he would in his responses to Questions for the Record.  

     QUESTION:  In light of your efforts as a campaign surrogate on the Trump campaign, will you reconsider your stated intention not to recuse   yourself from matters before the Department involving Mr. Trump, his campaign, or connections to Russia?

     RESPONSE: I cannot offer an opinion on recusal as to this, or any other issue, without knowing the particular facts and circumstances that would need to be considered. There is no opinion I could provide that would fit in every instance. If a specific matter arose where I believed my impartiality might reasonably be questioned, I would consult with Department ethics officials regarding the most appropriate way to proceed.

     QUESTION: Is there any scenario under which you would find it inappropriate to handle a matter before the Department involving Mr. Trump?

     RESPONSE: Each case depends on facts and specific circumstances. It would not only be impossible, but unwise, for me to suggest that an Attorney General would or would not be presented with a conflict in every possible scenario that involves the President. In other words, I cannot offer an opinion that would fit in every instance. If a specific matter arose where I believed my impartiality might reasonably be questioned, I would consult with Department ethics officials regarding the most appropriate way to proceed. Recusal, of course, is one option.

 

 

 

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