Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill., grilling Attorney General Jeff Sessions at a House Judiciary Committee hearing on Tuesday, pressed him on whether he will appoint a special prosecutor to probe Hillary Clinton – and fulfill a key promise President Donald Trump made during the campaign.
There have been news reports that Sessions is mulling naming a second special prosecutor to look into alleged wrongdoing in several Clinton-related matters.
At the hearing, Gutierrez asked Sessions on whether he would, as a Trump appointee, “honor” Trump’s campaign promise to try to put Clinton in jail.
Citing Trump’s remarks at the second presidential debate last year, Gutierrez quoted Trump promising to Clinton, “if I win,” he would “get a special prosecutor to look into your situation because there has never been so many lies, so much deception.”
Sessions sidestepped a direct answer, telling Gutierrez, “I will fulfill my duties as attorney general.”
Gutierrez was so skeptical of Session’s that he brought a salt shaker to the hearing, holding it up when it was his turn to quiz the attorney general to dramatize how he was taking Session’s testimony with, as the saying goes, a grain of salt.
THE GUTIERREZ “SOLUTION” – MOVE ON FROM 2016 ELECTION
At the start of his question time, Gutierrez said, before quizzing Sessions, “I think I have a solution that could allow the committee to move on to other important national matters like gun control and immigration. Your side clearly wants an investigation on Hilary Clinton and our side has been begging for months to hold hearings to start an investigation of the Trump administration and campaigns improper ties to Mr. Putin and the Russian government.
“My solution would save the American tax payers alot of grief and a lot of money by eliminating the need for the investigations. I propose we simply go to the President and the former secretary of state and ask them both to resign. I’ll go Hillary Clinton, you can go to Donald Trump and we’ll say to them both to resign. Then we can move on as a nation to move on from these elections that never seem to end. Now I did google organizations that Hilary Clinton leads and it came out.. There isn’t anything I can get her to resign from because she doesn’t lead anything! Last time I checked…she got 3 million more votes than Donald Trump, but she lost the election. So I don’t know why don’t we move on and really look at the nation.”
SCHNEIDER PUSHES SESSIONS ON ELECTION SECURITY
Rep. Brad Schneider D-Ill., also a member of the House Judiciary Committee, focused on attempts to hack election systems run by states when he questioned Sessions.
Hackers breached the Illinois State Board of Elections voter registration database last summer, one chapter in the currently unfolding story of Russian cyberattacks on U.S. election related systems in 2016.
Schneider asked Sessions, “I am very concerned. With the 2018 elections, less than one year away, and given your acknowledgement that this is a serious complex matter that is deserving of a real review, specifically what steps have you taken to protect our elections next year?
Sessions replied, “You raise a good point. I have not followed through to see where we are on that and I will personally take action to do so. There are a lot of things that have been happening. We are working on a lot of great agenda items, but this one is important and I acknowledge that. I should be able to give you better information today than I am.”
Also of note so far at the House Judiciary Committee hearing: Sessions said he didn’t recall meeting with Chicago native and former Trump foreign policy adviser George Papadopulous until after he read news media reports — and Papadopulous’ own accounts of events made public when he pled guilty last month to lying to the FBI. Earlier, Sessions said he had “no recollection” of a Trump Tower meeting until he read news reports.
Once his memory was refreshed, Sessions told the Judiciary Committee that he talked with Papadopulous. “I believe I wanted to make clear to him he was not authorized to represent the [Trump] campaign with the Russian government or any government for that matter.” Sessions said if he had remembered that meeting of 18 months ago when he testified before Congress a few weeks ago, he would have “gladly reported it.”
Last month, in a plea agreement, Papadopoulos admitted he lied to the FBI about his contacts with Russians during last year’s presidential race. Papadopoulos, 30, a graduate of Niles West High School and DePaul University, has been cooperating with the feds since late July.
Papadopoulos was the first to plead guilty in Special Prosecutor Bob Mueller’s Russian probe.