In a letter released to the public for the first time, former Attorney General Jeff Sessions has been found ordering U.S. Attorney for Utah John Huber to investigate Hillary Clinton, according to watchdog group American Oversight.
The watchdog got hold of the letter after filing a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) litigation. The letter's existence, which was written in November 2017, was denied a year later in response to American Oversight's litigation. The Justice Department maintained that Sessions didn't direct Huber in writing and that any order was passed verbally.
Since before the 2016 presidential elections, Donald Trump has repeatedly called for the DOJ to investigate Hillary Clinton. He often invoked the infamous "Lock her up" chant at rallies in front of his supporters -- and continued his calls for prosecuting Clinton even after becoming president.
Austin Evers, American Oversight executive director, said the letter is proof that Sessions followed Trump's arbitrary and "authoritarian" demands.
"'Lock her up' was wrong at campaign rallies, and it's even worse coming from the Department of Justice. Even after this long, it's still deeply shocking to see the black-and-white proof that Jeff Sessions caved to President Trump's worst authoritarian impulses and ordered a wide-ranging investigation of his political opponents based on demands from Congress instead of the facts and the law."Former House Judiciary Committee Chair Robert Goodlatte had written to Jeff Sessions asking him to appoint another special counsel to investigate Hillary Clinton and her role in the Uranium One sale, in addition to the already ongoing FBI inquiry into whether Clinton broke any laws by her use of a private email server. In November 2017, Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd wrote to Goodlatte informing that Sessions had directed "senior federal prosecutors" to evaluate the issues the congressman had raised in previous letters, according to American Oversight.
So far, the full scope of Huber's mandate had not been made public. The new documents show that a few days after Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd wrote to Congressman Goodlatte, Sessions wrote to Huber and directed him to review the matters referenced in Boyd's letter, and to make recommendations on whether there were enough grounds for the Department of Justice to appoint a second special counsel to investigate Hillary Clinton.
Former Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker, who was Sessions' chief of staff at the time, sent the letter to Huber as an attachment to an email with the subject: "As we discussed. MW."