Attorney General Jeff Sessions is considering appointing a special counsel to investigate "certain issues" Republicans have raised in recent weeks, including a Russian bribery scheme and whether donations to the Clinton Foundation influenced the sale of Uranium One.
Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd on Monday sent a letter to House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R., Va.) indicating that Sessions has asked senior Justice Department prosecutors to evaluate and make recommendations to him and others on whether "any matters not currently under investigations should be opened, whether any matters currently under investigation require further resources, or whether any merit the appointment of a special counsel."
Sessions, who is scheduled to testify before the House Judiciary Committee Tuesday, has not recused himself from decisions involving alleged corruption surrounding the deal that gave Russia control of a large portion of U.S. uranium-mining capacity.
A trio of House and Senate Committees are already investigating the Obama-era approval of the Uranium One deal. The letter comes after Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley asked Sessions to look into the Uranium One issue several weeks ago, and several House Judiciary Committee members pressed Sessions to appoint a special counsel to look into the matter in a private meeting in late October.
Recent media reports have raised questions about the Obama administration's approval of a 2010 purchase of Uranium One, which controlled 20 percent of U.S. uranium, by Russian energy company Rosatom and whether Russian donations to the Clinton Foundation influenced the decision.
Goodlatte and other House Judiciary Committee members previously sent Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein two letters asking them to name a special counsel to investigate "matters that appear to be outside the scope of special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation."
Mueller is probing the issue of Russia meddling in the U.S. presidential election as well as alleged ties between Moscow and the Trump campaign.
President Trump also has publicly lamented that he cannot direct the Justice Department to look into the matter or other issues involving allegations against Democrats.
"Everybody is asking why the Justice Department (and FBI) isn't looking into all of the dishonesty going on with Crooked Hillary & the Dems," he tweeted on Nov. 3. "New Donna B book says she paid for and stole the Dem Primary. What about the deleted E-mails, Uranium, Podesta, the Server, plus, plus…People are angry. At some point the Justice Department, and the FBI, must do what is right and proper. The American public deserves it!"
The Justice Department "takes seriously its responsibility to provide timely and accurate information to Congress on issues of public interest, and seeks to do so in a non-political manner that is consistent with the Department's litigation, law enforcement, and national security responsibilities," Boyd wrote in his letter to Goodlatte.
"As you know, consistent with longstanding policy, the Department does not ordinarily confirm or deny investigations, and this letter should not be construed to do so," Boyd wrote.
Boyd also noted that the Justice Department's inspector general is reviewing a number of the issues Goodlatte had previously raised including the FBI's handling of the probe into then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's private email server.