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Jeff Sessions authorizes Justice Department to consider investigating Clinton Foundation

Andrew Burton/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — Attorney General Jeff Sessions has authorized senior prosecutors at the Justice Department to evaluate whether allegations regarding the Clinton Foundation and the sale of a uranium company need to be investigated by a special counsel, according to a letter he sent the committee Monday night that has since been obtained by ABC News.

Sessions is responding to a request to appoint a special counsel sought by Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee, the letter says.

The Justice Department has been under heavy pressure from President Donald Trump to investigate the Clinton foundation and the Uranium One sale.

Uranium One was a Canada-based company that in 2010 had most of its ownership rights sold to a Russian agency.

The U.S. government had to approve the deal because Uranium One produced significant amounts of uranium in the United States. The State Department, which at the time was led by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, was one of several federal agencies that had to weigh in on the matter. Ultimately, the sale was approved.

Republicans are now raising questions because around the same time, business associates of Uranium One donated millions of dollars to the Clinton Foundation.

Sessions, meanwhile, has pledged to steer clear of Clinton-related investigations, announcing in March that he would recuse himself “from any existing or future investigations of any matters related in any way” to either presidential campaign in 2016.

But in a letter to House Judiciary Chairman Robert Goodlatte, a top Justice Department official writes, “the Attorney General has directed senior federal prosecutors evaluate certain issues raised in your letters. These senior prosecutors will report directly to the Attorney General and the Deputy Attorney General, as appropriate, and will make recommendations as to whether any matters not currently under investigation should be opened, whether any matters currently under investigation require further resources, or whether any matters merit the appointment of a Special Counsel.”

Goodlatte had also raised questions about the handling of the Clinton email investigation.

Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd informed Goodlatte that the Department of Justice forwarded a copy of the letter to that agency's inspector general, which is already investigating former FBI Director James Comey and former Attorney General Loretta Lynch's handling of the matter.

Sessions faces a divided and deeply partisan House Judiciary panel Tuesday.

Democrats will be seeking answers from the embattled attorney general about his knowledge of Russia-related contacts by Trump campaign officials.

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