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Essential Washington

Here's our look at the Trump administration and the rest of Washington.

Sessions tells angry GOP lawmaker: no special counsel to probe Clinton without a 'factual basis'

An hour and a half into the House Judiciary Committee hearing with Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions it became very clear that not only Democrats were irked at him.

In an angry series of questions, Rep. Jim Jordan, a conservative Republican from Ohio, demanded to know why the Justice Department has not named a special prosecutor to investigate actions by Hillary Clinton and former FBI Director James Comey.

"What's it going to take to get a special counsel?" Jordan asked repeatedly. He cited leaks about a dossier gathered by a former British intelligence officer and paid for in part by Democrats and the FBI.

Sessions said that it would require "a factual basis" and "the proper standards" to put the matter before a special counsel.

Republicans have increasingly demanded such a move in recent weeks, but Sessions brushed those aside as Jordan grew angrier.

"You can have your idea, but sometimes we have to study what the facts are," Sessions told Jordan.

When Sessions noted that Comey is no longer the head of the FBI--he was fired in spring by President Trump--Jordan interrupted loudly.

"Thank goodness," he said.

To Jordan's point that a number of events gave the impression of wrongdoing, Sessions added: "I would say 'looks like' is not enough basis to appoint a special counsel."

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