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Cornyn: DOJ Should Assign Special Counsel to Clinton Emails

The No. 2 Republican in the Senate wants a special prosecutor to investigate Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton's use of a private email server while secretary of State.  

Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, a senior member of the Judiciary Committee, entered the fray over the emails Tuesday in a letter to Attorney General Loretta Lynch.  

"Secretary Clinton denied publicly that she transmitted classified information and violated government policy, both of which proved untrue. Secretary Clinton’s lawyers made their own determinations as to which of the emails on her server were government records and deleted the remainder — tens of thousands of documents," Cornyn wrote Tuesday. "And the former campaign staffer who set up the server, who would subsequently be employed both by the State Department and Secretary Clinton privately, has invoked the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution to avoid providing information to government investigators."  

The leadership-level engagement on the Clinton's emails comes a day after Judiciary Chairman Charles E. Grassley of Iowa and Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Chairman Ron Johnson of Wisconsin sought clarity on what the Justice Department may be doing with respect to that individual, Bryan Pagliano.  

Cornyn is urging Republicans to vote for Trade Adjustment Assistance, also known as TAA. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Cornyn wants the Justice Department to have a special counsel investigate the Clinton email situation. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

"Although we are seeking additional information from the State Department through requests to interview other witnesses who worked with Mr. Pagliano and requests for records of Mr. Pagliano’s communications regarding former Secretary Clinton’s email server, the State Department has been extremely unresponsive to previous requests," Grassley and Johnson wrote Monday. "This leaves the Committees with very little information on which to base a decision as important as whether to seek an immunity order to compel Mr. Pagliano’s testimony."  

Cornyn pointed to Justice Department regulations that allow for use of special prosecutors in "extraordinary circumstances."  

"The Attorney General has a special duty to pursue justice even when political considerations run counter to doing so. At critical times in our nation's history, your predecessors have exercised that duty by appointing politically-independent individuals to investigate potential wrongdoing involving senior administration officials," Cornyn wrote.