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Democrat Richard Blumenthal calls for special counsel to prevent Trump-tainted probe

One Democratic senator wants the Obama Justice Department to leave behind a watchdog independent of President-elect Donald Trump, calling for the attorney general to appoint a special counsel to continue a probe into the 2008 financial crisis.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal, Connecticut Democrat, said Mr. Trump’s own financial ties to Deutsche Bank would make it difficult for a Trump administration to be impartial in finishing out an investigation into the company.

It’s the kind of call that’s likely to pop up during Mr. Trump’s tenure, with his massive business holdings providing plenty of potential pitfalls for commercial and financial investigations.

“An independent Special Counsel is critically necessary to maintain the credibility and impartiality of an investigation, which should pursue significant monetary penalties and other civil sanctions along with potential criminal prosecution against both the bank and individuals who are culpable,” Mr. Blumenthal said in a letter to current Attorney General Loretta Lynch.

Ms. Lynch has refused to appoint special counsels in other cases, including the investigation into former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s secret emails, and appointing one in this instance would be striking given that Mr. Trump isn’t in the White House yet.

But the issue could dog the next attorney general.

Mr. Trump has indicated he will nominate Sen. Jeff Sessions, a staunch ally from the campaign, as the new chief of the department.

Mr. Blumenthal, a colleague of Mr. Sessions’, said he doesn’t have faith in the Alabama Republican to be impartial if he’s in charge of an investigation that involves a company with financial entanglements with the president.

Mr. Trump’s real estate empire has reportedly obtained hundreds of millions of dollars in loans from Deutsche Bank over the years.

The bank is the subject of two probes, the senator said: one into lending practices ahead of the Wall Street collapse, and another into offshore trading.

Source: www.washingtontimes.com stories: Politics

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