"It would take a factual basis that meets the standards of the appointment of a special counsel", Sessions responded after Jordan read off a list of reasons why he believed an appointment was necessary.
Some conservatives say a special counsel appointment could have consequences far beyond Clinton. In a celebrated 1940 address that's still required reading for federal prosecutors today, Attorney General (and later Supreme Court Justice) Robert Jackson identified the Justice Department's ability to "choose [its] defendants" as "the most risky power of the prosecutor: that he will pick people that he thinks he should get, rather than pick cases that need to be prosecuted".
Replying to Jordan, Sessions said: "That's the only thing I can tell you, Mr Jordan".
"Why in 2016 did James Comey and the Justice Department give Cheryl Mills, Secretary Clinton's Chief of Staff, an immunity agreement for turning over her laptop computer?" Democrats have criticized this as a ploy to deflect attention from the special counsel probing Trump campaign interactions with the Kremlin and potential effects on the 2016 presidential election.
"They don't like feeling that they are political tools to be used by the president", he said. At some point, though, if you're Hillary Clinton, you won't be surprised if there's some investigation into you for something you're convinced you never did.
"Dangling [a special counsel] is risky, period", he said.
"Why is the Special Counsel Robert Mueller?".
In his testimony, Sessions did say that he believed his recusal would not bar him from appointing a special counsel to investigate possible wrongdoing involving Uranium One, a Canadian mining company with USA assets that was purchased by Russia's nuclear energy agency. We have only had two. Is a special prosecutor needed to investigate Clinton's dealings?
The first year of the Trump administration has been a turbulent one for the Justice Department. "We will use the proper standards, and that's the only thing I can tell you, Mr. Jordan. We do our duty everyday based on the facts".
On Monday the Justice Department informed the committee it was weighing proposals to name an special independent counsel to investigate the FBI's handling of a probe past year into the Democrat Clinton's use of a personal server for official and in some cases classified emails, in breach of government rules.
We know that happened, and it sure looks like the Federal Bureau of Investigation was paying the author of that document.
"Why is the Federal Bureau of Investigation so reluctant to tell Congress and the American people if the dossier was the basis for a FISA court order permitting the government to spy on Americans associated with President Trump's campaign?" "But my concern is we sent you a letter three and a half months ago asking for a second special counsel".