Conservative legal activist Larry Klayman is petitioning President Trump for an appointment to be special counsel to investigate possible crimes committed by Hillary Clinton and her associates.
Klayman, a colorful litigator with three decades of head-turning pursuits, told the Washington Examiner he will form a “citizen’s grand jury” to review evidence against Clinton if Trump doesn’t appoint him special counsel by the end of November.
On Monday, after two indictments and a guilty plea in special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe of possible Trump ties to Russia, Klayman said signatures were pouring in for his online petition, which he intends to deliver to the Justice Department and the White House.
“I do know a lot of people in and around him. President Trump will get this, and I know he follows what I do,” Klayman said. “Trump has the authority to tell [Attorney General] Jeff Sessions to appoint me.”
Trump has pointedly criticized what he called Sessions’ "very weak" approach toward Clinton. Klayman imagines himself as a second special counsel alongside Mueller, though he also believes Mueller should be fired.
If he can’t get the job, Klayman said he will convene a “citizen’s grand jury” in Ocala, Fla., to review allegations against Clinton. He imagines an 18-person representative body formed after sending out mailers at random based on voter rolls.
“I’ll be, in effect, my own special counsel,” he said. "That's the way it used to be done in the Old West."
If Clinton or any of her associates are indicted, Klayman said “then we’ll try her and I’ll be the prosecutor” and “we’ll find a judge who’s neutral, maybe a retired judge.”
What if Klayman’s informal trial sentences her to prison? “I believe the verdict would be valid,” he said. “At that point, the executive branch would have to execute on it.”
Klayman worked at the Justice Department in the 1980s before founding the transparency group Judicial Watch, which he used for much of the 1990s as a vehicle to probe scandals involving Bill Clinton’s presidency, deposing key administration figures.
Klayman currently leads Freedom Watch, through which he won a major federal court ruling in 2013 against the constitutionality of the National Security Agency’s mass collection of U.S. call records, which contributed to its legislated end.
To his critics, Klayman is an eccentric figure whose causes bump against the political fringe, with past plans including a shadow government if President Obama didn’t resign by Black Friday 2013. Later he filed what he called a "deportation petition" requesting that Obama, the sitting president, be removed from the country for alleged lack of citizenship.
But Klayman — speaking after former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort and assistant Rick Gates were indicted for pre-2016 money laundering-related crimes, and Trump adviser George Papadopolous pleaded guilty for lying to the FBI — insists he’s serious about being named special prosecutor or launching a citizens’ grand jury.
Klayman said imagines looking into issues such a the Clinton campaign’s quiet funding of Fusion GPS’s opposition research dossier and the Clinton State Department’s approval of the Uranium One deal after Bill Clinton was paid a $500,000 speaking fee by a Russian bank linked to the deal — along with older issues such as her use of a private email server for State Department business.
White House staff, however, have not told Trump about other unconventional ideas, including Republican Rep. Dana Rohrabacher’s request to discuss a pardon for WikiLeaks editor Julian Assange in exchange for information purportedly disproving U.S. spy agencies’ claim Russia was behind the hacking of Democratic emails last year.
A Justice Department spokesman declined to comment on Klayman’s proposal. White House press secretary Sarah Sanders did not respond to a request for comment.