WASHINGTON- Four Senate Judiciary Committee Republicans led by Chairman Chuck Grassley (Iowa) have asked for the appointment of a special prosecutor to assist DoJ’s inspector general in a review of the department’s handling of the Trump-Russia probe.
“We have the utmost confidence in the Inspector General’s integrity, fairness, and impartiality, and trust that he will complete these reviews in a thorough, unbiased, and timely fashion,” Senators Grassley, Lindsey Graham (S.C.), John Cornyn (Texas) and Thom Tillis (N.C.) wrote in a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein on Thursday. “However, by statute, the Inspector General does not have the tools that a prosecutor would to gather all the facts, such as the ability to obtain testimony from essential witnesses who are not current DOJ employees. Thus, we believe that a special counsel is needed to work with the Inspector General to independently gather the facts and make prosecutorial decisions, if any are merited.”
In May, Rosenstein appointed former FBI Director Robert Mueller III as special counsel in the investigation into potential collusion between members of the Trump campaign and Russian officials.
Many Republicans claim the FBI and DoJ have demonstrated bias against the Trump administration and that Hillary Clinton was given special treatment during the investigation into her use of private email server while Secretary of State.
In November, reports emerged stating that FBI agent Peter Strzok was removed from Mueller’s team after it was discovered that he had exchanged anti-Trump text messages with fellow agent Lisa Page. The messages, which were exchanged prior to Trump’s election, were given to congressional investigators.
Strzok, a counterintelligence agent, was in charge of the Clinton email investigation. He is alleged to be responsible for edits in a statement written by former FBI Director James Comey that served as the legal justification for not charging Clinton.
The request for a second special counsel came the same day that reports emerged stating Mueller had subpoenaed documents from the Trump Organization and that President Trump is considering the removal of Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe.
McCabe’s wife is a former Virginia State Senate candidate and a political ally of Hillary Clinton. McCabe had been expected to retire at the end of the month.
In addition to the request for a review of the Trump-Russia probe, the senators asked DoJ to review alleged abuses of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) as well as the handling of the Clinton email probe.
DoJ spokesperson Ian Prior told TMN that the department has received the Committee’s letter and it is under review.