Rep. Darrell Issa doubled down on statements he made over the weekend urging for an independent investigation of communications between President Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and Russians known to US intelligence.
“The American people need a clear-eyed view of the nefarious actions of the Russian government,” the California Republican said in a statement Monday.
“Right now, we have speculation and assumptions, but not clarity and fact, including questions about Russia’s actions, what the FBI knew of the cyberbreaches, what the Obama administration did in response and potential actions of former national security adviser Michael Flynn,” he continued. “Any review conducted must have the full confidence of the American people, which is why I recommended an independent review.”
Issa — who supported Trump in the 2016 presidential election — said Friday on HBO’s “Real Time with Bill Maher” that Attorney General Jeff Sessions should step aside and an independent prosecutor should be appointed because Sessions campaigned for Trump.
Earlier Monday, Issa appeared to qualify his statement on HBO, telling CBS News he could see how a special prosecutor would be appropriate if “there is an allegation of a crime at some point.”
But, he added, “I think it’s very important to realize there’s been no allegation by any part of this administration or by anyone who’s been to the hearings about any crimes.”
Flynn was forced to resign earlier this month after acknowledging he did not provide Vice President Mike Pence with a full account of his communications with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak — conversations that involved US sanctions.
Then last week, multiple US officials told CNN that the FBI rejected a White House request to publicly knock down media reports about communications between Trump’s associates and Russians known to US intelligence during the presidential campaign.
But Sessions has not been quick to weigh in on the matter.
Speaking to reporters at the Justice Department on Monday, he said, “I will recuse myself from anything I need to recuse myself from” when specifically asked whether he would step aside.
As for the propriety of conversations between the White House and FBI, Sessions emphasized that the FBI and Department of Justice “have to remain independent.”
“But every contact is not improper,” Sessions added.