Washington soon could face the upheaval of a second special counsel – an investigator of the investigators – to probe the FBI and Justice Department investigations of alleged Trump campaign collusion with Russia in the 2016 election.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions, told Fox News’ Shannon Bream Wednesday he would “consider” making the appointment.
The Russia investigations, including special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe, were prompted primarily by an anti-Trump “dossier” of largely unverified political dirt financed by the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee that was used to obtain a warrant to spy on a Trump campaign adviser.
Members of Congress have asked for the appointment of a second special counsel, including Reps. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., of the House Intelligence Committee and Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., chairman of the House Judiciary Committee.
“Well, I have great respect for Mr. Gowdy and Chairman Goodlatte, and we are going to consider seriously their recommendations,” Sessions told Bream.
“I have appointed a person outside of Washington – many years at the Department of Justice – to look at all of the allegations that the House Judiciary Committee members sent to us and we are conducting that investigation.”
Watch Sessions’ statements about a second special counsel to investigate possible FISA abuses by the DOJ and FBI:
One of the issues is the integrity of the secret FISA court and whether or not the Obama administration turned it into a political weapon against then-candidate Donald Trump.
“We are not afraid to look at that,” Sessions said. “The inspector general, something that our inspector general is not very strong, but he has almost 500 employees, most of which are lawyers and prosecutors, and they are looking at the FISA process.”
Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, told the Daily Caller the second special counsel should be “someone from Oklahoma, Iowa, somewhere from the middle of the country.'”
“A well-respected, retired federal judge or some prosecutor who’s well respected to assemble a team and let them do it,” Jordan said. “I don’t see any other remedy.”
The Hill reported last month that more than a dozen House Republicans urged Sessions to make such an appointment to investigate Hillary Clinton.
They apparently believe there’s still more to find concerning Clinton’s abuse of classified information, as well as the origins of the Russian election-meddling investigation and the allegations of surveillance abuses by the FBI.
“We acknowledge with immense gratitude that nearly every single man and woman in the [Department of Justice] and the FBI conduct themselves daily with integrity, independence, patriotism, objectivity, and commitment to the rule of law,” the letter from Congress to Sessions said.
“That is why this special counsel is of utmost importance to ensure that these historic, legendary, and necessary agencies move forward more respected and effective than before.”
There were calls for a second special counsel in January after the FBI revealed it failed to save five months worth of text messages between two FBI agents who exhibited an anti-Trump bias.
When the GOP released a memo claiming the DOJ abused its powers to spy on the Trump campaign, Democrats responded with a memo that insisted it wasn’t so.
Fox News reported Gowdy previously was not a supporter of a second special counsel.
“What changed for me was the knowledge that there are two-dozen witnesses that Michael Horowitz, the [DOJ] Inspector General, would not have access to,” Gowdy told Fox News. “When I counted up 24 witnesses that he would not be able to access were he to investigate it, yeah only one conclusion, that’s special counsel.”
Sessions already has said the DOJ inspector general would look into allegations of government surveillance abuse.
But Gowdy pointed out that the IG would not have the same authority as a special counsel.
WND reported this week Mueller was expanding his investigation to a so-called “hit list” of 10 members of Trump’s team.
Trump has accused Obama of launching an investigation into his campaign “with zero proof of wrongdoing” before the 2016 election to help “crooked” Hillary Clinton’s bid for the White House.
Trump, who during his campaign labeled Washington a “swamp” he intended to drain, asserted the former president did nothing to stop Russian meddling during the election.
On Monday, Trump tweeted: “Why did the Obama Administration start an investigation into the Trump Campaign (with zero proof of wrongdoing) long before the Election in November? Wanted to discredit so Crooked H would win. Unprecedented. Bigger than Watergate! Plus, Obama did NOTHING about Russian meddling.”
Among the additional controversies that have attracted attention: Mueller assembled a legal team for his Russia investigation of mostly Democrats and Democrat-connected lawyers.