Four Republican senators followed up on House members’ request for a second special counsel to assist the inspector general with the Russia investigation, sending their own letter to the Department of Justice on Thursday.
Senators Chuck Grassley (R., Iowa), Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.), John Cornyn (R., Texas) and Thom Tillis (R., N.C.) signed a letter Thursday to Attorney General Jeff Sessions and his deputy Rod Rosenstein with the demand.
The new special counsel would investigate the FBI’s possible abuse of FISA warrants against Trump campaign advisor Carter Page, the FBI and DOJ’s handling of the investigation of fired national security advisor Michael Flynn, and other matters.
The inspector general’s office alone will not be able to perform a broad review of more than 30 classified and unclassified questions regarding the Trump-Russia probe that Grassley and Graham asked for in February, the senators explained.
The senators expressed their confidence in the inspector general but added he “does not have the tools that a prosecutor would to gather all the facts.”
“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,” they wrote. “The Justice Department cannot credibly investigate itself without these enhanced measures of independence to ensure that the public can have confidence in the outcome.”
Republican representatives Bob Goodlatte and Trey Gowdy made a similar demand last week. Their letter to Sessions requested that the new special counsel investigate “evidence of bias,” the “decisions to charge or not charge,” and the potential abuse of FISA warrants.
The congressmen agreed with the GOP senators that the inspector general is not capable of conducting such an investigation because he does not have a prosecutor’s authority.
Sessions said last week he is “seriously considering” a second special counsel to investigate potential abuses of power by the Justice Department and FBI.