Rep. Darrell Issa, R-CA., has become the first member of his party to call for an independent investigation into the possibility of Russia using cyberwarfare to influence the 2016 election despite the White House’s dismissal of the claims.
“You cannot have somebody, a friend of mine Jeff Sessions, who was on the campaign and who is an appointee,” Issa said. “You’re going to need to use the special prosecutor’s statute and office to take — not just to recuse. You can’t just give it to your deputy. That’s another political appointee.”
Issa emphasized that while there may or not be fault, it’s important to understand that Putin is a “bad guy” who has used cyberwarfare in Georgia and Ukraine and that we need to investigate these accusations.
In a separate interview with Today, when asked about the accusations, former-President George W. Bush said “we need answers.” While he said he didn’t know whether or not a special prosecutor would be necessary the former president said he does have great faith in Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., who leads the Senate Intelligence Committee.
President Trump has rejected calls for an independent investigation into the subject and on Monday, reportedly told a group of business leaders that he hasn’t called Russia in a decade while speaking at a White House meeting with healthcare executives, according to the Los Angeles Times.
The president also answered no when asked if a special prosecutor would be assigned to the investigation.
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Devin Nunes R- CA denied there was any evidence from the intelligence community of contacts between Trump campaign officials and Russian operatives on Monday.
Nunes is leading the investigation of the accusations in the lower chamber.
“As of right now, I don’t have any evidence of any phone calls. It doesn’t mean they don’t exist. . . . What I’ve been told by many folks is that there’s nothing there,” Nunes said according to the Washington Post adding that if there was any evidence of serious crime, the committee would “consider” the need for an independent prosecutor.
Nunes’ comments mark the first time a leading House republican has blatantly denied that they have not seen any evidence of inappropriate communications between Trump aides and Russia. The FBI is currently investigating the allegations stemming from Trump ties to Russia as well.