It has gone from soft recommendations on cable news and in newspaper op-eds to the real deal – On Thursday, four Republican senators filed an official demand with the Department of Justice, asking Attorney General Jeff Sessions to appoint a second special counsel to oversee the investigation into the intelligence abuses of the Obama administration.
Senators Chuck Grassley, Lindsey Graham, Thom Tillis, and John Cornyn put their name to a letter to Sessions and Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein, demanding that the second special counsel be hired to help the inspector general of the DOJ in his investigation of FISA abuse, the mishandling of the Russia inquiry, and other related matters.
The Republican quartet said that while they respected the DOJ’s inspector general and his jurisdiction, he did not have the power to properly answer the many questions that Grassley and Graham have posed on the intelligence community’s Russia probe. “He does not have the tools,” they wrote, “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 continued. “The Justice Department cannot credibly investigate itself without these enhanced measures of independence to ensure that the public can have confidence in the outcome.”
Part of the problem with relying solely on the inspector general is that he does not have the power to demand answers from witnesses outside the Department of Justice. Therefore, he must rely solely on the word of Justice Department employees, many of whom have ulterior motives when it comes to covering up for the excesses of the Obama era. Deep state officials have reason to believe the Trump administration is “waging war” on the intelligence community, and they see themselves as fighters for freedom and truth. This has already inspired them to bend the law beyond the breaking point; it would certainly inspire them to lie to the inspector general.
President Trump himself expressed displeasure last month in Sessions’ willingness to leave the investigation in the hands of the inspector general – a man who, he noted, does not have subpoena power nor the ability to bring charges against those who have committed crimes.
The senators’ concerns stem from the same intelligence that gave rise to the shocking MEMO released by the House Intelligence Committee in February. That memo detailed the degree to which FBI officials misled the FISA court while trying to obtain a spy warrant on American citizen Carter Page. It also shed light on just how fully the intelligence community relied on the discredited Steele dossier when pursuing the Russia/Trump investigation.
Sessions has said he is open to the possibility of appointing another special counsel.