WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A group of conservative Republicans, including some of U.S. President Donald Trump’s closest allies in Congress, on Tuesday demanded the appointment of a second special counsel to investigate the Department of Justice investigation into Trump’s campaign, Russia and the 2016 U.S. election.
At least 18 lawmakers support a resolution calling on U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions to appoint a special counsel to investigate what they describe as “misconduct” by the department and the FBI. A spokeswoman for the Department of Justice declined comment.
For months, conservatives have been criticizing the department, the FBI and Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of Russian interference in the election, but their rhetoric intensified after Trump suggested on Friday that the FBI might have planted or recruited an informant in his presidential campaign for political purposes.
Moscow denies any election meddling and Trump denies any collusion between Russian officials and his campaign, calling the investigations a political witch hunt.
On Monday, the Justice Department agreed to investigate “any irregularities” in FBI tactics related to Trump’s campaign. The agreement was made during a meeting between Trump, U.S. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and FBI Director Christopher Wray.
“It is time for transparency and it is time to allow the American people to know the truth,” Representative Mark Meadows, the Republican who leads the conservative Freedom Caucus, told a news conference announcing the resolution.
Representative Lee Zeldin, who led the push for the resolution, said it would be introduced later on Tuesday.
There was no immediate response from House leadership aides on whether the measure might come up for a vote. House Speaker Paul Ryan has said repeatedly, however, that he believed Mueller should be allowed to continue his work.
Reporting by Patricia Zengerle; editing by Grant McCool