Grassley: 'Too soon' for decision on special prosecutor in Trump-Russia probe
© Greg Nash

Sen. Chuck GrassleyChuck GrassleySenate panel questions Lynch on alleged FBI interference The Hill's 12:30 Report GOP senator surprises top Dem with birthday cake MORE (R-Iowa) will use a hearing on Tuesday for two top Department of Justice (DOJ) nominees to push back against Democratic calls for a special prosecutor to oversee any investigation into connections between President Trump's campaign and Russia.  

"There are times when special counsels are appropriate. But it’s far too soon to tell here. And even if there were evidence of a crime related to any of these matters, once confirmed Mr. [Rod] Rosenstein can decide how to handle it," Grassley will say, according to excerpts of his opening remarks. 
 
The Judiciary Committee — which Grassley oversees — will hold a hearing on Rosenstein's nomination to be deputy attorney general on Tuesday.
 
With Attorney General Jeff SessionsJeff SessionsSally Yates slams Sessions on criminal justice reform Preet Bharara emailed DOJ about phone call from Trump: report Sessions backs LGBT Pride Month event MORE recusing himself from any current or future probes into potential ties between the Trump campaign and Moscow, Rosenstein may ultimately make decisions about a DOJ investigation into Russia's contacts to Trump's team and the influence and hacking campaign the nation ran to help elect him.
 
Grassley will add on Tuesday that he knows of "no reason to question [Rosenstein's] judgment, integrity or impartiality." 
 
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Democrats are expected to use Tuesday's hearing to quiz Rosenstein on Sessions's decision to recuse himself and to probe whether the career DOJ official will commit to naming a special prosecutor. 
 
Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles SchumerFCC advances proposal to unmask blocked caller ID in threat cases Trump: Pelosi's leadership good for the GOP Live coverage: Senate GOP unveils its ObamaCare repeal bill MORE (D-N.Y.) called his position on a special counsel "far and away the most important question he needs to answer." 
 
But Grassley hit back on the Democratic push, arguing they are flip-flopping after dismissing calls from GOP lawmakers for special prosecutors during the Obama administration, including one to oversee a probe into Democratic presidential nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Rodham ClintonTrump notes 'election meddling by Russia' in tweet criticizing Obama Former Obama advisor calls Fox ‘state sanctioned media’ Biden rips Senate GOP healthcare bill, says it 'isn't about healthcare' MORE's use of a private email server while secretary of State. 
 
“I can’t help but notice the selective nature of these latest calls for a special counsel," he will say. "It would be easier to credit calls for special counsels if they were made with some consistency and intellectual honesty.”
 
 
The FBI hasn't publicly confirmed that it is investigating any potential ties between the Trump campaign and Russian intelligence officials. Most GOP lawmakers are leaving a probe of any contact between the two to the House and Senate Intelligence committees, which are conducting larger investigations into Russia's meddling in the White House race. 
 
Democratic senators have pushed for the congressional investigations to be more transparent because most of the Intelligence Committee's work happens in classified, closed-door meetings. 
 
But Grassley will counter on Tuesday that naming a special prosecutor could hinder, not help, transparency. 

"The investigations can just disappear without the public ever understanding what the facts were. … So, the notion that somehow a special counsel will bring facts to light just isn’t true," he will say, according to the excerpts.