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Chaffetz sees no 'actual crime' for special Russia counsel to investigate

House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason ChaffetzJason ChaffetzIngraham’s ratings spike a wake-up for advertisers Boehner to campaign for House GOP candidates Americans want to protect public lands, Congress should listen MORE (R-Utah) on Wednesday broke with the broad bipartisan consensus supporting the appointment of a special counsel to investigate Russia's meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

"I have not seen any evidence of actual collusion. Where is the actual crime that they think they need a special prosecutor to prosecute?" he asked during an interview with Fox News host Tucker Carlson. 
 
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While President Trump has repeatedly denied collusion between his campaign and Moscow during the presidential election, those allegations are part of the broader investigation into Russia's actions during the campaign. 

Prior to the Department of Justice appointment of former FBI Director Robert Mueller as a special counsel, most Republicans held off from backing the need for a special appointment. However, on Wednesday night a growing number quickly endorsed the move as a path forward on investigating Russia's election interference in the midst of an increasingly muddled investigation. Trump fired the man leading the investigation at the FBI, former Director James Comey, last week. The president's actions raised questions about the independence of the probe as well as additional allegations of interference by the White House.

"I don't think they should have actually appointed somebody," Chaffetz said on Fox News, while also praising Mueller's credentials.

Chaffetz said that he was blindsided by the Justice Department's decision to appoint a special counsel on Wednesday night.

"[I am] very surprised by it. No heads-up. I don't think the Speaker's office got a heads up. ... It caught us totally out of the blue," he said.

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The White House was also reportedly not aware of the Department of Justice appointment of former FBI Director Robert Mueller as a special counsel until shortly before it was made public.

According to a report by CNN, Trump was meeting FBI director candidates when officials were informed that a special prosecutor was being appointed to spearhead the investigation into Russia's interference in the 2016 election.

"It's still sinking in," one administration official told CNN. "We were told about it. Not asked about it."
 
Chaffetz went on to raise concerns during his Fox News appearance that Democrats will "politically exploit" the investigation.