House conservatives introduce resolution calling for second special counsel

House conservatives introduce resolution calling for second special counsel
© Greg Nash

House conservatives introduced a resolution on Tuesday calling for the appointment of a second special counsel to investigate possible misconduct by the Department of Justice and the FBI during the 2016 presidential race. 

"The Justice Department cannot be expected to investigate itself," Rep. Lee ZeldinLee ZeldinGOP rep: I wasn't 'duped into an interview by Borat' Man arrested after allegedly threatening to kill Trump supporters, GOP lawmaker Donald Trump Jr. called to check on GOP campaign volunteer after reported threats MORE (R-N.Y.), flanked by 11 other Republican lawmakers, said at a press conference announcing the measure. 

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Zeldin said Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsData confirm that marijuana decriminalization is long overdue The FIRST STEP Act sets up a dangerous future The Sessions DOJ is working to end the great asylum hustle MORE should tap an independent investigator to examine whether FBI and Justice Department officials obtained surveillance warrants with insufficient evidence.

The Republicans also want a probe to look into the government's decision to end the investigation of former Secretary of State Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonBernie Sanders: Trump 'so tough' on child separations but not on Putin Anti-Trump protests outside White House continue into fifth night Opera singers perform outside White House during fourth day of protests MORE's use of a private email server and the reasoning behind the government's decision to launch a probe into possible ties between the Trump campaign and Russia.

House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows (N.C.) and Reps. Jim Jordan (Ohio), Matt Gaetz (Fla.), Louie Gohmert (Texas), Claudia Tenney (N.Y.) and Jody HiceJody Brownlow HiceHouse Freedom Caucus roiled by Trump's attacks on Mark Sanford Conservatives express concern over House GOP immigration bill House conservatives introduce resolution calling for second special counsel MORE (Ga.) were among the Republicans at the press conference.

The press conference came a day after an unusual meeting at the White House between President TrumpDonald John TrumpWSJ: Trump ignored advice to confront Putin over indictments Trump hotel charging Sean Spicer ,000 as book party venue Bernie Sanders: Trump 'so tough' on child separations but not on Putin MORE and Deputy Attorney General Rod RosensteinRod Jay RosensteinHillicon Valley: Trump's Russia moves demoralize his team | Congress drops effort to block ZTE deal | Rosenstein warns of foreign influence threat | AT&T's latest 5G plans The Hill's Morning Report — Trump and Congress at odds over Russia Rosenstein warns of growing cyber threat from Russia, other foreign actors MORE, who oversees special counsel Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE's investigation into Russia's role in the 2016 presidential election.

Rosenstein has agreed to have the Department of Justice inspector general review whether the FBI has done anything inappropriate in its investigation of the Trump campaign, which predated Mueller's probe. Trump demanded action after reports that an FBI informant talked to three members of the Trump campaign team. 

Sessions has declined requests for an additional special counsel but did tap John Huber, a federal prosecutor in Utah, to look into allegations last month. 

The 12-page resolution lists a series of points that the lawmakers say warrant an investigation.

The document questions whether top FBI and Justice Department officials acted in a politically motivated way during the election, including how "insufficient intelligence and biased motivations" may have launched the counterintelligence investigation into Russian interference.

The resolution alleges that "deeply flawed and questionable" Foreign Surveillance Act warrant applications were obtained during the election by government officials to surveil Trump campaign aides. It says the warrants were obtained on the basis of "illicit sources and politically biased intelligence."

Democrats have blasted the GOP calls for a second special counsel as an attempt to distract or even undermine Mueller's investigation in order to shield Trump. 

The lawmakers attending the press conference, when asked, said the president has not encouraged them to pursue this resolution.