Schumer: Sessions must recuse himself from criminal Flynn probe
© Greg Nash

Sen. Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis Schumer4 in 5 Americans say they support net neutrality: poll GOP senator: Trump's criticism of McCain 'deplorable' Schumer to introduce bill naming Senate office building after McCain amid Trump uproar MORE (D-N.Y.) is demanding that newly sworn-in Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsMueller's investigation ends, but divisive political circus will continue Mueller delivers report to Justice, ending investigation Trump says 'people will not stand' for Mueller report MORE step back from any investigation into ousted national security adviser Michael Flynn's conversations with the Russian ambassador. 

"Because the rules are so clear, I expect Attorney General Sessions will recuse himself and make sure that an independent and thorough investigation proceeds," the Senate's top Democrat told reporters. "The American people deserve a full investigation."
 
Schumer argued that Department of Justice rules block Sessions from being involved in any investigation because guidelines prohibit an employee from taking part in a criminal investigation if they have a "personal or political" relationship with the subject of the investigation. 
 
"Jeff Sessions was chairman of the national security advisory committee, alongside Gen. Michael Flynn. He was a senior adviser in the Trump campaign," Schumer said. "Those facts and the Department of Justices's own rules disqualify Attorney General Sessions from running this investigation." 
 
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Schumer declined to specify what form the investigation should take or who would run such an investigation, stressing that his only guidelines aside from Sessions stepping aside was that it be "independent, transparent and impartial." 
 
Flynn stepped down on Monday night amid fallout over reports that he talked with Russia before Trump's inauguration about sanctions targeting the country. Neither the FBI nor Justice Department has publicly confirmed that it is investigating Flynn's conversations. 
 
Democrats are trying to leverage the twist to demand that an independent commission probe Flynn's talks with Moscow as part of a larger investigation into Russia's meddling in the U.S. presidential race. 
 
Top Republicans appeared to shoot that down on Tuesday, noting the Senate Intelligence Committee was already investigating Russia's involvement and had the jurisdiction to fold in Flynn. 
 
Schumer, however, argued that an outside investigation that would have the ability to pursue criminal charges is needed. 
 
"There are particular violations of law here," he said, pointing to the Logan Act, which limits who can conduct foreign policy. 
 
Schumer outlined what questions he wants answered: Did someone authorize Flynn's talks; why wasn't he fired earlier; what was the extent of his contact with Russia; and who else within the Trump administration, transition or campaign had contact with the Russians?
 
"These are just a few of the questions that need to be answered, and these questions shouldn't just apply to Gen. Flynn," he said. "There needs to be an independent and transparent investigation because the White House knew for weeks that Gen. Flynn misled the vice president." 
 
He added that "any attempt to lie or mislead must be countered with the full force of the law."