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 ZeldinDemocratic retirements could make a tough midterm year even worse NY Democratic Party chair endorses Hochul bid for governor NY governor seeking to raise million ahead of next year's primary 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 SessionsTrump criticizes Justice for restoring McCabe's benefits McCabe wins back full FBI pension after being fired under Trump Overnight Hillicon Valley — Apple issues security update against spyware vulnerability 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 ClintonSuper PACs release ad campaign hitting Vance over past comments on Trump I voted for Trump in 2020 — he proved to be the ultimate RINO in 2021 Neera Tanden tapped as White House staff secretary 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 HiceRaffensperger calling for bipartisan federal election reform commission Democratic retirements could make a tough midterm year even worse Republicans plow forward with election challenges 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 TrumpSix big off-year elections you might be missing Twitter suspends GOP Rep. Banks for misgendering trans health official Meghan McCain to Trump: 'Thanks for the publicity' MORE and Deputy Attorney General Rod RosensteinRod RosensteinWashington still needs more transparency House Judiciary to probe DOJ's seizure of data from lawmakers, journalists The Hill's Morning Report - Biden-Putin meeting to dominate the week MORE, who oversees special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerSenate Democrats urge Garland not to fight court order to release Trump obstruction memo Why a special counsel is guaranteed if Biden chooses Yates, Cuomo or Jones as AG Barr taps attorney investigating Russia probe origins as special counsel 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.