Jason Chaffetz: Special Counsel Was Not Needed in Russia Probe
Former FBI Director Robert Mueller is most likely the best choice to investigate Russian meddling in the 2016 election, but a special counsel wasn’t needed, House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz said Thursday.
“I have not seen the direct, full evidence of an actual crime, and I believe they’re true professionals at the FBI and should be allowed to continue to do that job,” the Utah Republican told ABC News’ “Good Morning America” anchor George Stephanopoulos.
Although announcing the appointment, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said there unusual circumstances around the case.
Former FBI Director James Comey had been leading the investigation until he was fired by President Donald Trump. This week it was revealed Comey had written a memo and notes concerning statements made during a White House dinner concerning the FBI’s investigation of former national security adviser Michael Flynn.
“We like to see those notes,” said Chaffetz. “There was a New York Times article, and even the reporter hasn’t seen those. We asked the Department of Justice to see those documents.
“If we need to subpoena them we will, but we do need to see the full content of these materials and then also talk to Director Comey.”
Chaffetz’s committee has a hearing set for next Wednesday, and he said he would like Comey to testify.
“Just because there is an investigation or work done at the Department of Justice doesn’t excuse the Congress from doing its own work and getting to the bottom of things,” said Chaffetz.
He said he does not think there will be anything to prevent Comey from testifying.
“I do think in the light of day, in a public setting he should be able to tell us about not only the materials, if they’re there, and I question whether or not they’re actually there,” said Chaffetz.
Comey does have a history of taking notes of his conversations, the lawmaker conceded, but he wants to “have some skepticism and I’m not going to presuppose the conclusion either. I want to look at the information and hear about the person that actually wrote it. I think that’s the fair way.”
Chaffetz, also appearing on NBC’s “Today” show, further commented on a New York Times report that Flynn had told Trump’s transition team he was under investigation for working for Turkey during the presidential campaign, but was still named national security adviser.
“That goes to the office of the Director of National Intelligence.”
Chaffetz said his committee has referred the case to the secretary of the Army for a final determination, because Flynn, as a lieutenant general, should not have taken money from Turkey or Russia.
He does think Trump made the right decision to let Flynn go, and “knowing what we know now,” perhaps Flynn should not have been appointed.
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