Republican Congressman calls for independent prosecutor to investigate Donald Trump

Laurel Raymond

Laurel Raymond General Reporter, Think Progress

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) said on Friday night that an independent special prosecutor should investigate potential ties between Russia and the Donald Trump campaign.

“You’re right that you cannot have somebody — a friend of mine, Jeff Sessions — who was on the campaign and who is an appointee,” Issa said on HBO’s Real Time. “You’re going to need to use the special prosecutor’s statute and office.” He also added that it wouldn’t be enough to hand the job instead to the deputy attorney general, who is also a political appointee.

Issa formerly served as the head of the House Oversight committee, where he conducted repeated investigations of the Obama White House. Issa once called Obama “one of the most corrupt presidents in modern times.” Issa’s high-theater investigations, however, often failed to show direct culpability on the part of President Obama or his White House.

Rep. Elijah Cummings (MD), the ranking Democrat on the committee, said that the four years of Issa’s leadership “were filled with acrimony, partisanship and sometimes vulgar displays” when Issa handed the gavel to Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT).

Issa’s comments on Friday came after extensive prodding by Real Time host Bill Maher — at first, he said the investigation would be carried out within the House and Senate intelligence committees, which is a favored GOP line.

But in saying to Maher that that wouldn’t be enough, Issa took a lonely stance in the Republican party. Those Republicans in Congress who have called for an investigation into the Russian hacking have thus far mostly insisted that such an investigation be carried out in congressional committees.

Instead, Issa’s comments echo the calls of Congressional Democrats, many of whom have called for Sessions to recuse himself and for a special investigation to look into the allegations.

The FBI is currently conducting its own investigation into the Russian hacking of the 2016 election, and allegations of contact between Russians known to U.S. intelligence and advisers on the Trump campaign.

As it stands, however, the results of that investigation will be turned over to Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who has not recused himself. Sessions, as Issa says, was heavily involved in the Trump campaign, the very thing under investigation.

Currently, Republicans hold both houses of Congress, and Republicans in charge of critical committees have been reluctant to investigate allegations against President Donald Trump.

Calls for an independent investigation grew stronger this week as a result of the news that White House chief of staff Reince Priebus had contacted the FBI to request that it publicly knock down reports about the ongoing investigation. This contact appears to violate DOJ guidelines, and depending on the exact nature of Priebus’ request — which is currently disputed — this request may also have violated federal law.

The Trump administration also deputized key lawmakers in this attempt. On Friday, the Washington Post broke news that the White House asked the heads of both the House and Senate intelligence committees, Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) and Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA), to counter allegations in the press about the extent of the Trump campaign’s contact with Russia.

Burr and Nunes are currently in charge of the congressional investigations. Nunes served as a member of Trump’s transition team.

A spokesman for Nunes told the Post that the congressman had already been challenging the story to reporters, and “at the request of a White House communications aide,” delivered the same message to another reporter. Burr, in an interview, also acknowledged “having conversations about” the Russia-related news coverage, and had spoken with news organizations to dispute the articles.

“I’ve had those conversations,” Burr told the Post, saying he thought the comments were appropriate and adding, “I felt I had something to share that didn’t breach my responsibilities to the committee in an ongoing investigation.”

Posted In: Allied Approaches

Union Matters

Get to Know AFL-CIO's Affiliates: National Association of Letter Carriers

From the AFL-CIO

Next up in our series that takes a deeper look at each of our affiliates is the National Association of Letter Carriers.

Name of Union: National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC)

Mission: To unite fraternally all city letter carriers employed by the U.S. Postal Service for their mutual benefit; to obtain and secure rights as employees of the USPS and to strive at all times to promote the safety and the welfare of every member; to strive for the constant improvement of the Postal Service; and for other purposes. NALC is a single-craft union and is the sole collective-bargaining agent for city letter carriers.

Current Leadership of Union: Fredric V. Rolando serves as president of NALC, after being sworn in as the union's 18th president in 2009. Rolando began his career as a letter carrier in 1978 in South Miami before moving to Sarasota in 1984. He was elected president of Branch 2148 in 1988 and served in that role until 1999. In the ensuing years, he worked in various roles for NALC before winning his election as a national officer in 2002, when he was elected director of city delivery. In 2006, he won election as executive vice president. Rolando was re-elected as NALC president in 2010, 2014 and 2018.

Brian Renfroe serves as executive vice president, Lew Drass as vice president, Nicole Rhine as secretary-treasurer, Paul Barner as assistant secretary-treasurer, Christopher Jackson as director of city delivery, Manuel L. Peralta Jr. as director of safety and health, Dan Toth as director of retired members, Stephanie Stewart as director of the Health Benefit Plan and James W. “Jim” Yates as director of life insurance.

Number of Members: 291,000 active and retired letter carriers.

Members Work As: City letter carriers.

Industries Represented: The United States Postal Service.

History: In 1794, the first letter carriers were appointed by Congress as the implementation of the new U.S. Constitution was being put into effect. By the time of the Civil War, free delivery of city mail was established and letter carriers successfully concluded a campaign for the eight-hour workday in 1888. The next year, letter carriers came together in Milwaukee and the National Association of Letter Carriers was formed.

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There is Dignity in All Work

There is Dignity in All Work