South Carolina Rep. Trey Gowdy and Virginia Rep. Bob Goodlatte are formally calling for the appointment of a special counsel to investigate potential bias and FISA abuses at the Department of Justice.
“Matters have arisen — both recently and otherwise — which necessitate the appointment of a Special Counsel,” reads a letter that Gowdy and Goodlatte sent out Tuesday to Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.
If appointed, the special counsel would operate parallel to Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election.
The letter marks a significant development, largely because both Gowdy and Goodlatte have so far resisted requests from conservative Republicans for a special counsel to investigate the Justice Department and FBI’s handling of the infamous Steele dossier.
Gowdy and Goodlatte, who chair the House Oversight and House Judiciary Committees, respectively, are calling into question the government’s use of the dossier to obtain FISA warrants against former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.
The two Republicans say that a special counsel is needed “to review evidence of bias by any employee or agent of the DOJ, FBI, or other agencies” and to determine whether the government’s use of the FISA process against Page “was lawful and pursuant to all relevant policies and procedures.” (RELATED: Gowdy: A Second Special Counsel ‘May Be Unavoidable’)
“There is evidence of bias, trending toward animus, among those charged with investigating serious cases,” reads the letter from Gowdy and Goodlatte.
Republican lawmakers have alleged that the FBI and DOJ withheld material information about the dossier, including the fact that it was financed by the Clinton campaign and Democratic National Committee.
The FBI and DOJ obtained four FISA warrants against Page, with the first one issued on Oct. 21, 2016.
“There is evidence political opposition research was used in court filings,” write Gowdy and Goodlatte, who noted that the dossier was “neither vetted before it was used nor fully revealed to the relevant tribunal.”
Gowdy, who recently announced that he will not run for re-election in November, has been especially reluctant to calls for a special counsel. But he signaled change last Sunday when he said in a Fox News interview that a special counsel “may be unavoidable.”
One argument he made in support of an independent investigator was the dossier was handled by officials in numerous government agencies, including the FBI, Justice Department, State Department, CIA, and Obama White House.
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