Senate Republicans call for special counsel to investigate DOJ's Russia probe

Four Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee are making the demand.

They requested that a special counsel assist the DOJ inspector general in digging into possible misuse of the foreign intelligence surveillance system to obtain warrants against a former Trump campaign aide, leaks of classified intelligence to the media, and “potential improprieties in the FBI’s relationship with Christopher Steele.”

Grassley and Graham already made a criminal referral to the DOJ two months ago concerning former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele - author of the so-called “Trump dossier” - recommending that officials investigate possible false statements by Steele to federal officials.

One Senate Judiciary Committee Democratic source said, "They keep forgetting that the Russia investigation started with (former Trump campaign aide) George Papadopoulos and his Russia-related contacts."

Buried in the list of more than 30 questions that the senators want investigated is an allegation by Grassley that former FBI director James Comey may have lied to Congress.

“Chairman Grassley wrote to former Director Comey nearly a year ago requesting him to resolve apparent material discrepancies between information he provided in a closed briefing and information contained in classified documents,” the letter reads. “Specifically, what Mr. Comey disclosed in a private briefing to the Chairman and Ranking Member Feinstein about the timeline of the FBI’s interactions with Mr. Steele appeared inconsistent with information contained in FISA applications the Chairman and Ranking Member later reviewed.”

Grassley goes on to say, “It’s unclear whether this was a deliberate attempt to mislead the Oversight Committee about whether the FBI’s communications with Mr. Steele about the Trump allegations began before or after the FBI opened the investigation.”

“No explanation for the inconsistencies has ever been provided,” the letter states.

Democrats often say that Republicans, in attacking the Russia investigation, are merely trying to protect the president.