WASHINGTON ― Rep. Steve Knight (R-Calif.) on Tuesday called for the appointment of a special prosecutor to investigate Russia’s interference in last year’s presidential election.
“It is time for an investigation of Russia’s intervention in the U.S. Election,” Knight said in a statement. “There is too much at stake at home and abroad to not take this step. There is so much conflicting information from many sources; Americans deserve the opportunity to learn the truth.”
Knight joins two other California Republicans who have called for a special prosecutor to investigate Russia’s role in the election ― Rep. Tom McClintock and Rep. Darrell Issa. Issa, however, later seemed to walk back his statement, clarifying that a special prosecutor was needed only if there is an “allegation of a crime.”
“Currently we don’t have that,” Issa, former chair of the House Oversight Committee, said in February.
Knight and Issa represent districts won by Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election ― seats national Democrats have targeted to flip in 2018.
Republicans have generally resisted calls for a special prosecutor, arguing an independent authority would impede existing inquiries within the FBI, and in the Senate and House intelligence committees. Democrats, however, have pointed to the president’s firing of FBI Director James Comey last week as furher reason an independent or special counsel is needed to investigate the matter.
While Knight and McClintock are the only two House Republicans to call for a special prosecutor so far, a growing number of their GOP colleagues have stepped closer to calling for an “independent” investigation of Russia’s role in the election. In carefully worded statements, several GOP lawmakers have said that, under the right circumstances, an independent investigation would be appropriate.