Republicans are increasingly divided over the issue of whether members of Donald Trump's presidential campaign made illegal contact with Russia and if a special prosecutor should be appointed over Attorney General Jeff Sessions to investigate such allegations.
Former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski told “Fox News Sunday” that he has confidence in Sessions, a Trump campaign supporter and former Alabama senator, and his judgment.
“If he wants to investigate this under the Department of Justice, that’s his prerogative,” Lewandowski said. “I have the utmost confidence in Attorney General Sessions. If he believes there is something there, he will investigate that. I think he is completely capable and competent to do so. … and I would leave it in his hands.”
Lewandowski’s comments follow California Rep. Darrell Issa telling HBO’s “Real Time with Bill Maher” on Friday that neither Sessions nor a deputy, who would both be Trump appointees, should handle such a probe.
On Sunday, Issa, a Trump supporter and a former chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, told Fox News that Trump is “a president whom I trust” but that a special prosecutor should handle the probe so Americans can feel assured.
“Openness and transparency are the best way,” Issa said.
The U.S. intelligence committee has concluded that Russia meddled in the 2016 White House race, in which Trump defeated Democrat Hillary Clinton, whose campaign was the target of an email hacking.
Trump has denied a connection to Russian President Vladimir Putin. And Lewandowski on Sunday denied “never, ever" having had contact with Russian officials or having knowledge of anybody on the campaign doing so.
Former Army Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn acknowledged talking to a Russian diplomat before becoming Trump’s national security adviser. However, he was forced to resign a few weeks ago for not telling Vice President Pence about the call.
White House Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Sunday on ABC's "This Week" that dicussions about Sessions or a special prosecutor wouldn't be appropriate until congressional committees complete their investigations.
Also on Sunday, Arkansas GOP Sen. Tom Cotton, a Trump supporter and member of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, cautioned against immediate calls for a special prosecutor.
"I think that's way, way getting ahead of ourselves,” Cotton said on NBC's "Meet the Press." "There are no allegations of any crime occurring. There's not even an indication that there's criminal investigations under way by the FBI.”
However, Cotton left open the possibility of deciding in the future about using a special prosecutor into the matter.