Darrell Issa now says he won't commit to special prosecutor to look into Donald Trump's Russia ties

Darrell Issa, like current House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz, is downplaying the Russia scandal

By Matthew Rozsa

Staff Writer

Published February 28, 2017 3:58PM (EST)

 (AP/J. Scott Applewhite)
(AP/J. Scott Applewhite)

Days after indicating that he would be willing to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate President Donald Trump's connections to Russia, Rep. Darrell Issa is now backpedaling.

"I certainly could see where if there is an allegation of a crime at some point, the call for a special prosecutor makes sense," said Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., told CBS News Monday. "I think it’s very important to realize there’s been no allegation by any part of this administration or by anyone who’s been to the hearings about any crimes."

He added, "So one of the challenges we have is a special prosecutor exists when you have an individual under suspicion. Currently we don’t have that."

One of Issa's spokesmen later clarified to CBS News that Issa was not backtracking comments made during a Friday interview with Bill Maher that seemed to support appointing a special prosecutor, but that Issa was simply "adding detail." Issa "still supports an independent review of Russia – not one led by political appointees or others who could create a conflict of interest."

House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., also refused to call for a special prosecutor, but admitted that the questions being raised about Trump's connections with Russia are valid.

"We need answers. We need to make sure that nothing happened that shouldn't have happened as we go forward. That's exactly what we do in our jobs [in] Congress," Ryan said Tuesday.

On Monday, Ryan admitted to reporters that "We know Russia meddled in the election. No one is disputing that. And this last government gave us that information in the first place. No one is alleging that some American was in on it beforehand."

By Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a staff writer for Salon. He holds an MA in History from Rutgers University-Newark and is ABD in his PhD program in History at Lehigh University. His work has appeared in Mic, Quartz and MSNBC.

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Darrell Issa Donald Trump Paul Ryan Russia