WASHINGTON — A member of President Donald Trump's legal team said Tuesday that it's time to create a second special counsel to start investigating the FBI and Department of Justice.
Jay Sekulow confirmed his remarks, which were first reported by Axios, in which he said the DOJ and FBI can no longer ignore the "multiple problems" created by "obvious conflicts of interest" while a special counsel investigates allegations of collusion between Russia and Trump's presidential campaign. Robert Mueller, a former FBI director, began leading that federal probe in May.
"These new revelations require the appointment of a special counsel to investigate," Sekulow said. He said the call for another special counsel "has nothing to do with Bob Mueller or Mueller's team."
He cited a Fox News report that said senior Justice Department official Bruce Ohr was demoted last week amid an investigation that he met with the founder of Fusion GPS, an intelligence firm that was collecting anti-Trump opposition research, after the 2016 election.
During the presidential campaign, according to Fox News, Ohr also met with Christopher Steele, the former British intelligence operative who authored a dossier that documented Trump's alleged ties to Russia. It was reported that Ohr's wife worked for Fusion GPS during the election.
NBC News verified that Ohr was demoted.
Trump has denounced the controversial Steele dossier, although members of Mueller's team did interview him as part of their investigation.
Sekulow's comments also come on the heels of new reports that found a top FBI agent who was part of the Russia probe was reassigned over the summer for potentially sharing personal texts that were critical of Trump.
The agent, Peter Strzok, was removed from Mueller's team when the Justice Department inspector general's office found the potentially disparaging texts he had sent to a colleague with whom he had been having an affair. The matter is now an ongoing investigation by the inspector general's office, the FBI said.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who has recused himself from the Russia investigation, later said he asked the FBI director to make any necessary management changes to the agency. The FBI agent's potential actions, he added, "would raise serious questions of public trust."
In recent weeks, Democrats and some Republicans have urged the Trump administration to allow Mueller's investigation to unfold unobstructed.
Mueller's investigation has led to two indictments and two guilty pleas by former associates with the Trump campaign, including former national security adviser Michael Flynn, who pleaded guilty this month to making false statements to the FBI as part of the probe.