Rep. Darrell Issa: Jeff Sessions Should Recuse Himself from Trump-Russia Investigation

On ‘Real Time with Bill Maher,’ the California GOP state representative—and chair of the House Judiciary Committee—advocated for an investigation into Trump and Russia.


This week, CNN broke the news that White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus requested to FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe that the Bureau publicly dismiss numerous media reports concerning communications between Trump’s inner circle and Russia during the U.S. presidential race.

“The direct communications between the White House and the FBI were unusual because of decade-old restrictions on such contacts. Such a request from the White House is a violation of procedures that limit communications with the FBI on pending investigations,” reported CNN.

So, on Friday night’s edition of Real Time with Bill Maher, the titular host—when he wasn’t busy espousing casual transphobia—brought Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Ca.) on the program to discuss the big news. Issa served as Chairman of the House Oversight Committee from 2011 to 2015, and currently chairs the House Judiciary Committee and serves on the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.

“You were head of the House Oversight Committee. Now, we have this situation where it comes out this week that Reince Preibus was talking to the FBI—he’s the chief of staff,” said Maher. “All of our intelligence agencies—you have great respect for them, you’re a veteran—they all said that the Russians hacked one side, like a poker game where one player has the cards up, they just hacked the Democrats. And we know for a fact that people in the Trump administration had dealings and talks with the Russians during the campaign. OK, so let’s go back to 2012. Say the Russians hacked only Mitt Romney and there was a lot of contact between the Obama administration and Russia. You gonna let that slide?” “No,” Issa replied.

“So you’re not gonna let this slide?” fired back Maher. “No,” said Issa. “We’re gonna ask the intelligence committees of the House and Senate to investigate within the special areas they oversee.” “No. We need an independent prosecutor,” continued Maher. “And Jeff Sessions should recuse himself the same way Loretta Lynch recused herself, because he was part of the Trump campaign.”

Then Issa, one of the more anti-Obama Republican congressmen in the House, said something surprising concerning Attorney General Jeff Sessions. “As I was saying, number two would be, you’re right that you cannot have somebody—a friend of mine, Jeff Sessions—who was on the campaign and who was an appointee. You’re going to need to use the special prosecutor’s statute and office not just to recuse, you can’t just give it to your deputy—that’s another political appointee—you do have to do that.” “Here’s the reason we’re going to have to do it, Bill,” added Issa. “There may or may not be fault, but the American people who are beginning to understand that Putin murders his enemies, sometimes right in front of the Kremlin, and then the cameras don’t work there… he’s murdered people and taken down using cyberwarfare in Georgia and the Ukraine. This is a bad guy who murders people, who runs a gas station with an economy the size of Italy but is screwing up things all over the world [who] we’ve been ‘working with.’ Now, we have to work with them—we don’t have to trust them. And we need to investigate their activities, and we need to do it because they are bad people.”