Updated 5:18 AM ET, Sat January 6, 2018
Washington (CNN) GOP Rep. Chris Stewart, a member of the House Intelligence Committee, joined the growing list of Republicans calling for Attorney General Jeff Sessions to resign.
“This is hard for me, it really is, because I think Jeff Sessions is one of the most honorable men in Washington, D.C.,” Stewart told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer Friday afternoon. “But we have been weakened in our investigation into very important concerns at the Department of Justice and the FBI. Jeff Sessions is not able to take the reins and direct that investigation.”
He continued: “We need the director there who can take the reins and be assertive in that. He can’t do that when he is recused. I believe it may be time for him to step aside.”
Because of his recusal, Sessions is unable to act on the department’s current Russia probe — spearheaded by special counsel Robert Mueller’s team, appointed in May, and overseen by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. But a new attorney general, appointed by Trump, would not be bound by those restrictions, and could potentially fire Rosenstein and Mueller and reassert control over the investigation.
In the call, Stewart joined Mark Meadows, Freedom Caucus chair, and Jim Jordan, a member who sits on the oversight and judiciary committees in the US House of Representatives, who wrote an op-ed for the Washington Examiner and criticized Sessions’ handling of the department’s investigations into Russian meddling in the 2016 election.
“Attorney General Jeff Sessions has recused himself from the Russia investigation, but it would appear he has no control at all of the premier law enforcement agency in the world,” they wrote. “It is time for Sessions to start managing in a spirit of transparency to bring all of this improper behavior to light and stop further violations.”
The Republican congressmen wrote that “if Sessions can’t address this issue immediately, then we have one final question needing an answer: When is it time for a new attorney general? Sadly, it seems the answer is now.”