Boca Raton Rep. Ted Deutch, the top Democrat on the House Ethics Committee, is now calling for an independent inquiry into alleged ties between Russia and Donald Trump‘s campaign.
His comments come days after House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes broke protocol by going directly to the White House to tell Trump about intelligence reports that involved some of his associates, and not telling committee members first.
That was followed Thursday by an Associated Press report that in 2005, Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort pitched a plan to a Russian oligarch that he claimed would benefit Vladamir Putin’s image inside the U.S.
“When the Chairman of the Committee decided to share information first with the Speaker, then rushing to the White House to share it with the president, information that appears to be classified information, it makes it hard for people to have confidence in his ability to move forward,” Deutch said speaking on NPR’s Morning Edition. “That’s why there needs to be an independent investigation.”
Deutch is hardly the first Florida Democrat to call for an independent inquiry, but unlike other Democrats, he’s not calling for a special prosecutor or a 9/11 style commission, saying that will take too long to set up. Instead, he wants House Speaker Paul Ryan to name a special select committee to investigate the allegations about Russian and Trump, à la the committee that looked into Benghazi.
“We should also have a discussion about whether a select committee that would give Democrats and Republicans both the opportunity to issue subpoenas and work in a more dedicated fashion to this issue alone … but independence is what is necessary, and it’s necessary right now,” Deutch said.
The South Florida Congressman noted that Ryan has not been reluctant to commit resources toward appointing select committees during his tenure as House Speaker, referring to a select committee he called to investigate Planned Parenthood.
“Certainly, it would make some sense and show some leadership and allow us to move forward with an independent investigation into the Trump campaign and White House’ ties to Russia,” he said.