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Jeff Sessions and Rod Rosenstein. Photo: Mark Wilson / Getty Images

Senators Chuck Grassley, Lindsey Graham, John Cornyn and Thom Tillis have requested a second special counsel appointed to investigate the DOJ and FBI's review of matters related to the Trump-Russia investigation prior to the appointment of Robert Mueller, in a letter sent to Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.

Here's why: Last month Grassley and Graham asked the Inspector General to review issues surrounding the application and renewals of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant to investigate Christopher Steele, the author of the Trump-Russia dossier, but they write that the DOJ “cannot credibly investigate itself."

This isn't their first request: Grassley, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and Graham, chairman of the Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism, previously asked the IG to look into potential improprieties in the FBI’s relationship with Steele. They also request information on potential conflicts of interest at the FBI, allegedly unauthorized disclosures from the FBI to the press, and information about the FBI’s handling of the investigation into former National Security Adviser Mike Flynn.

Their reasoning for the special counsel: They write that "by statute, the Inspector General does not have the tools that a prosecutor would to gather all the facts, such as the ability to obtain testimony from essential witnesses who are not current DOJ employees."

Go deeper

Scoop: Gina Haspel threatened to resign over plan to install Kash Patel as CIA deputy

CIA Director Gina Haspel. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

CIA Director Gina Haspel threatened to resign in early December after President Trump cooked up a hasty plan to install loyalist Kash Patel, a former aide to Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), as her deputy, according to three senior administration officials with direct knowledge of the matter.

Why it matters: The revelation stunned national security officials and almost blew up the leadership of the world's most powerful spy agency. Only a series of coincidences — and last minute interventions from Vice President Mike Pence and White House counsel Pat Cipollone — stopped it.

Updated 9 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus deaths reach 4,000 per day as hospitals remain in crisis mode — CDC warns highly transmissible coronavirus variant could become dominant in U.S. in March.
  2. Politics: Biden says, "We will manage the hell out of" vaccine distribution — Biden taps ex-FDA chief to lead Operation Warp Speed amid rollout of COVID plan — Widow of GOP congressman-elect who died of COVID-19 will run to fill his seat.
  3. Vaccine: Battling Black mistrust of the vaccines"Pharmacy deserts" could become vaccine deserts — Instacart to give $25 to shoppers who get vaccine.
  4. Economy: Unemployment filings explode againFed chair: No interest rate hike coming any time soon —  Inflation rose more than expected in December.
  5. World: WHO team arrives in China to investigate pandemic origins.

John Weaver, Lincoln Project co-founder, acknowledges “inappropriate” messages

John Weaver aboard John McCain's campaign plane in February 2000. Photo: Robert Schmidt/AFP via Getty Images)

John Weaver, a veteran Republican operative who co-founded the Lincoln Project, declared in a statement to Axios on Friday that he sent “inappropriate,” sexually charged messages to multiple men.

  • “To the men I made uncomfortable through my messages that I viewed as consensual mutual conversations at the time: I am truly sorry. They were inappropriate and it was because of my failings that this discomfort was brought on you,” Weaver said.
  • “The truth is that I'm gay,” he added. “And that I have a wife and two kids who I love. My inability to reconcile those two truths has led to this agonizing place.”