George W. Bush on appointing special prosecutor to investigate Trump: ‘We all need answers’

Aaron Rupar

Aaron Rupar Journalist, Think Progress

Over the weekend, Rep. Darrel Issa (R-CA) became the first and so far the only Republican to come out in favor of appointing a special prosecutor to investigate the Trump campaign’s connections with Russia.

Asked about Issa’s position during a Today interview on Monday, former President George W. Bush said, “We all need answers.”

“Whether or not the special prosecutor is the right way to go, you’re talking to the wrong guy,” Bush continued. “I have great faith in Richard Burr, for example — he’s head of the Senate Intelligence Committee, really good guy, an independent thinker and if he were to recommend a special prosecutor then I’d be — it’d have a lot more credibility with me.”

“But I’ve never been a lawyer,” he concluded. “I’m not sure the right avenue to take. I am sure, though, that that question needs to be answered.”

Bush stopped short of expressing support for a special prosecutor, but a former Republican president saying he’s open to the idea of a special prosecutor investigating a president from his own party is significant. But his comments about having “faith” in Burr are undermined by reports that the White House used Burr in an effort to undermine recent reports about Trump’s campaign being in regular communication with Russian officials during the election.

During a TV interview on Sunday, White House deputy press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said talk of a special prosecutor is premature.

“I don’t think we’re there yet,” she said. “Let’s work through this process. You guys want to jump to the very end of the line… We’re confident whatever review that Congress wants to do, that’s the first step.”

But on Friday, Issa said that he doesn’t think one of Trump’s most outspoken supporters during the campaign — Attorney General Jeff Sessions — should oversee an investigation into something he was involved with himself.

“You’re right that you cannot have somebody — a friend of mine, Jeff Sessions — who was on the campaign and who is an appointee,” Issa said on HBO’s Real Time. “You’re going to need to use the special prosecutor’s statute and office.”

During his Today interview, Bush also criticized Trump’s harsh rhetoric toward the press and crackdown on immigrants.