March 6 (UPI) -- Two top Republican Congressmen on Tuesday called for a special counsel to investigate the Department of Justice and FBI for potential bias, conflicts of interest and Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act abuse in 2016 and 2017.
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., and House Oversight Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., sent a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions saying there was "evidence of bias, trending toward animus" in reference to how the Justice Department investigated members of Donald Trump's campaign team during and after the 2016 presidential campaign.
The letter said the Obama administration used a dossier created by former British spy Christopher Steele -- which was partially paid for by Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign -- as evidence to get a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court warrant on former Trump campaign adviser Christoper Page.
"There is evidence political opposition research was neither vetted before it was used nor fully revealed to the relevant tribunal," the congressmen wrote. "Questions have arisen with the FISA process and these questions and concerns threaten to impugn both public and congressional confidence in significant counterintelligence program processes and those charged with overseeing and implementing these counterintelligence processes."
Goodlatte and Gowdy said a special counsel will be necessary because current and former Justice Department and FBI employees will be scrutinized and they don't have confidence in the Justice Department to investigate the issue "in a fashion likely to garner public confidence."
They added that the Justice Department's Inspector General doesn't have the authority to investigate other agencies or former employees of other agencies.
Although the special counsel request is to investigate issues during the 2016 presidential election, Goodlatte told reporters that it is "not about either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump."
"This is about how the world's most important law enforcement organization handled one of the most important investigations that it's been charged with," Goodlatte said.