Trump Russia Probe Does Not Need Special Counsel, Former Federal Prosecutor Robert Ray Says

Former federal prosecutor Robert Ray said Sunday there is no need for special counsel to look into possible ties between the 2016 Trump presidential campaign and Russian officials.

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Ray, in an exclusive interview with Maria Bartiromo on “Sunday Morning Futures,” weighed in on the continuing debate, days after Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from investigations into the matter over two conversations he had with a Russian diplomat during the campaign, when Sessions was an Alabama senator.

“It sounds like this is a political issue. And I think the first question is: unless there were issue of collusion or promises made during the campaign or in the transition with regard to Russian officials, what exactly would a prosecutor be investigating?” Ray said.

"I don't think so,” he added.

Ray, who served as the Independent Counsel for the Whitewater investigation in the 1990s -- a controversy surrounding real estate investments of Bill and Hillary Clinton -- said there are still “intelligence matters” related to the subject that need to be addressed.

“While an investigation is appropriate, that's something appropriately handled by Congress in the first instance,” he said. “You don't talk about a special counsel or appointing extraordinary measures, and certainly in this instance there's no reason to think that the Justice Department can't adequately address this if questions regarding the commission of crime are raised. But only in the exception or extraordinary case would you be calling for a special counsel.”

Additionally, President Trump on Saturday tweeted that former President Barack Obama had phones at Trump Tower wiretapped “just before” his victory in November.

Ray commented on the allegations, saying: "I take that very seriously. The president is the chief executive. He is the Executive Branch. If anybody is in the position to know, President Trump would know."