The first GOP senator just signalled an opening to a special prosecutor in the Trump-Russia investigation

Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski said in a statement Wednesday that she was willing to look into the option of a special prosecutor to investigate Russian interference in the 2016 election, including whether any Trump associates coordinated with Russian officials.

“Like many Alaskans, I’m concerned about the continuous and often conflicting reports about President Trump, the FBI and Russia,” Murkowski said. 

“The American people deserve to know the truth. I still maintain that the Senate Intelligence Committee should continue conducting a thorough and fair investigation. At the same time, it’s imperative that we — Congress, the FBI, the Administration — work to restore the public’s trust,” she continued.

“In order to gain that credibility, it may be that we need to look to an independent commission or special prosecutor,” the statement concluded.

Murkowski is the first Republican senator who has publicly entertained the possibility of assigning a special prosecutor to the Trump-Russia investigation. 

The White House has been rocked by a slew of storylines over the past week that have raised questions about the president’s ties to Russia. Last Tuesday, Trump abruptly fired FBI director James Comey, who was spearheading the FBI investigation into the president’s campaign and his associates.

The next day, Trump met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak in an Oval Office meeting that was open to Russian media but closed to American reporters. Over the next few days, Trump admitted “the Russia thing” had played a role in his decision to fire Comey, and he seemed to threaten Comey with “tapes” of their conversations if Comey leaked information to the press.

On Monday, The Washington Post reported that during their meeting in the Oval Office, the president shared highly-classified intelligence from a US ally about the Islamic State with Lavrov and Kislyak. The New York Times later reported that the intelligence had come from Israel.

On Tuesday, the Times reported that Trump had met with Comey in the Oval Office in February and asked him to drop the FBI’s investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn, who was forced to resign after revelations he misled the vice president about his contact with Kislyak. The Times cited a memo that officials said Comey had written after his meeting with Trump, in which he detailed their conversation. 

Though Republicans were initially reluctant to strongly criticise the president, the wall of support around him began to crack after news of Comey’s memo broke. 

On Wednesday, the Senate Intelligence Committee sent two letters to Comey and acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe, asking Comey to testify and demanding that the FBI hand over any memos that Comey wrote relating to the Russia probe. Republican House Oversight chairman Jason Chaffetz also sent a letter to the FBI asking for Comey’s memos. 

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