The Trump administration has launched an investigation into a former chief of staff to a Republican senator who was recently charged with bribery, according to three sources familiar with the matter.
Trump’s investigation was spurred by an Associated Press report on Thursday that quoted three unnamed sources with knowledge of the investigation, including two of the sources who were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly.
The sources said the investigation has been led by a special counsel, but they were not named.
The special counsel’s name is being withheld by the White House as it does not want to jeopardize ongoing investigations into Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election, the sources said.
Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., who is under fire for his alleged ties to Russia and is under indictment, is being investigated by the special counsel as part of a probe into the Trump campaign, sources familiar from the matter told CNN.
Corker has denied any wrongdoing, and he did not respond to a request for comment.
Former Rep. Tom Reed, R.I., is also under investigation by the House Ethics Committee.
Reed, who was forced out of Congress in January, resigned in March, shortly after the AP story was published.
His office did not immediately respond to multiple requests for comment about the investigation.
Democrats have called on the House to appoint a special prosecutor to look into the role of former FBI Director Robert Mueller, who oversaw the investigation into Russian meddling in the election and has been the subject of a federal criminal probe into his contacts with Trump and associates.
The special counsel has been criticized for not pursuing charges against anyone.
In a letter sent to lawmakers Wednesday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R–Ky., said the special investigation “is the appropriate, expeditious, and thorough path to resolving the president’s concerns and providing a full and complete accounting of any and all allegations of misconduct.”
Democrats have also called for the appointment of a special judge to investigate whether Trump’s campaign coordinated with Russian agents to influence the election.
“The special prosecutor must investigate whether any members of President Trump’s team conspired to collude with Russian operatives in the run-up to the election, and whether any member of President Donald Trump’s staff aided and abetted the Russian operation to interfere with the election,” the lawmakers wrote in a letter to McConnell.
Trump on Thursday said he would not rule out appointing a special Justice Department investigator into his former chief strategist, Stephen Bannon.
The president said in an interview that he would appoint a prosecutor as a “first step” and would be “totally supportive” of the appointment.