Tom Perez, the newly-elected Democratic National Committee chairman, said on Feb. 26 that authorities need to investigate any possible contact between President Donald Trump's campaign and Russian intelligence officials in order to determine whether or not the presidential election was "rigged."
"What we need to be looking at is whether this election was rigged by Donald Trump and his buddy Vladimir Putin," Perez said in a Feb. 26 interview with CNN's Jake Tapper on "State of the Union."
Perez went on to say that it would be inappropriate to have Attorney General Jeff Sessions oversee the investigation, because he lacks "the authority and the objectivity" to do so fairly.
"It's really unfair to any foxes across America to say that would be the fox guarding the hen house," Perez said of Sessions leading the investigation. "We need an independent investigation, because that is a serious, serious issue and the American people need to understand whether the Russians in cahoots with the Trump folks rigged the election."
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The new Democratic leader, who appointed Rep. Keith Ellison of Minnesota as his deputy after winning the vote, said that he, Ellison and the rest of the Democrats are unified, which he called their "greatest strength" and Trump's "worst nightmare."
The White House has not yet stated whether they would ask Sessions to continue with the investigation or have him recuse himself. White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said on ABC's Feb. 26 edition of "This Week" that the Trump administration would accept Congress' decision either way and labeled the so-called conflict of interest as something made up by the press to generate controversy.
"Literally, those are the words of the FBI, that the story is BS," Sanders said on the ABC program. "They came to us, they approached us for putting that story out there. I think the American people deserve to know the truth. And that's exactly what it is, that there's nothing here. Just because reporters say something over and over and over again doesn't start to make it true."