“You cannot have somebody, a friend of mine Jeff Sessions, who was on the campaign and who is an appointee,” the California Republican said in response to a question from host Bill Maher. “You’re going to need to use the special prosecutor’s statute and office to take — not just to recuse. You can’t just give it to your deputy. That’s another political appointee.”

Issa emphasized that “there may or may not be fault” with Trump’s associates but said Russian President Vladimir Putin’s brutality toward political enemies highlighted the need for such a probe.

Issa supported Trump during the 2016 election, a fact that Democrats exploited in an attempt to topple Issa in his bid for a ninth term in the House. Issa prevailed by less than a percentage point, and Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton beat Trump in the district by a wide margin. That result immediately left Issa as a top Democratic target for 2018.