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Story highlights

Mark Meadows is chairman of the conservative House Freedom Caucus

He wrote his op-ed with Rep. Jim Jordan, a conservative Republican from Ohio

CNN —  

Two leading members of the conservative House Freedom Caucus called for Attorney General Jeff Sessions to resign in an op-ed published Thursday morning, writing that “it’s time for Jeff Sessions to go.”

Mark Meadows, Freedom Caucus chair, and Jim Jordan, a member who sits on the oversight and judiciary committees in the US House of Representatives, wrote the op-ed for the Washington Examiner, and criticized Sessions’ handling of the department’s investigations into Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

“Attorney General Jeff Sessions has recused himself from the Russia investigation, but it would appear he has no control at all of the premier law enforcement agency in the world,” they wrote. “It is time for Sessions to start managing in a spirit of transparency to bring all of this improper behavior to light and stop further violations.”

The Republican congressmen charged that “if Sessions can’t address this issue immediately, then we have one final question needing an answer: When is it time for a new attorney general? Sadly, it seems the answer is now.”

The Justice Department did immediately respond to a CNN request for comment.

Meadows and Jordan dismissed findings by the investigations in the House and Senate and by special counsel Robert Mueller – “there is zero (yes, zero) evidence of collusion,” they wrote – and listed six questions for the Justice Department regarding the Russia investigation. The questions focused on revelations regarding Trump campaign aide George Papadopoulos and his role in spurring the department’s Russia investigation, first reported by the New York Times last weekend.

RELATED - NYT: Former Trump campaign adviser told Australian diplomat Russia had dirt on Clinton

The Republican congressman also seized on leaks from the Justice Department to the press, asking, “how many FBI agents and DOJ officials have illegally discussed aspects of an ongoing investigation with reporters? When will it stop?”

Frustrated with Sessions’ perceived lack of control owing to his recusal from the Russia investigation, Meadows and Jordan conclude that he should make way for a new attorney general – adding to a growing chorus of criticism directed by President Donald Trump’s supporters at Sessions’ Justice Department over its handling of the special counsel.

Because of his recusal, Sessions is unable to act on the department’s current Russia probe – spearheaded by Mueller’s team, appointed in May, and overseen by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. But a new attorney general, appointed by Trump, would not be bound by those restrictions, and could potentially fire Rosenstein and Mueller and reassert control over the investigation.