WASHINGTON – Sen. Dick Durbin D-Ill., stepped up his call on Wednesday for an independent probe of ties between Russia and President Donald Trump.

Durbin first suggested on Jan. 11 – before Trump was sworn-in on Jan. 20 – that an independent commission needed to be created, comprised of “public officials and private citizens with subpoena power to investigate them” and “led by people of integrity like General Colin Powell and Justice Sandra Day O’Connor.”

Powell and O’Connor are Republicans.

In the wake of the controversy triggered by the Monday night resignation of former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn because of his December calls to the Russian Ambassador to the U.S., Durbin said on MSNBC on Wednesday morning a probe by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence is not enough.

“The Intelligence Committee is the graveyard for investigations,” Durbin said.

“Their hearings are largely in secret. The public will not have access to the testimony. When it came to Benghazi, the Republicans couldn’t wait for public hearing after public hearing,” he said, noting that GOP lawmakers probed “Benghazi over and over again.”

Moreover, “any report from this Intelligence Committee is likely to be highly redacted, censored.” …While classified information has to handled with care, “the public has a right to know. Not a single Republican senator has come to the Senate floor..,since this scandal involving the Russians has been unfolding….We are waiting for bi-partisan cooperation and support for an independent commission to take on this investigation.”