Trump Could Force Out Rosenstein, Fail to Stop Russia Probe

Alvin Kelly
June 18, 2017

The tweet, which seems to confirm that Trump himself is under investigation, appears to reference Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein as "the man" investigating him.

U.S. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein released a statement Thursday night warning Americans against believing news stories attributed to anonymous sources, hours before he appeared to be the target of a presidential tweetstorm.

President Donald Trump's closest allies are attacking the integrity of those involved in the widening probe of Russian interference in the USA election, accusing special counsel Robert Mueller of driving a biased investigation.

Malcolm, who worked for Trump's FBI director pick, Chris Wray, when Wray was head of the DOJ's criminal division, spoke after a Washington Post report said Mueller's investigation has now widened to determine whether Trump attempted to obstruct justice. Rosenstein appointed special counsel Robert Mueller to investigate alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 US election, and has told lawmakers he would only fire him with good cause. At the time of that report it was not clear that the FBI was investigating Kushner's business dealings.

After meeting with Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions ahead of Comey's outster, Rosenstein wrote a letter dinging Comey for his handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation. Though, somewhat ironically, that report relied on unnamed sources.

Special counsel Robert Mueller has brought 13 lawyers on board to handle the Russian Federation investigation, with plans to hire more, according to his spokesman Peter Carr.

According to people briefed on his thinking, while Trump has left open the possibility of dismissing Mueller, his anger has been mostly trained on Sessions and Rosenstein.

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Painter, meanwhile, explained to The News Friday that Trump's latest tweet also signals he is trying to lay the groundwork for a case to have Rosenstein recuse himself - which would further complicate, or delay the progress of, any potential case against him.

Trump and his White House have already used the attack the investigator trick after they fired James Comey.

While Trump claimed Friday that Rosenstein told him to fire Comey, the Republican has said in interviews that he had long planned to make the decision. But Rosenstein, too, may ultimately have to hand off oversight given his role in Trump's decision to fire Comey.

The statement followed a report by ABC News that Rosenstein had discussed the recusal issue internally.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller is putting top Trump aide Jared Kushner's finances under the microscope.

The Post reported that FBI agents and federal prosecutors are also looking into the financial dealings of Flynn, former campaign chairman Paul Manafort and former campaign policy adviser Carter Page. Pence's office confirmed he had retained Richard Cullen, a former Virginia attorney general and US attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, to assist "in responding to inquiries" from Mueller.

A Justice Department official - who declined to speak on the record - told CNN that the White House didn't order Rosenstein's statement.

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