Trump tweet appears to confirm investigation

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley R-Iowa joined at left by Sen. Orrin Hatch R-Utah opens a confirmation hearing for
federal prosecutor Rod Rosenstein to be deputy attorney and Rachel Brand to be associate attorney general on Capitol

"Potentially complicating matters, Trump posted an exasperated message today on Twitter, dismissing the Russia-related probe as a "witch hunt" and lamenting that he's 'being investigated for firing the Federal Bureau of Investigation director by the man who told me to fire the Federal Bureau of Investigation director!'" ABC News writes.

It was unclear whether the president was referring to Special Counsel Robert Mueller or Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. Rosenstein will now have to do so - soon. Last week, it was widely reported that Attorney General Jeff Sessions had offered to resign because of Trump's criticism of his decision to recuse himself from all investigations related to the Russian Federation and the Trump election campaign, in which Sessions had played a prominent role.

Trump's personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, also has retained an attorney to represent him.

Boente, however, was nominated by former President Barack Obama and his USA attorney's office has already been leading parts of the federal investigation.

"As the deputy attorney general has said numerous times, if there comes a point when he needs to recuse, he will", Prior said.

Right-wing media backers of Trump have been preparing the ground for Trump to fire Rosenstein, Mueller or both.

The BBC reports that Deputy Attorney General, Rod Rosenstein, wrote a memo the White House used to justify the firing of the ex-FBI chief. That would make Rosenstein into an important witness for the Mueller investigation - which would in turn make it hard for him to be the figure to whom Mueller is supposed to report. "Witch Hunt", the president said on Twitter.

A Department of Justice spokesperson declined to address what prompted the statement.


The Democratic National Committee, in a statement Friday, said that Rosenstein, who has authority over Mueller, needs to recuse himself from the Russian Federation investigation and that control of the investigation should not be given to another presidential appointee.

After Trump's tweet, that course of action isn't really available to Rosenstein.

Donald Trump hasn't had a lot of good weeks since being sworn in as the 45th president of the United States. At a minimum, it is going to require incontrovertible evidence Trump meant to obstruct justice.

Rosenstein told a closed session of Congress last month that he learned Comey would be dismissed one day before penning his memo. If he fires Rosenstein, Brand would lead the department.

Brand went to Harvard Law School and clerked for Justice Anthony Kennedy. "The Department of Justice has a long-established policy to neither confirm nor deny such allegations".

Reuters reports: "Another well-known white-collar Washington lawyer will likely join the team shortly". And, short of firing Mueller - which would be political suicide for Trump - he just has to wait and see how it plays out. If Mueller recommended that Trump fire his friend Comey, that would be a scoop. But she would also have the conservative perspective on executive branch - which gives the president abundant authority. "Absent the most extreme circumstances, the president would be singularly ill-advised to threaten, much less order, Mueller's firing". She's more than smart enough to know that being the vehicle of such an outrageous presidential act as firing Mueller would have reputational consequences.

Manafort, Page and Stone have also been linked to the Russian Federation investigations. It's enough that he's angry with Rosenstein for appointing Mueller in the first place.

The upshot is that Trump is probably better off with Brand supervising the special counsel's investigation than Rosenstein.

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