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Principale » Rosenstein privately mulls recusal from Russian Federation probe

Rosenstein privately mulls recusal from Russian Federation probe

18 Juin 2017

Trump appeared to be responding to reports this week that the FBI is investigating Trump's decision to fire FBI Director James Comey and his apparent attempts to quash the bureau's investigation of former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.

If Mueller is investigating Trump's firing of Comey as possible obstruction of justice, he might want to learn about Trump's interactions with Rosenstein, the Justice Department official who wrote the memo criticizing Comey's performance before his firing. A day later, Rosenstein appointed Mueller, who was at the helm of the Federal Bureau of Investigation during the September 11 attacks, as special counsel.

Significantly, Preet Bharara, the India-born former top U.S. federal prosecutor, earlier this week had said that there was enough evidence to begin an obstruction of justice case against Trump over his alleged interference in the Russian Federation probe.

Still, Trump seemed to be raising the question of whether Rosenstein might have to recuse himself from the investigation - something Rosenstein discussed privately with colleagues, ABC News reported yesterday.

Hours later, a source close to Mr Trump's outside legal team said Mr Trump did not intend his tweet to be confirmation of the investigation but rather was reacting to a Washington Post story on Wednesday about the probe.

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Theoretically, Trump could be saying that Mueller told him to fire Comey, though that makes little sense since Mueller was not part of his administration.

The Republican president has repeatedly complained about the probe, calling it a witch hunt and saying Democrats can not accept his election victory. Trump later told NBC's Lester Holt he had planned to fire Comey regardless of what recommendation he received from Rosenstein and Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who has recused himself from the Russian Federation investigation. Comey said he believes Trump ultimately fired him "because of the Russian Federation investigation".

Democrats note that after the Justice Department appointed a special prosecutor to investigate the Watergate break-in during the in the 1970s, then-President Richard Nixon ordered the department to fire the special prosecutor, Archibald Cox, prompting his attorney general and deputy attorney general both to resign in what became known as the "Saturday Night Massacre". The investigation into Trump reportedly began shortly after he fired FBI Director James Comey. The order by the general counsel for his transition team casts a wide net on documents that could shed light on ties between Trump's presidential campaign and representatives of Russia's government. "Americans should be skeptical about anonymous allegations".

At a ceremony last month to welcome Associate Attorney General Rachel Brand, the Justice Department's third-ranking official, Rosenstein joked awkwardly about being at the center of criticism since taking office, according to people who were in the room. "Regulations way down, jobs and enthusiasm way up!", Trump tweeted.

The White House has said the president "has never asked Mr Comey or anyone else to end any investigation, including any investigation involving General Flynn".