Trump comments deepen conflict with Department of Justice

Rosenstein may need to recuse himself from Russia probe -ABC News

His morning missive apparently referred to Rod Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general whose role leading the federal investigation has become increasingly complicated.

Top Trump ally New Gingrich warns that if false and/or compromising information continues to leak out of former FBI Director Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in 2016, the deputy attorney general might have to appoint a special counsel to investigate the current special counsel's investigation.

As the investigation expands, that raises the possibility that Rosenstein may recuse himself from that role, since he wrote the memo justifying Comey's firing.

The president's legal team has attempted to throw Mr. Mueller's appointment as special counsel into question; arguing that Mr. Mueller's relationship with Mr. Comey compromises the former's ability to conduct a fair and unbiased investigation. Comey, whom Trump fired in early May, said in Senate testimony earlier this month that the President spoke to him privately on February 14 and asked him to drop the bureau's investigation into former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn's alleged ties to Russian Federation.

In a series of statements on Twitter on Thursday, Mr Trump repeated his claim that Mr Mueller's investigation is a "WITCH HUNT" based on the "phoney" premise of possible collusion between Russian Federation and a cadre of Trump campaign associates.

Mueller's investigation also includes the question of whether Trump tried to obstruct justice.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller recently beefed up his investigative team to include 13 new attorneys just as news reports indicated the scope of the Russian Federation investigation was expanding. His aides scrambled in the wake of that tweet to make clear the President was simply saying he had read the reports that he was under investigation but had not been told it separately.

Right-wing media backers of Trump have been preparing the ground for Trump to fire Rosenstein, Mueller or both. "Witch Hunt", the president wrote in his tweet. The President's Twitter trail suggests that firing Mr. Mueller could soon be on the solicitor general's new agenda. But a department official said no one asked for the statement and Rosenstein acted on his own. It was not clear whether these records would be sought by Mueller, or the various Senate and House committees investigating alleged Russian interference in the U.S. election, or all of these.

During her confirmation hearing in the Senate to become the Justice Department's associate attorney general, Democrats criticized her for her experience representing corporate interests.

Eight days after Trump fired Comey, Rosenstein named Mueller special prosecutor, giving him significant independent resources to continue the Russian Federation investigation.

Hours after Mr Trump's tweet, a source close to his outside legal team said the President did not intend his tweet to be confirmation of the investigation but rather was a reaction to a Washington Post story about the probe from Wednesday (local time).

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

A Trump's transition official confirmed the lawyer's internal order, which was sent on Thursday.

The order also covers separate inquiries into several key Trump associates including former national security adviser Michael Flynn, campaign adviser Paul Manafort, foreign policy aide Carter Page and outside adviser Roger Stone. Pence headed the Trump transition until Inauguration Day. He has already been subpoenaed by the House Intelligence Committee.

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