Rod Rosenstein

Mueller Interviews His Boss on Russia Investigation

The Wall Street Journal reports Robert Mueller’s office has interviewed Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein about Trump’s firing of James Comey.

“The interview, which occurred in June or July, presents the unusual situation of investigators questioning the person directly overseeing their probe. Mr. Mueller as special counsel has a good deal of independence, but he ultimately answers to Mr. Rosenstein, because Jeff Sessions recused himself from the investigation. The special counsel’s handling of the interview could be a sign that Mr. Mueller’s team doesn’t view Mr. Rosenstein as a central witness in its probe, as the deputy attorney general hasn’t withdrawn himself from overseeing it since that interview. A key witness would likely have to take such a step.”

Trump Mostly Blames Sessions and Rosenstein

New York Times: “Inside the White House, those close to the president say he has continued to fume about the actions of Justice Department officials, his anger focused mostly on Mr. Rosenstein for appointing Mr. Mueller and on Attorney General Jeff Sessions, a longtime political ally whose decision to recuse himself from the Russia case in March enraged Mr. Trump…”

“While he has left open the possibility of dismissing Mr. Mueller and began considering it shortly after the special counsel was appointed last month, the president’s anger has been largely trained on Mr. Sessions and Mr. Rosenstein, whom he views less as executors of law than as salaried staff.”

Associated Press: “Trump advisers and confidants describe the president as increasingly angry over the investigation, yelling at television sets in the White House carrying coverage and insisting he is the target of a conspiracy to discredit — and potentially end — his presidency.”

Rosenstein May Recuse Himself

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who has ultimate authority over the special counsel’s probe of Russia’s alleged meddling in the 2016 election, has privately acknowledged to colleagues that he may have to recuse himself from the matter, which he took charge of only after Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ own recusal, sources tell ABC News.

Those private remarks “are significant because they reflect the widening nature of the federal probe, which now includes a preliminary inquiry into whether President Donald Trump attempted to obstruct justice when he allegedly tried to curtail the probe and then fired James Comey as FBI director.”

Rosenstein Knew Comey Would Be Fired Before Memo

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein told the full Senate he knew that former FBI Director James Comey would be fired before he wrote his controversial memo that the White House initially used as justification for the firing, the Washington Post reports.

Said Sen. Richard Durbin (D-IL): “He learned the president’s decision to fire him and then he wrote his memo with his rationale.”

Why the Deputy Attorney General Must Resign

Benjamin Wittes: “The trouble is that while Rosenstein got what he wanted, Trump’s idea of correcting the record was to say publicly exactly the thing about a law enforcement officer that makes his continued service in office impossible: That Trump had used his deputy attorney general as window dressing on a pre-cooked political decision to shut down an investigation involving himself, a decision for which he needed the patina of a high-minded rationale.”

“Once the President has said this about you—a law enforcement officer who works for him and who promised the Senate in confirmation hearings you would show independence—you have nothing left. These are the costs of working for Trump, and it took Rosenstein only two weeks to pay them.”

“The only decent course now is to name a special prosecutor and then resign.”

Rosenstein Pressed White House to Correct the Record

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein pressed White House counsel Don McGahn “to correct what he felt was an inaccurate White House depiction of the events surrounding FBI Director James Comey’s firing,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

“Mr. Rosenstein left the impression that he couldn’t work in an environment where facts weren’t accurately reported… The deputy attorney general objected to statements by White House aides citing Mr. Rosenstein’s critical assessment of Mr.Comey’s job performance to justify the firing.”

Deputy Attorney General Nominee Faces Heat

Politico: “Senate Democrats, intent on keeping questions about the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia front and center, are turning to their next target: Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ top deputy. Rod Rosenstein, a veteran U.S. attorney whom President Donald Trump has nominated to become the Justice Department’s No. 2, heads into his confirmation hearing Tuesday squarely in the eye of the firestorm over the Russia controversy that has engulfed the Trump presidency for weeks.”

“The weight of the Russia investigation would fall on Rosenstein if he’s confirmed. Democrats are using what would usually be a noncontroversial nomination to extract as many concessions from Rosenstein as possible.”