Monday, 11 December, 2017

Trump confirms probe over Comey firing

Rosenstein may need to recuse himself from Russia probe -ABC News Trump Tweets He's The Subject Of A 'Witch Hunt'
Sammy Stanley | 19 June, 2017, 01:29

Donald Trump hasn't had a lot of good weeks since being sworn in as the 45th president of the United States.

In a tweet, the President also accused the U.S deputy attorney general of pursuing a "witch hunt".

It was not clear whether the president was basing his tweet on direct knowledge, or on reports this week that special counsel Robert Mueller is examining whether he obstructed justice by firing Mr Comey last month amid the Russian Federation investigation.

Mr. Rosenstein wrote a memo used by the White House to justify Comey's firing, prompting him to reportedly threaten to resign since the memo, though critical of the former director's performance, did not recommend his termination.

Rosenstein, in office for less than two months, is the top Justice official overseeing the probe because Attorney General Jeff Sessions has recused himself.

Sources told ABC News that Rosenstein raised the possibility of his own recusal during a meeting with Associate Attorney General Rachel Brand, who's next in line at the Department of Justice after Rosenstein.

"Americans should exercise caution before accepting as true any stories attributed to anonymous 'officials, ' particularly when they do not identify the country - let alone the branch or agency of government - with which the alleged sources supposedly are affiliated", Rosenstein said in a short statement released by the Justice Department. The inquiries have yet to show evidence of collusion.

What is clear is that he could order the Justice Department to axe Mr Mueller, which may result in Mr Rosenstein's departure and would certainly intensify the uproar over the investigation.

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

The Washington Post reported this week that, in addition to the Russian Federation probe, the special counsel is now determining whether President Donald Trump attempted to obstruct justice.

Rosenstein, 52, has said little publicly, but a cryptic statement he released late Thursday captured some of the strain and frustration he is probably feeling about the numerous unauthorized leaks about the Russian Federation investigation that have angered the president, according to several of his colleagues and friends.

But Rosenstein, too, may ultimately have to hand off oversight given his role in Trump's decision to fire Comey.

If Mueller strays from the straight and narrow, Rosenstein should not hesitate to remove him and name someone else to serve as special counsel. "Witch Hunt", the president said on Twitter.

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.

Watch the Washington Post's update on the Mueller investigations and Vox's timeline of the three Trump scandals involving Russian Federation below.

Yet Trump's angry tweets on Friday underscored the near-impossible challenge his advisers and legal team have in trying to get him to avoid weighing in on an active probe.

CGTN's Jessica Stone reports on the latest.

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

A Trump's transition official confirmed the lawyer's internal order, which was sent on Thursday. In keeping with a new practice, she referred one question after another to Mr Trump's personal lawyer. He has already been subpoenaed by the House Intelligence Committee.

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