Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein weighs in on scope of Russia investigation – throwing a huge wrench into Trump’s plans.
Trump and his legal team have been doing their best to discredit special counsel Robert S. Mueller and to limit the scope of his investigation of possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.
As The Washington Post reported this weekend,
Trump and his inner circle have repeatedly dismissed the investigation amid frequent reports that Mueller and his team are digging into broader details on the financial dealings of members of Trump’s campaign team. Senior White House counselor Kellyanne Conway called the probe a “fabrication” in an interview on ABC’s “This Week.” Trump called it “the totally made-up Russia story” in a campaign-style speech he delivered Thursday in West Virginia.
The New York Times reports that Trump has gone so far as to threaten Mueller were he to look into Trump family finances:
Trump has been critical of Mueller since his appointment. The president’s legal team is looking into potential conflicts surrounding the team Mueller has hired, including the backgrounds of members and political contributions by some members of his team to Hillary Clinton. He has also publicly warned Mueller that he would be out of bounds if he dug into the Trump family’s finances.
Senators, Democrat and Republican alike, are concerned enough that last week they introduced two bipartisan bills aimed at protecting Special Prosecutor Mueller from being fired by Trump.
According to The New York Times, “One plan by Sens. Thom Tillis, R-N.C., and Chris Coons, D-Del., would let any special counsel for the Department of Justice challenge his or her removal in court. A three-judge panel would review the dismissal within 14 days of the challenge.”
“The other legislation was proposed by Sens. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and Cory Booker, D-N.J.” and “would prevent the firing of any special counsel unless the dismissal was first reviewed by a panel of three federal judges.”
Additionally, the Senate took steps last week to insure that Trump would be unable to make any recess appointments during their August break, effectively terminating speculation that Trump might fire AG Sessions and force his replacement to fire Mueller.
Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein, who appointed Mueller amid allegations made by former FBI Director James Comey, threw a huge wrench in Team Trump’s plan to obstruct, limit or discredit Mueller’s investigation during an interview on “Fox News Sunday.”
As The Washington Post reports, “Rosenstein said Sunday that the expanding investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election is continuing apace, even as President Trump dismissed the probe as ‘a total fabrication.’”
More damaging to Trump and his legal team’s ambitions, “Rosenstein said special counsel Robert S. Mueller III can investigate any crimes that he might discover within the scope of his probe.” [emphasis added] That means Mueller’s investigation is not limited to the Russia scandal. Any other crimes or potential criminal wrong-doing discovered during the course of the Russia investigation is subject to continued investigation.
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