The complex issues of the Russia probe, special counsel

Cheryl Sanders
June 18, 2017

"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. Justice Department and special counsel press aides have declined to confirm or deny reports about the focus of Mueller's investigation.

Officials familiar with the matter describe friction on the Justice Department's fourth and fifth floors, home to the suite of offices belonging to the deputy attorney general and the attorney general, respectively, in part because of Rosenstein's handling of the Russian Federation matter.

President Donald Trump continued to fume this week over the continued attention paid to the Russian Federation probes, especially following a report that he's now under investigation for potential obstruction of justice.

He has also started to direct some of his anger at Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who oversees special counsel Robert Mueller's Russian Federation probe, according to the AP and the New York Times.

On Friday morning, Trump appeared to confirm that he was being investigated for obstruction of justice in his firing of Comey, and seemed to take aim at Rosenstein.

He said this week he had not found reason to do so - making the statement in the days after Trump's friends raised the possibility that the president himself was thinking of "terminating" Mueller.

Rosenstein oversees Mueller, but the deputy attorney general is not actually conducting the investigation. Rosenstein is acting as the attorney-general in the inquiry because Sessions recused himself from investigations that touch on the 2016 presidential campaigns.

Asked about the prospect and his potential need to recuse during his testimony before the Senate Appropriations Committee, Rosenstein said only, "I am working with career professionals who know these rules and are responsible for enforcing these rules, and I can assure you that we're going to do the right thing, and we're going to defend the integrity of that investigation".

They have tried to highlight the positive reviews he received on Wednesday when he made a statesman-like appearance in the White House to address the nation after House of Representatives Republican whip Steve Scalise was shot during a congressional baseball practice.

The Manhattan federal court lawsuit was filed a day after CNN sued the Justice Department in Washington, seeking the same information.

Mueller is said to be investigating whether Trump obstructed the course of justice in the probe into Russian interference in the USA elections.

Since Rosenstein recommended the firing, he could be a witness in the case and ethically obligated to recuse himself. But Rosenstein, too, may ultimately have to hand off oversight given his role in Trump's decision to fire Comey.

United States intelligence agencies concluded in January that Russian Federation interfered in the presidential race to try to help Mr Trump win, in part by hacking and releasing emails damaging to his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton.

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

Rosenstein testifying Tuesday on Capitol Hill about the Justice Department budget. 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.

The White House has directed questions for details to outside legal counsel, which has not responded.

The Twitter attacks came as Vice-President Mike Pence hired a personal lawyer to represent him in the intensifying investigation.

Other reports by iNewsToday