In early March, Attorney General Sessions recused himself — and seemed awfully proud of himself (“I followed the procedures!”) — from all probes involving Russia. This step down occurred after it was revealed that he met multiple times with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak and possibly perjured himself over it. Now, ABC News reports that Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein, who replaced Sessions in supervising the Department of Justice’s investigation into Trump-Russia collusion, knows that he might have to recuse himself, too.
Of course, Rosenstein isn’t directly investigating Trump, but he’s tasked with overseeing the investigation by newly appointed Special Counsel Robert Mueller (who expanded his office with 13 new attorney hires this week). ABC notes that, at this point, Rosenstein has “privately acknowledged” that he might eventually be called at a witness in the investigation, largely because he penned the memo that led to former FBI Director James Comey’s firing. Should he become a witness, he would certainly have to recuse, which means that he’d be replaced with the DOJ’s third in command, Associate Attorney General Rachel Brand. She’s new on the job:
Although Rosenstein appointed a special counsel to lead the federal probe, he still makes the final decisions about resources, personnel and — if necessary — any prosecutions. In [a] recent meeting with Brand, Rosenstein told her that if he were to recuse himself, she would have to step in and take over those responsibilities. She was sworn-in little more than a month ago.
News of a possible Rosenstein recusal comes on the same day that President Trump issued a veiled slam against the deputy AG (while acknowledging that he is under investigation for obstruction of justice). Add all of that on top of Rosenstein’s cryptic and unprecedented warning to the American people about “anonymous allegations,” and things are looking shady all around. At this point, one wonders if there’s going to be anyone left in federal government who isn’t somehow tainted by the Russia stench, even if it only involves one penned memo. Yesterday, news broke that Mike Pence hired outside counsel to represent him on related inquiries as well.
2017, you’re crazy.
(Via ABC News)