U.S. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein told President Donald Trump last week that he is not a target of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's Russian Federation investigation, according to a source familiar with the probe. Back here on Earth, prosecutors and the rest of us are digesting fresh evidence of how severely that way of doing business has stained the White House carpets.
Special Counsel Robert Mueller's interest in former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort stemmed in part from his suspected role as a "back channel" between the campaign and Russians intent on meddling in the election, a Justice Department lawyer told a judge.
The shift gives some breathing room for Mueller, as well as Rosenstein, who has been criticized strongly by House Republicans for being slow to comply with requests for classified documents. Rosenstein examined the evidence and determined that it warranted further scrutiny, so he assigned it to the U.S. Attorney in NY.
Trump has said there was no collusion and has repeatedly called the Mueller probe a "witch hunt", raising concerns he might try to fire the special counsel or Rosenstein, who oversees the investigation. But now Trump is reportedly telling people his decision on whether to fire Rosenstein or Mueller hinges on whether they are personally targeting him?
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Now with longtime Trump friend and surrogate Rudy Giuliani's joining the Trump legal team, he will be part of all negotiations with Mueller's office going forward.
Last week, Federal Bureau of Investigation agents raided Cohen's home, hotel room and offices, reportedly obtaining documents related to Cohen's payment to adult film star Stormy Daniels, who allegedly had an affair with Trump in 2006. That referral was approved by Rosenstein, according to a person familiar with the matter.
If other issues were to come up during the investigation that Mueller discovered and were not directly tied to the Russian Federation probe, he is required to approach Rosenstein with that information, because the deputy attorney general oversees the investigation. Trump was speaking in a joint news conference with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida.
Pittsburgh police have issued a memo to department detectives to prepare for possible protests should President Trump fire special counsel Robert Mueller.