Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein was accused by President Trump of leading a “witch hunt.” Rosenstein could be fired; some suggest he should step down from supervising the Russia investigation that he named Robert Mueller to lead.
President Trump put pressure on the second-ranking official at the Justice Department on Friday, raising concerns that Rod Rosenstein could be in danger of being fired. Others argued that if he stays he should recuse himself from his role overseeing the special-counsel probe that has engulfed the White House, the Washington Post reports. “I am being investigated for firing the FBI Director by the man who told me to fire the FBI Director! Witch Hunt,” Trump said on Twitter. Rosenstein had written a memo castigating James Comey before Trump dismissed the FBI director. The White House first said the memo was critical to the decision, before Trump suggested it was irrelevant because his mind was already made up. A career prosecutor who entered the administration with a reputation as a nonpartisan lawyer, Rosenstein now has been singled out on social media by the president.
Rosenstein, the former U.S. attorney in Maryland, took over supervision of the Russia investigation because Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself. Rosenstein appointed Robert Mueller as to lead that investigation after Comey was fired. With the revelation that Trump is under investigation for possible obstruction of justice, Rosenstein finds himself stuck between the wrath of a president who could fire him and questions about his own role supervising Mueller when he could become a witness in the probe. Rosenstein could be questioned by Mueller about his memo on Comey and what motivated Trump to ask him to write it. Rosenstein, 52, has said little publicly, but he released a cryptic statement Thursday saying, “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.”