Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein may be using a legal technicality to persuade President Donald Trump not to interfere in special counsel Robert Mueller's Russian Federation investigation, according to a new reportThursday. It was reportedly set up, in part, to quell Trump's frustrations with Rosenstein.
At the same time, Rosenstein's message may have been based on a technicality.
"Here you have somebody who was a campaign official in the Trump campaign, where he had longstanding ties to Russia-backed politicians in the Ukraine", Michael Dreeben, a prosecutor on Mueller's team, said of Manafort.
"They've been saying I'm going to get rid of them for the last three months, four months, five months", Trump said at a joint press conference with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. "And they're still here". Presumably, that would put some limits on the investigation.
"We believe the defendants defamed my client, and vindicating Mr. Cohen's rights was - and still remains - important", he said in a statement.
Trump's attacks on Mueller and Rosenstein have reignited speculation that he could soon move to dismiss one or both of the men.
"This evidence would bolster evidence like the Holt interview and Comey's evidence about Trump's statements to him", Cotter said.
The judge's questions over Mueller's power in the Russian Federation probe came up in a hearing in the criminal case involving President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort. The big quote on that front has always been Trump telling Lester Holt in May 2017 that the Russian Federation probe was on his mind when he fired FBI Director James B. Comey.
Trump has become increasingly irked with Mueller and Rosenstein in recent weeks, particularly after the Federal Bureau of Investigation raided Cohen's office, home and hotel last week, calling the seizure of Cohen's records an "attack on our country". That referral was approved by Rosenstein, according to a person familiar with the matter.
"President Trump "hasn't cooled off on" Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein (who oversees the Mueller investigation) and could still fire him", a source close to Trump tells Axios' Jonathan Swan.
In his remarks Wednesday, Trump called the Mueller-led investigation "a hoax" created by Democrats "to soften the blow of a loss". "I have instructed the lawyers, 'Be totally transparent'".