Despite initially opposing the appointment of an independent counsel, House Speaker Paul Ryan said the development “helps assure people and the justice department that they’re going to go do their jobs independently and thoroughly, which is what we’ve called for all along”. But Rosenstein’s own professional standing could start to recover as well.
Trump said in a restrained statement Wednesday that Mueller’s “thorough investigation will confirm what we already know – there was no collusion between my campaign and any foreign entity”, adding that he looked forward to a speedy resolution to the probe.
The tweets fly in the face of the statement issued on Wednesday night which had appeared as an attempt by Trump’s staff to tamp down the raging political storm over Russian Federation which has resulted in Trump’s worst week in office so far.
Members who attended Friday’s briefing said Rosenstein was otherwise “very guarded” and “frustratingly cautious”, deferring many answers to being under the purview of the recently appointed special counsel, Robert Mueller.”It’s clear he just wanted to defer to Mueller on everything tough”, said one Democratic lawmaker inside the room.
Much has changed since then.
Moreover, the White House has not ruled out the possibility of using the rule to challenge Mueller’s findings in court, should the investigation lead to prosecution.
Rosenstein said that after he was approached for advice, he wrote a memo to Sessions “summarizing my longstanding concerns about Director Comey’s public statements concerning the Secretary Clinton email investigation”.
Comey’s firing sparked suspicion among Trump’s critics and lawmakers anxious that the president might use his power to influence the FBI’s investigation into whether Trump or his advisers colluded with Russian Federation to win November’s presidential election.
The man who wrote the memo used to justify the firing last week of FBI Director James Comey said in a closed session with Congress that he learned the top cop would be dismissed one day before he penned the memo.
Early in the day, a seething Trump took to Twitter to blast the appointment, which shook Washington and sent world stock markets tumbling. “There is nothing in that oath about my reputation”.
“I would be very discouraged if somehow this new special prosecutor would preclude Jim Comey from testifying in public before our committee”, he said. Former Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman was seen as the front-runner.
“It is hard to see a friend of yours being in the middle of that”, said Jan Paul Miller, a St. Louis attorney who worked with Rosenstein when both were assistant US attorneys in Maryland.
“I now have significantly greater confidence that the investigation will follow the facts wherever they lead”.
Mueller´s appointment has come as Trump fends off reports he shared United States secrets with Russian officials in the Oval Office, and had asked Comey to drop his investigation into former Trump national security advisor Michael Flynn.
“What I have determined is that based upon the unique circumstances, the public interest requires me to place this investigation under the authority of a person who exercises a degree of independence from the normal chain of command”, he added.
The selection of Mueller, a taciturn former federal prosecutor who led the FBI through the September 11 attacks, received bipartisan embrace. But Trump’s claim ignored impeachment efforts and blistering verbal attacks on previous presidents and other political leaders.
Zeidenberg was the assistant special counsel in the 2003 investigation into the leaking of the identity of Central Intelligence Agency officer Valerie Plame, which ultimately lead to Vice President Dick Cheney’s advisor Scooter Libby being convicted of obstruction of justice, among other counts.
Mueller’s former colleagues at WilmerHale, James Quarles and Aaron Zebley, are expected to join his investigation, according to a spokeswoman for the law firm.