Meet The DOJ Official Who Could Take Over The Trump Investigation

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Trump fired FBI Director James B. Comey, sent out spokespeople and surrogates with a far-fetched cover story to explain the dismissal, and then told NBC's Lester Holt that the real reason for the firing was Comey's pursuit of the Russian Federation investigation.

Depending on how events play out, the Justice Department could face a crisis not seen since the so-called Saturday Night Massacre when President Richard Nixon's attorney general and deputy attorney general resigned after being ordered to fire the independent special prosecutor overseeing the Watergate investigation, said Jeffrey Cramer, a former federal prosecutor.

President Donald Trump unleashed his most direct attack yet on Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein, who is nominally overseeing Russia-related issues.

The highly unusual statement by the deputy attorney general raised the question of whether Trump or some other White House official had asked him to publicly discredit the reports. Mueller has been choosing his own staff, tapping top legal minds from inside and outside the Justice Department.

Rosenstein took over the Russian Federation probe soon after Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself.

Mr Trump was criticised for the tweet by the senior Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, Dianne Feinstein.

"What I did is I was going to fire Comey". The Post reported on Wednesday that Mueller was investigating Trump to prove whether the president attempted to obstruct justice. Among other roles, she was an official in the Justice Department's Office of Legal Policy under George W. Bush.

Rosenstein has defended Mueller and said he wouldn't fire him without good cause.

Earlier this month, Rosenstein told The Associated Press that "if anything that I did winds up being relevant to his investigation then, as director Mueller and I discussed, if there's a need from me to recuse, I will". Pence's office confirmed he had retained Richard Cullen, a former Virginia attorney general and USA attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, to assist "in responding to inquiries" from Mueller. ABC said Rosenstein told Associate Attorney General Rachel Brand she would have authority over the probe if he were to step aside.

"Creating written records immediately after one-on-one conversations with Mr. Trump was my practice from that point forward", Comey said in a written statement.

Tim Maloney, a Maryland lawyer who has worked with Rosenstein, said he is going to handle the decision of whether to recuse himself in the oversight of the special counsel's Russian Federation investigation "by the book".

Cohen has worked for Trump since the mid-2000s and was active in the campaign.

WASHINGTON - President Donald Trump's Washington hotel saw nearly $20 million in revenue during its first few months of operation - a period that coincided with his election and inauguration as the 45th president. "This investigation is so important to our country that it was incumbent on Rosenstein to find someone who would be beyond question or reproach".

Coats met behind closed doors for more than three hours Thursday with the Senate intelligence committee, which is conducting a separate investigation into Russian interference in the election.

Vice-President Mike Pence on Thursday hired a private lawyer to represent his interests in the expanding probe. That news appears to have infuriated the president, who also lashed out at the media on a day that aides hoped would be focused on his decision to undo some of Barack Obama's detente with Cuba.