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US President Donald Trump says he's being investigated for firing Federal Bureau of Investigation director

19 June 2017, 12:46 | Brandon Parsons

US President Donald Trump says he's being investigated for firing Federal Bureau of Investigation director

Donald trump

Trump said he was "being investigated for firing the FBI Director by the man who told me to fire the FBI Director!"

And it was Rosenstein who appointed Robert Mueller as the special counsel to lead that investigation after Comey was sacked.

The White House has directed questions for details to outside legal counsel, which has not responded.

President Donald Trump acknowledged for the first time Friday that he is under federal investigation as part of the expanding probe into Russia's election meddling.

There is wide consensus that Trump is not doing himself any legal favors by repeatedly referring to it on Twitter. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich this week called Mueller "now clearly the tip of the deep state spear aimed at destroying or at a minimum undermining and crippling the Trump presidency".

"The president is not and has not been under investigation." he said. The Comey dismissal could become part of a widening investigation into whether the President tried to interfere with the ongoing Russian Federation probe.

Feinstein added, "That's undemocratic on its face and a blatant violation of the president's oath of office".

Rosenstein could eventually be questioned by Mueller about his memo on Comey and what motivated Trump to ask him to write it. It was not clear whether these records would be sought by Mueller, or the various Senate and House committees investigating alleged Russian interference in the USA election, or all of these.

Trump's thinly veiled attack on Rosenstein could be a precursor either to Trump demanding that Rosenstein fire Mueller-which he would likely refuse-or Trump's firing Rosenstein himself. But then Rosenstein made the surprise move to appoint Robert Mueller as special counsel to lead the Russian Federation investigation, a development that people close to Sessions and Trump believe has worsened matters for everyone involved.

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Officials familiar with the matter describe friction on the Justice Department's fourth and fifth floors, home to the suite of offices belonging to the deputy attorney general and the attorney general, respectively, in part because of Rosenstein's handling of the Russian Federation matter.

Jack Goldsmith, a Harvard University law professor and a senior Justice Department official in the George W. Bush administration, immediately tweeted, "And the Deputy Attorney General should have better judgment".

"As the deputy attorney general has said numerous times, if there comes a point when he needs to recuse, he will", said Justice Department spokesman Ian Prior in a statement.

"Americans should exercise caution before accepting as true any stories attributed to anonymous 'officials, ' particularly when they do not identify the country..." where the source originates.

"Americans should be skeptical about anonymous allegations".

If Rosenstein recuses himself from oversight of the special counsel investigation, that role would fall to the Justice Department's No. 3 official, newly confirmed Associate Attorney General Rachel Brand.

It's unclear why Rosenstein issued the warning or whether anyone prompted him to do so.

In May, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein appointed Mueller as special counsel to lead the probe.



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