Trump took to twitter on Friday to deny any involvement with Russian hackers during the 2016 presidential election and criticised an unnamed leader of the complex investigation that is consuming his White House.
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.
But Rosenstein could end up recusing himself, too, Justice officials say, in part because he played a role in President Donald Trump’s firing of FBI Director James Comey. “Witch Hunt”, the president wrote on Twitter.
In the days following Trump’s firing of Comey on May 9 and before Mueller’s appointment, the obstruction-of-justice investigation of the president began, according to people familiar with the matter.
Hours later, a source close to Mr Trump’s outside legal team said the President did not intend his tweet to be confirmation of the investigation but rather was reacting to a Washington Post story.
Faced with a Russia investigation that appears to be broadening, Mr. Trump appears eager to use Twitter to undermine the credibility of the inquiry and to convince his supporters that they do not need to worry.United States media also reported that members of President Trump’s transition team were ordered to preserve documents and other materials related to the investigation of Russian interference.
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. The Democratic National Committee called on Mr Rosenstein to recuse himself from the Russian Federation matter, but also said authority over the investigation should be given to Mr Mueller and not another Trump appointee.
Before the sacking, Mr Trump had sought and received assurances from Mr Comey that he personally was not under investigation. Sessions said he was recusing himself because of his role in the Trump campaign.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, said she was “increasingly concerned” that Trump will fire both Mueller and Rosenstein. Those officials are: Dan Coats, the director of national intelligence; Michael Rogers, the head of the National Security Agency; and Richard Ledgett, the former NSA deputy director. The first time he told Trump was in his first meeting with the president before the inauguration on January 6.
Comey took notes after each of his nine meetings or phone calls with Trump, including one alone with the president in the Oval Office on February 14, the day after Flynn was forced to resign.
Trump’s tweets came after the top lawyer for his transition team warned the organization’s officials to preserve all records and other materials related to the Russian Federation probe.
Trump also compared his position to the investigation of Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server in another tweet.
In another tweet, Mr Trump said: “After 7 months of investigations & committee hearings about my ‘collusion with the Russians, ‘ nobody has been able to show any proof”. But as the special counsel investigation progresses the vice president’s account as a possible witness may become more relevant. And allies of former President Bill Clinton also raised concerns of political bias by Kenneth Starr, who led the Whitewater investigation that ultimately led to Clinton’s impeachment.