Rosenstein says he wouldn't agree to fire Mueller; calls mount for a second special counsel
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said Wednesday he sees no reason to fire special counsel Robert Mueller and he wouldn’t agree to a request to do so.
Rosenstein spoke during testimony before the House Judiciary Committee, report Bloomberg Politics and USA Today. “I know what he’s doing,” Rosenstein said of Mueller, who he appointed. “If I thought he was doing something inappropriate, I’d take action.”
Rosenstein also said the Justice Department hasn’t determined there was activity justifying the appointment of a new special counsel to investigate the handling of the FBI probe of Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server.
Some Republicans are calling for the appointment of a second special counsel following the release of anti-Trump texts written by an FBI agent before his removal from the special counsel’s investigation. The agent, Peter Strzok, had also helped oversee the investigation of Clinton’s emails.
The Republicans want the second special counsel to investigate alleged political partisanship in the Justice Department and the FBI, report the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times.
They point to another disclosure: the demotion of a former senior Justice Department official, Bruce Ohr, allegedly for not disclosing meetings with Fusion GPS, the company that compiled a dossier with allegations about Donald Trump’s Russia connections. A Fox News report said Ohr’s wife worked for Fusion GPS.
A lawyer for Trump, Jay Sekulow, also called for a second special counsel in an interview with Axios and the Los Angeles Times. “The conflicts of interest here and the impropriety is a very serious concern,” Sekulow said in an interview with the newspaper. “You have to look at all of 2016 and what was going on in the Department of Justice.”
Attorney General Jeff Sessons told reporters on Tuesday that he has gotten several calls for another special counsel. He has ordered a senior Justice Department lawyer to review cases in the office and make a recommendation on whether any additional special counsels are needed.
At the same time, Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz is investigating the anti-Trump texts as part of an inquiry into how the FBI handled the investigation of Clinton emails and Russian interference in the election, the New York Times reports in a second story.
The texts released to Congress on Tuesday were exchanged by Strzok and FBI lawyer Lisa Page. In one text, Page wrote of Trump, “this man cannot be president.” In another, she wrote that, “I’m not going to lie, I got a flash of nervousness yesterday about Trump.”
Strzok wrote that “I’m scared for our organization” if Trump is elected, and referred to Trump as a “douche.” In another, he wrote, ““I am worried about what Trump is encouraging in our behavior. The things that made me proud about our tolerance for dissent.”
In another exchange, Strzok called Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., “an idiot like Trump,” Politico reports. And Page referred to Trump as “a loathsome human.”