The president just can’t get enough of the idea of obstruction of justice, can he. After months and months of reports about steps that the president has taken to try and undercut the independence and integrity of the Russia investigation, there’s now a new report out from CNN about yet another suspicious interaction between the president and a senior justice official.
CNN, the outlet that has probably borne the brunt of the president’s endless allegations of “fake news,” reports this week that back in December, the president commented to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein along the same lines as he’d commented to the now former FBI Director James Comey months earlier.
Rosenstein is the one who, in the absence of Attorney General Jeff Sessions from Russia investigation related affairs because of his recusal, appointed Special Counsel Robert Mueller to oversee the investigation following Comey’s firing.
Trump, according to CNN, “wanted to know where the special counsel’s Russia investigation was heading” while meeting with Rosenstein back in December, also pressing the Deputy Attorney General about whether or not he was on the president’s “team.”
These comments mirror a request for James Comey to pledge “loyalty” months earlier. Comey refused that request and others in the same vein, including one from the president for the FBI Director to wind down components of the Russia investigation, which is no doubt one of the highest profile political scandals in recent history.
Trump learned — or at least, should have learned — from Comey’s refusals that the U.S. isn’t some dictatorship where the chief executive can bend the judicial system to his wishes whenever he pleases.
Even still, he pressed on, eventually firing Comey, but even then, he couldn’t get out of facing accountability and saw Rosenstein’s appointment of Special Counsel Mueller, who has so far brought charges against four former associates of the president, including most recently former presidential national security adviser Michael Flynn.
During the December meeting where the president is alleged to have pressed Rosenstein about the trajectory of Mueller’s investigation, the Deputy AG “appeared surprised by the President’s questions,” according to sources speaking to CNN. He also “demurred on the direction of the Russia investigation” and “responded awkwardly to the President’s “‘team’ request.”
Rosenstein met with the president in the first place because he wanted support from the White House in keeping the controversial House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes from accessing sensitive Justice Department documents as a part of his still very much alive sham investigation into the Justice Department.
Although CNN reports that the president didn’t make a decision about the matter at the December meeting, he eventually did have his chief of staff John Kelly relay to Rosenstein that the White House wouldn’t be on his side on the matter.
Nunes’ “investigation” recently culminated in the production of a controversial memo alleging politically motivated abuses of investigative power at the Justice Department.
Nunes’ committee recently voted to make the classified memo public, but it still has to undergo further review by the White House.
The FBI itself is reportedly against the memo being released, but just like in the case of Rosenstein’s meeting with the president back in December, Trump remains very much not on the side of law and order.
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