Via ABC News:
The senior Justice Department official with ultimate authority over the special counsel’s probe of Russia’s alleged meddling in the 2016 election has privately acknowledged to colleagues that he may have to recuse himself from the matter, which he took charge of only after Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ own recusal, sources tell ABC News.
Those private remarks from Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein are significant because they reflect the widening nature of the federal probe, which now includes a preliminary inquiry into whether President Donald Trump attempted to obstruct justice when he allegedly tried to curtail the probe and then fired James Comey as FBI director.
Rosenstein, who authored an extensive and publicly-released memorandum recommending Comey’s firing, raised the possibility of his recusal during a recent meeting with Associate Attorney General Rachel Brand, the Justice Department’s new third-in-command, according to sources.
Although Rosenstein appointed a special counsel to lead the federal probe, he still makes the final decisions about resources, personnel and — if necessary — any prosecutions.
In the recent meeting with Brand, Rosenstein told her that if he were to recuse himself, she would have to step in and take over those responsibilities. She was sworn-in little more than a month ago.
The article goes on to note:
Rosenstein hasn’t spoken with Mueller since, he told lawmakers last week.
But inside his office in recent days, the deputy attorney general has been grappling with what to do about the expanding probe, and seething over news accounts laying out some of its details, according to one source.
Late last night, he issued what many online are calling a “bizarre” statement, condemning recent reports.
“Americans should exercise caution before accepting as true and stories attributed to anonymous ‘officials,'” Rosenstein said. “Americans should be skeptical about anonymous allegations. The Department of Justice has a long-established policy to neither confirm nor deny such allegations.”
No explanation for the statement was given, but it came just hours after The Washington Post published a story saying Mueller’s inquiry is now looking at the finances and business dealings of Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and a key adviser to the president.
It is pretty obvious that Mueller — or people working for Mueller — are leaking like the freakin Titanic. They probably think they have to do this to push back against
criticisms disgraceful smears of Mueller that no right-thinking people are allowed to entertain, like him hiring big-bucks Democrat donors to fill top positions in his office and his mentor-protege relationship with Comey. Rosenstein is either a secondary target–payback for his letter setting the stage for Comey’s firing–or collateral damage in this strategy as he has supervisory authority over Mueller and is obviously unable to control the leaks.
On the other hand, this was a logical and foreseeable consequence of the carte blanche charter Rosenstein gave to Mueller. Instead of telling him he was only empowered to investigate collusion between Trump campaign staff and Russia and required to report any other misconduct to Rosenstein for decision, Rosenstein gave Mueller a life-tenured position and no administrative brakes on his activities or how long he takes to do his job.
Rosenstein is probably looking at recusal as a blessed relief from the goat-rope/county-fair investigation that is investigating everything except collusion with Russia.