Friday, June 16, 2017

If Rod Rosenstein Recuses: What Happens Next? - Lawfare

Deputy A.G. Rosenstein is in an impossible bind. He is a witness in the matter of the Comey firing.   Rosenstein was a pawn, a dupe, or a collaborator in that.  He is legally charged with overseeing the investigation of that as an obstruction of justice.
If Rod Rosenstein Recuses: What Happens Next? - Lawfare
by Jack Goldsmith (Harvard L.S.) and Benjamin Wittes (Brookings Institution)

ABC News is reporting that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein “has privately acknowledged to colleagues that he may have to recuse himself from” his role as Acting Attorney General for the Department’s Russia Investigation. (Recall that Rosenstein assumed that role when Attorney General Sessions recused himself earlier.)  Rosenstein’s involvement in the case has grown untenable for many reasons. Most importantly, the substance of the investigation has apparently developed to include a potential obstruction of justice focus on the President in connection with (among other things) the President’s discussions with and firing of James Comey. In that matter, Rosenstein may be a witness because of his role in the firing, and thus he cannot at the same time be the supervisor of the investigation. (Noah Feldman makes a similar argument in BloombergView.) In addition, the President and his surrogates have viciously attacked Rosenstein’s choice of Special Counsel, Robert Mueller. This morning, the President also seemed to say that Rosenstein himself is responsible for what the President sees as a witch hunt against him:
These developments surely suffice to at least require Rosenstein’s recusal.

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