Politics Who is Mueller's boss if Rosenstein goes?

04:30  12 april  2018
04:30  12 april  2018 Source:   CNN

Graham uses Fox News appearance to ask Trump not to fire Mueller

  Graham uses Fox News appearance to ask Trump not to fire Mueller Sen. Lindsey Graham asked President Trump during an appearance on Fox News to not fire special counsel Robert Mueller, who is currently investigating Russian meddling in the 2016 election. "Mr. President, if you're watching, I think you're gonna be fine unless you screw this up," Graham said on Fox News. "Let the process play out. I don't believe you colluded with th e Russians, but Mueller will soon tell us. The Cohen situation I am convinced has got nothing to do with Russia.

Rosenstein is in essence Mueller ’ s boss . If Rosenstein is fired, Mueller gets a new boss , one who may ether end the investigation or limit it’s scale and scope. The line of succession would put Rachel Brand, the Associate Attorney General in Rosenstein ’s position, and

He is said to have asked Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein where the Russia investigation is going . It is also Rosenstein who will determine what should be done with whatever Mueller finds.

WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 26: Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein speaks at the Financial Services Roundtable 2018 Spring Conference February 26, 2018 in Washington, DC. Rosenstein answered questions on issues related to the financial services industry during his appearance. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images) © Win McNamee/Getty Images North America/Getty Images WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 26: Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein speaks at the Financial Services Roundtable 2018 Spring Conference February 26, 2018 in Washington, DC. Rosenstein answered questions on issues related to the financial services industry during his appearance. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Only one person at the Justice Department has the ability to stop special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation. But what happens if that person is fired?

CNN has reported that President Donald Trump is ruminating about axing Mueller's boss, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, as a way to curtail the investigation.

Trump 'certainly believes he has the power' to fire Mueller, White House says

  Trump 'certainly believes he has the power' to fire Mueller, White House says President Donald Trump "believes he has the power to" fire special counsel Robert Mueller, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said Tuesday. "He certainly believes he has the power to do so," Sanders said when asked whether Trump believes he has that power.She did not suggest Trump would be moving to fire Mueller.Under the special counsel regulations, Mueller may be "disciplined or removed from office only by the personal action of the attorney general.

Who the administration makes acting Associate AG is a critical thing to watch. If Rosenstein has to recuse (and I don't get how he hasn't yet), that person is suddenly Mueller ' s boss .

Many observers believed Trump might use the declassified memo as justification to fire his deputy attorney general — who also happens to be Mueller ’ s boss . Trump can’t fire Mueller without Rosenstein ’s go -ahead.

What Trump does next could trigger any number of messy legal battles. Here's what to know.

1. There is a succession plan

Rosenstein, the No. 2 official at the department, is supervising the Mueller probe because Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from all matters related to the 2016 presidential campaign.

So if Rosenstein is fired or recuses himself (as a witness to key events), someone else at the Justice Department will have to manage the investigation.

This is where the department's succession plan and the President's executive order for vacancies come into play.

The following list of individuals -- which is a mashup of officials because certain Trump nominees have not yet been Senate-confirmed -- would be next in line to step in Rosenstein's shoes:

Rosenstein tells Trump he is not a target of Michael Cohen investigation

  Rosenstein tells Trump he is not a target of Michael Cohen investigation Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein told President Trump last week that the president is not a target in the Michael Cohen investigation, and that the investigation is focused solely on Cohen, the president's personal attorney, a source familiar with the probe told Fox News on Thursday. Trump has been told previously that he is not a target of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation.The source also said the Cohen investigation, together with the abrupt departure of John Dowd from Trump's legal team, slowed, but did not halt talks about Trump sitting down for a potential interview with Mueller.

Rosenstein is currently the Deputy Attorney General, reporting to boss Jeff Sessions ( who , for those keeping score at home, Trump has also called out for being “weak”). If Trump were to insist that Mueller go , it would likely be Rosenstein who ’d get the call.

In Mueller ’ s case, Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself, because of meetings he had held with the “If there is a referral, it’s going to have to go through Rosenstein . In the interim, the White House tried to pin the firing on Rosenstein himself, who reportedly threatened to resign in protest.

  1. Solicitor General Noel Francisco
  2. The assistant attorney general for the Office of Legal Counsel, Steven Engel
  3. The assistant attorney general for national security, John Demers
  4. The US attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina, Robert Higdon
  5. The US attorney for the Northern District of Texas, Erin Nealy Cox

Under this hypothetical, Francisco would be the first in line to supervise Mueller. But Rosenstein's acting principal associate deputy, Ed O'Callaghan, would become acting deputy attorney general for all other regular duties.

2. Who fills vacancies?

The issue of who runs the Mueller investigation could become complicated if Trump tries to appoint someone else to serve as acting deputy attorney general under the Federal Vacancies Reform Act.

The President has already done this for acting heads of the Veterans Affairs Department and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Trump Says Mueller, Rosenstein 'Still Here' and Blasts Probe

  Trump Says Mueller, Rosenstein 'Still Here' and Blasts Probe President Donald Trump said Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and Special Counsel Robert Mueller “are still here” despite talk that he would fire them, and he predicted a quick end to the investigation into Russian tampering with the 2016 election. “They’ve been saying I’m going to get rid of them for the last three months, four months, five months,” Trump said Wednesday at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida. “And they’re still here. We want to get the investigation over with, done with, put it behind us. And we have to get back to business.

Rosenstein ’s Role in Mueller ’ s Probe. At the time of Mueller ’ s appointment, Rosenstein defined the scope of the investigation – which he left very It appears that the threat of major public backlash has since deterred Trump from firing Mueller (Trump has now repeatedly said he is not going to fire him).

And it is Rosenstein , thanks to the recusal of Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who authorized Mueller ’ s investigation in the first place — and who is the only The president cannot directly interfere with the special counsel’s investigation without going through — or getting rid of — Rosenstein .

But the key question is whether that new person, once appointed, could fire Mueller. Legal experts disagree on this and point to several unresolved issues.

The Federal Vacancies Reform Act is silent about what happens when someone is fired, as opposed to resigning.

Former Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin repeatedly insisted that he had been fired, whereas the White House said he had resigned.

Some legal experts believe that if Rosenstein were fired, Trump could put in whomever he wants because the Federal Vacancies Reform Act implicitly includes firings, it would be impossible in certain cases to distinguish between a forced resignation and a termination, and the President's hands shouldn't be tied. Others say, however, that there's a policy argument that allowing the act to cover firings permits the president to work around Senate confirmation in a way that shouldn't be encouraged.

Still other experts emphasize that Rosenstein is not supervising Mueller in his role as deputy attorney general, he's doing it as the acting attorney general. Under the special counsel regulations, the "Attorney General, or in cases in which the Attorney General is recused, the Acting Attorney General, will appoint a Special Counsel when he or she determines that criminal investigation of a person or matter is warranted."

Therefore, those experts argue that only Francisco (or the next in line) could step in to fire Mueller because he's the next in succession to be acting attorney general. They point to the fact that the regulations do not say "Attorney General or Deputy Attorney General." Yet others argue that by someone else being appointed as acting deputy attorney general, that person should take on all the current responsibilities of the permanent one, which naturally includes the Mueller investigation.

Bottom line: This would all be uncharted territory, none of this has been resolved by the Supreme Court and any moves could trigger swift litigation.

Rosenstein Said to Tell Trump He's Not Target in Mueller Probe .
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein told President Donald Trump last week that he isn’t a target of any part of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, according to two people familiar with the matter. Rosenstein, who brought up the Mueller probe himself, offered the assurance during a meeting with Trump at the White House last Thursday, a development that helped tamp down the president’s desire to remove Rosenstein or Mueller, the people said.After the meeting, Trump told some of his closest advisers that it’s not the right time to remove either man since he’s not a target of the probe.

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