‘Mueller Can Investigate Any Crimes He Uncovers In Russia Probe,’ Rosenstein Says.
President Trump’s vacation got less pleasant after Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein said Sunday special counsel Robert S. Mueller “can investigate any crimes that he might discover within the scope of his expanding investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election,” even as President Trump dismissed the probe as “a total fabrication.”
Rosenstein’s comments came during an interview on Fox News Sunday, and days after Trump said he believes it would be inappropriate for Mueller to dig into Trump family finances.
“The special counsel has the authority to investigate any crimes he uncovers during his investigation, and we don’t engage in fishing expeditions,” Rosenstein told host Chris Wallace when asked about the probe in an interview on “Fox News Sunday.”
Rosenstein declined to comment on reports that Mueller is using a grand jury in a court in Washington to aid in his investigation but he said that such a step is a routine part of “many investigations.”
“It’s an appropriate way to gather documents, sometimes to bring witnesses in, to make sure that you get their full testimony,” Rosenstein said. “It’s just a tool that we use like any other tool in the course of our investigations. “
Trump and his inner circle have repeatedly dismissed the investigation amid frequent reports that Mueller and his team are digging into broader details on the financial dealings of members of Trump’s campaign team. Senior White House counselor Kellyanne Conway called the probe a “fabrication” in an interview on ABC’s “This Week.” Trump called it “the totally made-up Russia story” in a campaign-style speech he delivered Thursday in West Virginia.
The attacks have raised concerns among Democrats and some Republicans that Trump may be looking for ways to undermine the investigation. Those fears led Sens. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) and Christopher A. Coons (D-Del.) to introduce a bill limit President Trump’s ability to fire special counsel Robert S. Mueller.
Tillis said Sunday that he does not agree that the investigation is a witch hunt and said the bill is intended to bolster the independence of the Justice Department.
You can watch the entire interview here.