As special counsel Robert Mueller’s supposedly independent investigation continues to haunt the Trump administration, the FBI has issued a surprising warning to Mueller himself to stay in line–lest he faces the consequences.
“Bob Mueller understands and I understand the specific scope of the investigation, and so no, it’s not a fishing expedition,” said Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein yesterday. If there’s evidence of a crime that’s found within the scope of what they have agreed, then Mueller has free rein, Rosenstein would explain. However, if it’s outside the scope of the probe, then “he needs to come to the Acting Attorney General, at this time me, for permission to expand his investigation,” he stated, according to the Washington Examiner.
Rosenstein originally appointed Mueller to oversee the federal Russia probe, which began back in May when President Trump fired FBI Director James Comey. Although such a matter would fall under Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ attention, he recused himself from the case, in which Rosenstein ultimately was given the power to hire and fire the special counsel.
Reports surfaced claiming that Mueller expanded his investigation to look at Trump’s finances, as well as putting pressure on previous employees of the president, such as his former campaign manager Paul Manafort.
Trump has vocally criticized these tactics in a New York Times interview where he stated, “I think that’s a violation. Look, this is about Russia.”
According to some sources, Mueller’s investigators have been looking into the financial records that have no relation to the 2016 election cycle, with one report noting “sources described an investigation that has widened to focus on possible financial crimes, some unconnected to the 2016 election,” according to CNN.
It doesn’t take a lawyer to realize that Trump’s finances fall completely outside of the realm of his election campaign and goes beyond the scope of Mueller’s appointment–a move that his superior, Rosenstein, has made clear.
John Dowd, Trump’s lawyer, remarked that “Those transactions are in my view well beyond the mandate of the special counsel; are unrelated to the election of 2016 or any alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia and more importantly, are well beyond any Statute of Limitation imposed by the United States Code.”
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