Deputy AG sees no need for special prosecutor on Russia: report

Deputy AG sees no need for special prosecutor on Russia: report
© Greg Nash

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein doesn't find it necessary at this point to appoint a special prosecutor to probe Russia's interference in the presidential election, CNN reported Friday, citing sources familiar with his thinking.

One source told CNN that Rosenstein is unlikely to make a change unless the FBI investigation seems endangered. Rosenstein has reportedly vowed to lawmakers and staff that he plans to allow the bureau’s probe to keep operating free of White House pressures.

Democrats have called for a special prosecutor in the wake of President Trump on Tuesday firing FBI Director James Comey, who was leading the bureau's investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.

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Senate Minority Whip Dick DurbinDick DurbinCOVID-19: US should help Africa, or China will GOP warns McConnell won't blink on debt cliff The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Alibaba - Government shutdown fears increase as leaders dig in MORE (D-Ill.) said Friday that Rosenstein must either name a special prosecutor or resign.

Sen. Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinSenate advances Biden consumer bureau pick after panel logjam Republicans caught in California's recall trap F-35 fighter jets may fall behind adversaries, House committee warns MORE (Calif.), the top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, joined that call on Friday evening, arguing that “these investigations are far too important to risk disruption, delay or interference."

Lawmakers from both parties have raised questions about the timing of Comey's dismissal, the reasoning for which the Trump administration struggled to explain this week. 

The White House initially said Tuesday that Trump fired Comey based on the recommendation of Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsOvernight Hillicon Valley — Apple issues security update against spyware vulnerability Stanford professors ask DOJ to stop looking for Chinese spies at universities in US Overnight Energy & Environment — Democrats detail clean electricity program MORE and Rosenstein. But Trump said Thursday he would have fired Comey regardless of the Justice Department recommendation.

Democrats have also lashed out at Sessions, noting that he vowed earlier this year to recuse himself from any probes involving coordination between Trump associates and Russia.

CNN reported Friday that Rosenstein does not believe it is necessary to recuse himself from the investigation, which is currently being led by Dana Boente, the U.S. attorney in Alexandria, Va., who also heads national security prosecutions at the Justice Department.