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 DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinDurbin calls Mueller report findings on Trump team 'troubling' Congress opens door to fraught immigration talks McConnell: 'Past time' for immigration-border security deal MORE (D-Ill.) said Friday that Rosenstein must either name a special prosecutor or resign.

Sen. Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinDems reject Barr's offer to view Mueller report with fewer redactions Five takeaways from Mueller's report Only four Dem senators have endorsed 2020 candidates 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 SessionsTrump poised to roll back transgender health protections Trump claims Mueller didn't speak to those 'closest' to him And the winner of the Robert Mueller Sweepstakes is — Vladimir Putin 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.