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Ex-deputy attorney general says Justice Dept. 'will ignore' Trump's threats against political rivals

Former Deputy Attorney General Rod RosensteinRod RosensteinProtect the police or the First Amendment? Rosenstein: Zero tolerance immigration policy 'never should have been proposed or implemented' Comey argues Trump shouldn't be prosecuted after leaving Oval Office MORE says he expects the Justice Department to “ignore the President’s threats against his political opponents.”

Rosenstein reacted to President TrumpDonald TrumpVirginia GOP gubernatorial nominee acknowledges Biden was 'legitimately' elected Biden meets with DACA recipients on immigration reform Overnight Health Care: States begin lifting mask mandates after new CDC guidance | Walmart, Trader Joe's will no longer require customers to wear masks | CDC finds Pfizer, Moderna vaccines 94 percent effective in health workers MORE's comments this week pushing Attorney General William BarrBill BarrSenate Democrats urge Garland not to fight court order to release Trump obstruction memo Lawyer for former officer charged in George Floyd death alleges witness coercion CNN legal analyst joins DOJ's national security division MORE to produce results in the probe into how the Obama administration initially investigated the Trump campaign's contacts with Russia in 2016.

“The Department of Justice will ignore the President's threats against his political opponents, as it has in the past, because prosecutors who take an oath to support and defend the Constitution must uphold the rule of law,” Rosenstein tweeted late Friday.

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The former top Justice Department official weighed in following Trump's interview with conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh on Friday, during which the president blasted the delayed report into the Russia probe as "a disgrace" and "embarrassment" and said he'd be willing to confront Barr "to his face."

"See, this is what I mean with the Republicans. They don’t play the tough game. They don’t play the tough game. If this were the other side, you would have had 25 people in jail for the rest of their lives with what we found. That’s a disgrace," Trump said.

Trump also chastised Barr as well as Secretary of State Mike PompeoMike PompeoUS Olympic Committee urges Congress not to boycott Games in China Pompeo on CIA recruitment: We can't risk national security to appease 'liberal, woke agenda' DNC gathers opposition research on over 20 potential GOP presidential candidates MORE and FBI Director Christopher Wray over the Russia investigation and the 2016 election during a phone interview on Fox Business on Thursday, his first interview since being diagnosed with COVID-19 last week.

The president sought to ramp up pressure on the officials to levy punishments for former Secretary of State Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonDemocrats say it's up to GOP to stop Trump 2024 Hillary Clinton to speak at Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders summit More than half of eligible Latinos voted in 2020, setting record MORE over her use of a private email server and for other Obama administration officials for opening a probe into Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election, among other actions.

In response to the interview, Pompeo said Friday that he expects the State Department to release more of Clinton's emails before the election. He did not specify exactly which emails he was referring to, though Trump and his allies have railed against Clinton for keeping official emails with classified information on her personal server. 

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“We’re doing it as fast as we can. I certainly think there’ll be more to see before the election,” Pompeo said on Fox News.

Meanwhile, Republicans are currently overseeing multiple investigations in the Senate, including probing the Justice Department’s investigation into Russia’s meddling and GOP claims it was improperly conducted, probes that Democrats have said are intended to help Trump win reelection.

Trump appointed Rosenstein to serve as deputy attorney general in February 2017, shortly after entering office. Rosenstein later appointed special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) MuellerSenate Democrats urge Garland not to fight court order to release Trump obstruction memo Why a special counsel is guaranteed if Biden chooses Yates, Cuomo or Jones as AG Barr taps attorney investigating Russia probe origins as special counsel MORE to lead the federal Russia probe after Trump fired former FBI Director James ComeyJames Brien ComeyThe FBI should turn off the FARA faucet Barr threatened to resign over Trump attempts to fire Wray: report 'Fox News Sunday' to mark 25 years on air MORE.

Mueller wrapped up his nearly two-year investigation into the Trump campaign and its contacts with Russian officials in March 2019. The investigation concluded that while Russia actively tried to help Trump win the 2016 election, campaign aides were either unaware or not fully receptive to the efforts.

The special counsel said he did not reach a conclusion on the question of obstruction, though Barr later said that he and Rosenstein reviewed the evidence laid out in the report and found it insufficient to accuse the president of obstructing the probe.