Rosenstein unaware of ‘disqualifying’ conflict of interest for Mueller

Deputy Attorney General Rod RosensteinRod Jay RosensteinDem lawmakers slam Trump’s declassification of Russia documents as ‘brazen abuse of power’ Time for sunshine on Trump-Russia investigation The Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by United Against Nuclear Iran — Kavanaugh confirmation in sudden turmoil MORE told lawmakers Thursday that he is unaware of any conflicts of interest that would disqualify Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE for leading the federal investigation into Russian interference.

Rosenstein’s answer came in response to questioning during a House Judiciary Committee oversight hearing on the Justice Department’s actions leading up to the 2016 presidential election. Hours earlier, President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump: I hope voters pay attention to Dem tactics amid Kavanaugh fight South Korea leader: North Korea agrees to take steps toward denuclearization Graham calls handling of Kavanaugh allegations 'a drive-by shooting' MORE wrote on Twitter that Mueller should “list his conflicts of interest.”

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“Does Bob Mueller have any conflicts of interest?” Rep. Eric SwalwellEric Michael SwalwellRussia probe accelerates political prospects for House Intel Dems Authorities: California man arrested after trying to stab GOP House candidate As we look back at 9/11, let’s recapture the spirit of uniting to protect America MORE (D-Calif.) asked Rosenstein, the Justice Department official overseeing the Russia investigation, during the hours-long hearing Thursday.

“If there were any conflicts of interest that were brought to our attention, I would discuss it with Mr. Mueller and then there could be review within the department if there were a credible allegation of a conflict of interest,” Rosenstein said. “I am not aware of any disqualifying conflict of interest.”

Some have alleged that Mueller’s friendship with former FBI Director James ComeyJames Brien ComeyEXCLUSIVE: Trump says exposing ‘corrupt’ FBI probe could be ‘crowning achievement’ of presidency Russia docs order sets Trump on collision with intel community Dem lawmaker jabs Trump call for transparency by asking for his tax returns MORE, with whom he worked at the FBI, represents a conflict that should disqualify Mueller from the probe.

Trump tweeted Thursday morning in advance of the hearing, “When is Bob Mueller going to list his Conflicts of Interest? Why has it taken so long? Will they be listed at the top of his $22,000,000 Report.”

“And what about the 13 Angry Democrats, will they list their conflicts with Crooked H? How many people will be sent to jail and … persecuted on old and/or totally unrelated charges (there was no collusion and there was no obstruction of the no collusion)...And what is going on in the FBI & DOJ with Crooked Hillary, the DNC and all of the lies? A disgraceful situation!” Trump wrote.

Thursday’s oversight hearing centered on a bombshell Justice Department inspector general report that chastised Comey for his decisions while he served as director of the FBI in 2016 regarding the investigation into former Sectary of State Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonHillary Clinton: FBI investigation into Kavanaugh could be done quickly Hillary Clinton urges Americans to 'check and reject' Trump's 'authoritarian tendencies' by voting in midterms EXCLUSIVE: Trump says exposing ‘corrupt’ FBI probe could be ‘crowning achievement’ of presidency MORE's email use.

The investigation also revealed FBI agents exchanging text messages negatively characterizing Trump before the election. Republicans have seized on the messages as proof of bias against the president within the bureau.