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Lindsey Graham says Trump's AG pick committed to letting Mueller probe continue

10 January 2019
Lindsey Graham says Trump's AG pick committed to letting Mueller probe continue

Rod Rosenstein, who appointed Special Counsel Robert Mueller to investigate Russian meddling in the US presidential election, is expected to leave the Justice Department after a new attorney general is confirmed, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Rosenstein was the person who oversaw the probe by special counsel Robert Mueller for more than a year.

Rosenstein, who had written a memo supporting the dismissal of former FBI Director James Comey based on the premise that Comey had treated Hillary Clinton unfairly during the 2016 campaign, had more recently clashed with Trump after reports he made comments about overthrowing Trump or secretly recording him shortly before Mueller's appointment. However, Rosenstein has continued to be the main Justice Department official to interact with Mueller and receive updates on the investigation.

ABC News reported there was no indication Rosenstein was being forced to step down.

If Barr is confirmed, he would likely assume oversight of the Russian Federation investigation, which he has previously expressed criticisms of.

Barr's Senate confirmation hearing begins January 15, which means a confirmation vote at the earliest would occur in mid-February.

Last year, the White House expressed alarm over the warrant to spy on Page, saying it "raises serious concerns about the integrity of decisions made at the highest levels of the Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation to use the government's most intrusive surveillance tools against American citizens".

Rosenstein told President Trump and White House officials that if William Barr is confirmed, he'll leave soon after, according to multiple sources familiar with his plans. "My guess is he is making room for the new attorney general to build a team that he wants around him".

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) told reporters that Barr talked to him about his relationship with Mueller, including the fact that their wives are in a Bible study group together and Mueller has attended two of Barr's daughters' weddings.

"I'm going to do a deep dive into the FISA issue, I think he'll be part of it", Graham said of Barr.

Barr has criticized the Mueller investigation in the past, including an unsolicited memo he sent the Justice Department previous year critiquing Mueller's investigation into whether the president had sought to obstruct justice by firing Comey.

In that memo, he criticized Mueller's Russian Federation probe - writing that his investigation into possible obstruction of justice related to Trump's firing of FBI Director James Comey was 'fatally misconceived'.

It is unclear how Barr's criticisms will come into play during his Senate confirmation hearing.

President Donald Trump's attorney general nominee, William Barr, told Trump confidant Sen.

At a news conference in December, Rosenstein said that Mueller's investigation would be "handled appropriately" no matter who is overseeing it.