The White House Is Weighing A Plan To Weaken The Special Prosecutor's Investigation Into Trump's Russia Scandal


The White House Is Weighing A Plan To Weaken The Special Prosecutor's Investigation Into Trump's Russia Scandal
  1. The White House Is Weighing A Plan To Weaken The Special Prosecutor's Investigation Into Trump's Russia Scandal
    motherjones.com
    By Julia Edwards Ainsley WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Trump administration is exploring whether it can use an obscure ethics rule to undermine the special counsel investigation into ties between President Donald Trump's campaign team and Russia, two people familiar with White House thinking said on Friday. Trump has said that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein's hiring of former FBI Director Robert Mueller as special counsel to lead the investigation "hurts our country…
    Politics

Carlo Allegri; Klimentyev Mikhail; Carlos Barria; Kevin Lamarque; Monterey Herald; Sergei Karpukhin; Jim Loscalzo (via ZUMA)

By Julia Edwards Ainsley

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Trump administration is exploring whether it can use an obscure ethics rule to undermine the special counsel investigation into ties between President Donald Trump's campaign team and Russia, two people familiar with White House thinking said on Friday.

Trump has said that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein's hiring of former FBI Director Robert Mueller as special counsel to lead the investigation "hurts our country terribly."

Within hours of Mueller's appointment on Wednesday, the White House began reviewing the Code of Federal Regulations, which restricts newly hired government lawyers from investigating their prior law firm’s clients for one year after their hiring, the sources said.

An executive order signed by Trump in January extended that period to two years.

Mueller's former law firm, WilmerHale, represents Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner, who met with a Russian bank executive in December, and the president's former campaign manager Paul Manafort, who is a subject of a federal investigation.

Legal experts said the ethics rule can be waived by the Justice Department, which appointed Mueller. He did not represent Kushner or Manafort directly at his former law firm.

If the department did not grant a waiver, Mueller would be barred from investigating Kushner or Manafort, and this could  greatly diminish the scope of the probe, experts said.

The Justice Department is already reviewing Mueller's background as well as any potential conflicts of interest, said department spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Flores.

Even if the Justice Department granted a waiver, the White House would consider using the ethics rule to create doubt about Mueller's ability to do his job fairly, the sources said. Administration legal advisers have been asked to determine if there is a basis for this.

Under this strategy, the sources said the administration would raise the issue in press conferences and public statements.

Moreover, the White House has not ruled out the possibility of using the rule to challenge Mueller’s findings in court, should the investigation lead to prosecution.

 

FOCUS ON CASTING A CLOUD OVER MUELLER

But the administration is now mainly focused on placing a cloud over his reputation for independence, according to the sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.     

Kathleen Clark, a professor of legal ethics at Washington University School of Law, said the Justice Department can grant a waiver if concerns about bias are minimal.

She said subjects of the investigation could later argue that its results cannot be…

  1. Maine Supreme Court Says Ranked Choice Law Passed by Voters in 2016 Violates the State Constitution

    Ballot-access.org - Politics
    05.24 / 00:14 ballot-access.org
    On May 23, the Maine Supreme Judicial Court ruled unanimously that the initiative for ranked choice voting passed by the voters in 2016 conflicts with the Maine Constitution. The Maine Constitution since 1880 has said that winners are determined by … Continue reading…
  2. With New Sessions Memo, DOJ Asks Judge to Unblock Sanctuary City Order

    Breitbart.com - Politics
    05.24 / 00:10 breitbart.com
    Armed with a fresh memorandum from Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the Justice Department is asking District Judge William Orrick to reconsider his decision to block a key "sanctuary city" provision of President Donald Trump's executive…
  3. Exclusive — Rand Paul Explains Move to Force Vote Opposing Saudi Weapons Deal

    Breitbart.com - Politics
    05.24 / 00:10 breitbart.com
    Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), a key ally of President Donald Trump’s in the U.S. Senate, plans to force a senate vote regarding the Trump administration’s new more-than-$100 billion Saudi Arabian weapons deal announced on the president’s foreign trip…
  4. House Forwards Early Voting Resolution To Senate

    Ctnewsjunkie.com - Politics
    05.24 / 00:09 ctnewsjunkie.com
    HARTFORD, CT — The House took the first step Tuesday toward allowing the electorate to decide whether to amend the Connecticut constitution to allow for early…
  5. Science Says: Whale of a mystery solved? How they got so big

    Chippewa.com - Politics
    05.24 / 00:06 chippewa.com
    WASHINGTON (AP) -- Scientists think they have answered a whale of a mystery: How the ocean creatures got so huge so…
  6. Trump slips infrastructure plan into budget

    Politico.com -Politics
    05.24 / 00:03 www.politico.com
    Tuesday’s rollout was a muted affair after months of buildup as a bipartisan g…
  7. Chaffetz formed new firm before saying he would leave House

    StarTribune.com-Politics
    05.23 / 23:58 startribune.com
  8. Hines VA Hospital staff working to rid kitchen of roaches

    StarTribune.com-Politics
    05.23 / 23:58 startribune.com
  9. New DEP secretary says there’s no conflict in political side businesses

    MiamiHerald-Politics
    05.23 / 23:57 miamiherald.com
    When Noah Valenstein, the newly appointed head of the Department of Environmental Protection, was applying in April to be the state's top environmental regulator, he left one thing off the … Click to Continue…
  10. Scotts signs 16 bills: $3.75 million to Barahona survivor, crackdown on public records abuses

    MiamiHerald-Politics
    05.23 / 23:57 miamiherald.com
    Gov. Rick Scott signed 16 bills into law Tuesday, agreeing to pay the surviving victim of one of the most horrific child abuse cases in state history $3.75 million in … Click to Continue…
  11. Rod Rosenstein says he's defending Constitution, not worried about reputation

    Events.baltimoresun.com - Politics
    05.23 / 23:52 events.baltimoresun.com
    U.S. Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein told a Baltimore business group Monday his top concern in Washington is defending the Constitution. The comment came less than a week after he was thrust into the national spotlight when the White House used a memo he wrote to explain why the FBI…
  12. Solving Commuting Woes at Penn Station and the MTA

    Wnyc.org - Politics
    05.23 / 23:33 wnyc.org
    It seems like the city's public transportation system is at a breaking point. Two derailments and other failures at Penn Station — run by Amtrak  — have led to big headaches for commuters. And major work is planned this summer, which means more delays and canceled trains. Amtrak is a for-profit corporation, but five of the seven board members are appointed by the President of the United States, making it a quasi-government agency. Then there's the subway system, run by the MTA. Signal and p…
  13. De Blasio on Trump budget: ‘Children will die’

    Thehill.com - Politics
    05.23 / 23:30 thehill.com
    "The money is going to come off the backs of working people," he…
  14. The Memo: Pope, Trump set for first meeting

    Thehill.com - Politics
    05.23 / 23:30 thehill.com
    When President Trump and Pope Francis meet for the first time at the Vatican on Wednesday, every move will be scrutinized for signs of friction.That's hardly surprising given the taut history between the two men. …
  15. Trump hiring Marc Kasowitz as personal lawyer for Russia probe: reports

    Thehill.com - Politics
    05.23 / 23:30 thehill.com
    President Trump plans to retain Marc Kasowitz as his personal attorney to represent him in the federal investigation into his campaign's alleged ties to Russia, according to media…
  16. Seth Rich's parents: Coverage of our son's murder is a 'nightmare'

    Thehill.com - Politics
    05.23 / 23:30 thehill.com
    The parents of murdered Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich penned…
  17. Dem rep: If you believe in math, you can't believe in Trump's budget

    Thehill.com - Politics
    05.23 / 23:30 thehill.com
    Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) slammed President Trump's newly-unveiled budget proposal on Tuesday, saying that Trump's budget is evidence to voters that "he lied.""To many voters who supported Trump, the [Trump…
  18. Lagos Democratic Forum Challenges Tinubu's No Election Primary Directive

    Saharareporters.com - Politics
    05.23 / 23:26 saharareporters.com
    0 Comments Sahara Reporters Lagos Democratic Forum Challenges Tinubu's No Election Primary Directive 2 Hours…
  19. Al Franken Storms The Senate And Obliterates The Secret Republican Health Care Bill

    Politicususa.com - Politics
    05.23 / 23:22 politicususa.com
    In a speech on the Senate floor, Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) took apart the lies that make up the Republican health care bill that is being negotiated behind closed…
  20. Pension raid proposal is nothing more than grandstanding

    Nmpolitics.net - Politics
    05.23 / 23:21 nmpolitics.net
    COMMENTARY: House Republicans say they want to take money from their own retirements, which sounds quite noble. But the reality is very…