Picking them off

But hey, Rosenstein may have to recuse himself anyway.

ABC News is reporting that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein “has privately acknowledged to colleagues that he may have to recuse himself from” his role as Acting Attorney General for the Department’s Russia Investigation. (Recall that Rosenstein assumed that role when Attorney General Sessions recused himself earlier.)  Rosenstein’s involvement in the case has grown untenable for many reasons. Most importantly, the substance of the investigation has apparently developed to include a potential obstruction of justice focus on the President in connection with (among other things) the President’s discussions with and firing of James Comey. In that matter, Rosenstein may be a witness because of his role in the firing, and thus he cannot at the same time be the supervisor of the investigation. (Noah Feldman makes a similar argument in BloombergView.) In addition, the President and his surrogates have viciouslyattacked Rosenstein’s choice of Special Counsel, Robert Mueller. This morning, the President also seemed to say that Rosenstein himself is responsible for what the President sees as a witch hunt against him…

So all in all: awkward.

Rosenstein’s potential recusal raises a number of important questions. First, how much longer can he stay on as Deputy Attorney General? He first seemed to compromise himself when, under apparent pressure from the President and the Attorney General, he wrote a pretextual memorandum for James Comey’s firing as FBI Director, only to see the President toss him under the bus and reveal how he was used. Rosenstein is Exhibit A for how working for Donald Trump in a legal capacity can tarnish one’s reputation. The President, who appears to lack respect for law and legal process, has now used Rosenstein for overtly political ends and both undermined his integrity by announcing the pretextual nature of his memorandum and attacked his integrity directly in the tweet this morning.

Americans should exercise caution before consenting to work for Donald Trump.

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