Deputy AG Rosenstein 'frustratingly cautious' in House briefing

Posted May 22, 2017

At least one GOP lawmaker used the session to voice the view, embraced by Trump, that the entire investigation is a "witch hunt" against the president, according to two fellow Republicans who attended.

Some Republicans in US Congress are beginning to distance themselves from President Donald Trump amid allegations that he shared intel with Russian Federation, sparking speculation that more Republican lawmakers may follow.

Rosenstein denied media reports from last week that Comey had asked him for additional resources for his investigation before Trump fired him.

Rep. Ruben Gallego said the briefing was "worthless" and that Rosenstein refused to answer a lot of questions, leading to more confusion and frustration among members of Congress.

The President's comments come after he angrily denounced the appointment of former FBI boss Robert Mueller to head the Russian Federation investigation in a series of angry tweets as "the single greatest witch hunt of a politician" in USA history. He proceeded to disclose details about the evidence; assert that the American people "deserve" to know details; declare that no "reasonable" prosecutor would file charges; and criticize Secretary Clinton.

"I felt we should have gotten more information, some direct responses", the Arizona Democrat said.

"I think people, generally speaking, would feel very confident in him and his decision making in relation to the special counsel", Sen.

Rep. Joe Crowley of NY, chairman of the House Democratic conference, said the briefing allayed some concerns because it appeared Mr. Mueller would be operating not with "a full blank check, but all the resources he will need to fulfill what he believes he needs to do to bring this to a close". A day after the memo came out, Trump also said he'd previously made that decision. An unsettling report from The New York Times last night traced all the ways that President Trump tried to Make Friends and Influence the Bureau chief.

During Thursday's news conference, Mr Trump contradicted both his own account and that of Mr Rosenstein. "He was insane, a real nut job", Mr. Trump said, according to the document, which was read to The New York Times by an American official.

"Then he had the very poor performance on Wednesday, that was a poor, poor performance, so poor in fact that I believe, and you would have to ask him...the deputy attorney general went out and wrote his very, very strong letter".

And he repeated his surprise that his decision to fire Comey was met with such an uproar.

"I think it's totally ridiculous".

Something similar happened during Bill Clinton's second term, when Mike McCurry often referred questions about the Monica Lewinsky scandal to special prosecutor Ken Starr or said he couldn't comment. The Trump White House has obviously denied more or less everything, but has so thoroughly leeched the credibility out of the office of the president and the man who inhabits it that it's hard to know if the administration still has its ethical bearings enough to even know where the truth begins and ends anymore.

Trump has reacted furiously to the appointment but Democrats and even many Republicans have generally welcomed it. But the longer-term consequences will be to continue the political fighting, perhaps even prolong it, and to expand the scope of the controversies under investigation. Each has a distinct goal, said John Barrett, a law professor at St. John's University in NY who formerly worked for the independent counsel who investigated the Iran-Contra affair during the Reagan administration. But he added, "I wrote it". We need to be focused on what our role is.