President Donald Trump has publicly attacked his own deputy attorney general, Rod Rosenstein, over his authorization of special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
Trump has reportedly been mulling plans to fire Rosenstein and replace him with someone who will presumably do his bidding to shut down the probe.
However, a Daily Beast profile of Noel Francisco — the man who is next in line at the Department of Justice to replace Rosenstein — shows that it might not be that simple.
Although Francisco is an unabashed conservative who once clerked for the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, he is also a constitutional law expert who, his friends say, is unlikely to serve as Trump’s personal henchman.
“One of Francisco’s long-time friends, who spoke anonymously because of the sensitivity of the matter, said Francisco would be nobody’s tool,” the Daily Beast reports. This source also said that Francisco would likely quit his job if Trump ever asked him to do something unlawful.
And Chuck Cooper, a longtime associate of Francisco, tells the Daily Beast that Francisco is “a man of principle and impeccable integrity,” although he wouldn’t say how his former colleague would react if Trump were to order him to fire Mueller.