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Rod Rosenstein will resign the Justice Department in mid-march

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Rod Rosenstein, the U.S. deputy attorney general who appointed a special counsel to investigate possible ties between Russia and President Donald Trump’s campaign, is expected to step down by mid March, a Justice Department official said on Monday.

Rosenstein had been expected to depart shortly after new Attorney General William Barr assumed office. Barr was confirmed for the role by the U.S. Senate last week.

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The Justice official said Rosenstein’s departure was not related to renewed allegations that he considered wearing a wire in meetings with Trump and using the 25th amendment of the U.S. Constitution to remove the president from office.

Rosenstein, the No. 2 official at the Justice Department, in May 2017 named Special Counsel Robert Mueller to investigate ties between Trump’s 2016 presidential election campaign and Moscow. The investigation continues.

A registered Republican, Rosenstein made the decision because his then-boss, former Attorney General Jeff Sessions, a Trump supporter during the 2016 campaign, had recused himself from the issue.

Last September, the New York Times reported Rosenstein in 2017 had suggested secretly recording Trump and recruiting Cabinet members to oust the president using the provisions of the Constitution’s 25th Amendment.

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In an interview broadcast on Sunday with CBS News “60 Minutes,” former acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe confirmed the Times account that Rosenstein considered wearing a wire in meetings with Trump.

Rosenstein said both the Times story and McCabe’s account were “inaccurate and factually incorrect,” which a Justice Department spokeswoman reiterated after the “60 Minutes” interview.

Earlier on Monday Trump accused both McCabe and Rosenstein of planning a “very illegal act,” which he described in a tweet as “illegal and treasonous.”

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Rosenstein ceased overseeing Mueller’s probe on Nov. 7 when Trump named Matt Whittaker acting attorney general.

Barr now has oversight of the investigation.

Rosenstein had attracted far more attention than is typical for the No. 2 Justice Department official because of his decision to appoint Mueller to lead the investigation eight days after Trump fired James Comey as director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

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Trump has frequently and publicly seethed about the Mueller probe, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Justice Department, which oversees them both.

The president has denied any collusion and Russia says there was no election meddling, despite findings to the contrary by U.S. intelligence agencies.

Mueller’s investigation, which the president has repeatedly called a “witch hunt,” has so far netted 34 individuals and three companies who have pleaded guilty, been indicted or been otherwise swept up in the inquiry.

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Additional reporting by Jeff Mason and David Brunnstrom; Editing by Dan Grebler


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
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‘Should we talk about Ivanka?’: MSNBC guest calls for Trump family investigation if Biden’s son is scrutinized

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During a panel discussion on Donald Trump's call for an investigation of Joe Biden's son Hunter over his Ukraine dealings, an "AM Joy" guest said if Congress is going to investigate politician's kids why not start with Ivanka Trump and her brothers Don Jr. and Eric.

Speaking with MSNBC host Joy Reid, Intercept columnist Mehdi Hasan called out President Donald Trump for his "brazenness" going after the former vice president's son.

"There's so much to say about this story, as for the Ukrainian denials, what are they going to do, come out and say, 'Yes, Donald Trump did pressure our president eight times in a single phone call'? It's absurd." Hasan began.

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Tapper smacks Mnuchin with Trump kids’ international business deals after attack on Biden son

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In a fairly contentious interview with Steve Mnuchin, CNN host Jake Tapper pointed out how Donald Trump's children -- Don Jr., Ivanka and Eric -- have been using their father's name to swing international deals after the Treasury secretary accused former Vice President Joe Biden's son of doing the same.

Mnuchin first dismissed reporting by the Washington Post and the conservative Wall Street Journal that Donald Trump was withholding Ukraine funding in an effort to get dirt on Biden and his son -- saying neither newspaper could be trusted -- he then complained to the CNN host about having to spend seven and a half minutes talking about Trump's Ukraine scandal.

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2020 Election

Will Trump peacefully vacate the Oval Office if he loses the presidential election in 2020? A lesson from 1800

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As primary season heats up in the United States, the Democrats are anxiously debating the best path to unseat Donald Trump in 2020. But the question of how to beat Trump is perhaps less urgent than the issue of whether he will accept defeat.

Trump has already questioned his loss of the 2016 popular vote with baseless accusations of voter fraud. He has also repeatedly toyed with the idea of extending his presidency beyond the eight-year limit enshrined in the U.S. Constitution, even trumpeting Jerry Falwell Jr.’s assertion that his first term be extended by two years to compensate for the Russia investigation. Perhaps most ominously, Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen warned while testifying before the House Oversight Committee in February 2019:

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