(National Sentinel) Congress: The No. 2 man at the Department of Justice told leading senators Thursday that the probe into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 election had gone from a counterintelligence investigation to a criminal inquiry.
That makes a lot of difference moving forward because now anyone found to have been involved with, or colluding with, the Russians could face criminal charges.
The news comes on the heels of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein’s appointment of former FBI Director Robert Mueller as a special counsel to look into the issue.
As the Washington Times reports:
Addressing lawmakers a day after he appointed a special counsel to head the investigation, Mr. Rosenstein also confirmed that he knew President Trump was going to fire FBI Director James B. Comey even before the president tasked the deputy attorney general with writing a memo justifying the ouster.
Mr. Rosenstein said he has given the special counsel, Robert Mueller, a former FBI director, full independence to pursue his probe and will ensure the investigation has the resources it needs as it looks into Trump campaign aides’ alleged dealings with Russian operatives.
The shift likely will feed the growing frustration of the White House. President Trump again denounced the investigation as a “witch hunt” on Thursday, a day after Mr. Mueller was tapped to head the investigation.
“The biggest legal change seems to be that Mr. Mueller is going to proceed forward with the idea of a criminal investigation versus a counterintelligence investigation,” Sen. Lindsey Graham, South Carolina Republican, told reporters after the briefing.
Apparently, Rosenstein did not officially announce that the probe had gone from a counterintelligence investigation to a criminal inquiry, but Graham added, “…[E]verything he said was that you need to treat this investigation as if it may be a criminal investigation.”
We wonder though – will Mueller investigate all of the criminal leaking of classified information to the press? There have been so many violations of U.S. statutes governing the unauthorized release of classified and sensitive information that aspect of the investigation alone would take up much of Mueller’s time.
We’ll see how it all shakes out. Not everyone is pleased that Rosenstein appointed a special counsel, or that the attorney general, Jeff Sessions, was duped by Democrats into recusing himself from the Russia investigation altogether.
Other lawmakers are clearly disgusted by the appointment and note that if there was anything to Democrats’ charges of “collusion” between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin, Americans would already know it – because leaks.
“Washington is leaking like a sieve,” Rep. Sean Duffy, R-Wis., told CNN. “There are no secrets.”
“I’m not buying into the fact that there’s any collusion,” he said.
And like so many Trump supporters, Duffy sees the pathetically compromised “mainstream” media as feeding the BS narrative, and the unhinged calls for Trump’s impeachment.
“I think the drumbeat is there must be something there, there’s gotta be evidence,” he said. “You don’t have any evidence, and I don’t have any evidence.”