The Coming Trump-Mueller Collision

You only do this much preparation to discredit an investigator if you think it’s likely he will find something disparaging. If there’s this much simmering animosity between the White House and Mueller’s investigative team already, how likely is it that the man who fired James Comey will resist the impulse to order Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein to fire Mueller? And if Mueller refuses, will Trump fire Rosenstein?

.. thousands of dollars of political donations to Democrats, including former President Barack Obama, made by Andrew Weissmann, a former senior Justice Department official who has expertise in fraud and other financial crimes.

..Another lawyer Mr. Mueller has hired, Jeannie Rhee, represented the Clinton Foundation.

.. The Justice Department has explicit rules about what constitutes a conflict of interest. Prosecutors may not participate in investigations if they have “a personal or political relationship” with the subject of the case. Making campaign donations is not included on the list of things that would create a “political relationship.”

.. Those Justice Department rules are convenient for federal prosecutors eager to build relationships with officeholders and with political ambitions. Back in 2012, I pulled all the donation records for the 93 U.S. Attorneys and found that 46 had donated a cumulative $235,651 to President Obama, the DNC, and Democratic candidates since January 1, 2007. Not one had donated to any Republican candidate, which isn’t all that surprising, because the president selects the U.S. Attorneys.

.. Back then, Hans A. von Spakovsky, senior legal fellow at the Heritage Foundation and formerly a senior lawyer in the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, told me, “I don’t have a problem with political donations from U.S. Attorneys, because these positions are ultimately political appointments. However, any time a U.S. Attorney’s office gets a case where the target is someone they’ve given funds to, clearly and obviously that attorney needs to recuse himself and hand over the reins.” How about when you’ve donated to the political opponent of the subject of your investigation?