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California's attorney general and 19 counterparts call for independent special counsel in Russia probe

Los Angeles Times

California politics updates: Gov. Brown's adds cash to budget; McClintock calls for independent prosecutor for Russia investigation This is Essential Politics, our daily look at California political and government news. Los Angeles County Democratic Party Chairman Eric Bauman asked supporters to "push back" against what he called a targeted campaign to spread false rumors about him online. Feinstein puts out scathing statement on the reasoning for the firing of former FBI Director James Comey. Los Angeles County Democratic Party Chairman Eric Bauman asked supporters to "push back" against what he called a targeted campaign to spread false rumors about him online. Feinstein puts out scathing statement on the reasoning for the firing of former FBI Director James Comey.


Only Norms Could Stop Him

Slate

The acting attorney general, Matthew Whitaker, is in a position to seriously undermine the Russia investigation. He could potentially take several steps behind closed doors without the public being able to know in a timely manner. Other steps would be immediately visible. In the final analysis, the principal constraints on the acting attorney general if he is considering ways to undercut the investigation are the degree to which he is concerned about the personal repercussions of violating the most fundamental norms of his profession, as well as the longer-term damage to the institutions of justice and any political blowback from Congress or the public. Some individuals may risk those consequences, and even delight in thumbing a nose at Congress on the belief that they serve a more noble cause or in the firm knowledge that, as a legal matter, they can get away with it.


Flynn rejects Trump-Russia probe subpoena; Dems say he lied

Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Donald Trump's former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination in rebuffing a subpoena Monday in the investigation into Russia's election meddling. Hours later, Rep. Elijah Cummings, senior Democrat on the House oversight committee, said government documents he's reviewed showed inconsistencies in Flynn's disclosures to U.S. investigators in early 2016 during his security clearance review. Cummings said Flynn appeared to have misled authorities about the source of a $33,000 payment from Russia's state-sponsored television network, failed to identify foreign officials with whom he met -- including Russia's President Vladimir Putin -- and glossed over his firing as chief of the Defense Intelligence Agency during the Obama administration. Trump appointed Flynn, a retired U.S. Army lieutenant general and top military intelligence chief, as his top national security aide in January, only to fire him less than a month later.


MYSTERY TEAM Conway says Mueller must disclose his staff, ties

FOX News

White House Counselor Kellyanne Conway suggested Monday that the head of the Russia investigation should fully disclose the names of the attorneys he's hired after it was revealed several Democratic donors are part of the team scrutinizing the Trump administration at the highest levels. "I think it's relevant information that the public should have," Conway told "Fox & Friends." Special Counsel Robert Mueller's office has started to reveal the makeup of its investigative team. A spokesman said Monday they've hired 13 attorneys, with more in the pipeline. To date, the office has confirmed six names – more could be confirmed in the coming days.


Special counsel pick could boost faith in Justice Dept.

Associated Press

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein arrives on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, May 18, 2017, for a closed-door meeting with Senators a day after appointing former FBI Director Robert Mueller to oversee the investigation into possible ties between Russia and President Donald Trump's campaign. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein arrives on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, May 18, 2017, for a closed-door meeting with Senators a day after appointing former FBI Director Robert Mueller to oversee the investigation into possible ties between Russia and President Donald Trump's campaign. WASHINGTON (AP) -- Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein's decision to appoint former FBI Director Robert Mueller to head an investigation into possible Russian coordination with the Trump campaign could help restore public faith in an independent Justice Department. At his March confirmation hearing for the job of deputy attorney general, Rosenstein refused to commit to the appointment of a special counsel to oversee an investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, saying he was aware of no requirement to recuse himself and had no first-hand knowledge of the probe anyway.