News & Politics

Rosenstein May Be Using a Legal Technicality to Protect the Russia Probe

A new report suggests that the deputy attorney general may have found a way to save his and Robert Mueller's jobs, for now.

Photo Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein may be using a legal technicality to persuade President Donald Trump not to interfere in special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation, according to a new reportThursday.

According to Jennifer Jacobs and Chris Strohm of Bloomberg, Rosenstein recently told Trump that he is not the "target" of the investigation. helping to calm the president down after the offices of his attorney Michael Cohen were raided by federal agents.

It has previously been reported that investigators told the president's legal team that he is not a "target" of the probe. However, in it's strict legal definition, this simply means that the investigators have not at this point determined that they expect to charge him with a crime. Trump is reportedly a "subject" of the investigation, which means his conduct is being reviewed for potential criminal violations.

Rosenstein might be relying on this subtle distinction to confuse Trump or lull him into a false sense of security in order to prevent the president from interfering in the investigation.

"Rosenstein’s message may have been based on a technicality. Trump may not officially be a target, but Mueller hasn’t ruled out making him one at some point in the future, according to a U.S. official with knowledge of the unfolding investigation," the reporters wrote. 

In other words: Trump may not be out of legal jeopardy yet, but it's best that he thinks he's safe.

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Cody Fenwick is a reporter and editor. Follow him on Twitter @codytfenwick.