Top Democrats warn Trump against firing Rosenstein

ANI | Updated: Feb 03, 2018 02:19 IST

Washington D.C. [U.S.A.] Feb 3 (ANI) The Democrats have told US President Donald Trump that using the Republican memo as a "pretext" to fire Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein or Special Counsel Robert Mueller would spark a "constitutional crisis".

"We write to inform you that we would consider such an unwarranted act as an attempt to obstruct justice in the Russia investigation. Firing Rod Rosenstein, DOJ (Department of Justice) leadership or Bob Mueller could result in a constitutional crisis of the kind not seen since the Saturday night massacre," the Democrats said in a letter to the President.

The massacre is in reference to President Richard Nixon's firing of the Watergate scandal special prosecutor in the 1970s.

Local reports said that Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of California said that they are "alarmed" at reports that Trump may use the memo "as a pretext" to fire Rosenstein "in an effort to corruptly influence or impede" special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation.

Rosenstein is the only Department of Justice official who can remove Mueller, and he was expected to be named in the four-page classified memo made public Friday, local media stated.

Trump recently gave the green signal to release the controversial Nunes memo, containing alleged surveillance abuses of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

"I think it's a disgrace. A lot of people should be ashamed of themselves," Trump said in Oval Office after approving the memo.

The decision clears the way for the Intelligence Committee to release the memo, reported The Hill.

"It was declassified and let's see what happens," Trump added.

White House spokesman Raj Shah said that the copies of the memo had been sent to Republican and Democratic members of the Intelligence panel and Speaker Paul Ryan's office. It is now up to the panel whether to release the memo to the public or not.

In a rare public statement on Wednesday, the FBI had said: "We are gravely concerned that critical facts are missing from the documents and has painted an inaccurate picture of how the bureau sought approval to conduct surveillance in the probe."

Trump had earlier accused top FBI officials and the US Justice Department of "politicising" the memo on the probe into Russian interference in the US elections.

The four-page document has become a flashpoint in a wider battle between the Republicans and Democrats over Mueller's criminal probe into potential collusion between Trump's 2016 presidential campaign and Russia.

The probe grew out of the FBI's Russia investigation after Trump fired FBI director James Comey and Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from the investigation.

Russia has denied meddling in the election campaign and Trump has called Mueller's probe a "political witch hunt". (ANI)