Donald Trump’s clearest path to ending the Mueller Investigation has always been getting rid of Rod Rosenstein. Now it appears that Trump’s hand-selected successor may be lawyer Noel Francisco. CREW (citizens for ethics and responsibility in Washington) has discovered a waiver signed by the Trump White House that affects Francisco’s involvement in the case.
According to the report, “Mr. Francisco signed an ethics pledge in which he promised that, for two years after joining the government, he would not participate in any investigation in which Jones Day represents a client.”
Jones Day is representing the Trump campaign in the Mueller case. Since Francisco signed this pledge, he would have to recuse himself from involvement in the investigation. Trump, however, had a secret waiver, signed by Don McGahn, drawn up in April that would allow Francisco to involve himself in the case.
Rosenstein was put in the position of acting Attorney General once Jeff Sessions recused himself from the case. He has long maintained that Mueller will have full authority to run his investigation, without interference, until he releases his findings.
There have been multiple attempts by Trump and the Republican party to rid themselves of Rosenstein. In July, The Freedom Caucus introduced legislation calling for Rosenstein’s impeachment. The group was unable to get enough support for their legislation to gain traction.
In September, The New York times reported, “that Mr. Rosenstein had suggested secretly recording Mr. Trump to document the chaos of the White House in 2017 and had raised the issue of removing the president from office.” Trump was expected by many political pundits to use the report as grounds to fire Rosenstein, but the story quietly went away.
It is thought that Trump may finally fire Rosenstein following the midterm elections. If he was able to do so successfully, Francisco would appear to now be free and clear to meddle in the Mueller probe if he so chooses.