After Comey, here are the options for an independent Russia inquiry

The New York Times reports: President Trump’s firing of the F.B.I. director, James B. Comey, on Tuesday escalated calls among Democrats to appoint a special counsel to oversee the investigation into the Trump campaign’s contacts with Russia, especially given Russian interference in the 2016 election.

Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein, who is overseeing that investigation, was also the face of Mr. Trump’s decision to fire Mr. Comey: The administration released a lengthy memo from Mr. Rosenstein recommending that Mr. Comey be removed, citing the way he handled the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server while secretary of state.

Late on Tuesday, Senator Patrick J. Leahy, Democrat of Vermont, said Mr. Rosenstein “now has no choice but to appoint a special counsel.”

“His integrity, and the integrity of the entire Justice Department, are at stake,” Mr. Leahy continued.

Senator Mark Warner of Virginia, the top Democrat on the Intelligence Committee, which is also investigating the Trump-Russia question, called it “deeply troubling” that Mr. Trump had fired Mr. Comey during an active counterintelligence investigation. He said the move had made it “clear to me that a special counsel also must be appointed.”

The developments have heightened interest in several related legal issues. [Continue reading…]

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