Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh continued pushing back against the Trump administration today, this time by joining a group of his colleagues from 19 states plus D.C. in asking the feds to appoint a special prosecutor to probe the president’s ties to Russia.
Interestingly, the letter Frosh signed was aimed at his old federal counterpart Rod Rosenstein. Now the deputy U.S. attorney general serving under Jeff Sessions, Rosenstein was the U.S. attorney for the District of Maryland for 11 years.
Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey penned the letter and had everyone else sign it. It’s fairly brief. Here are the two paragraphs of text in full:
As the chief law enforcement officers of our respective states, we view the President’s firing of FBI Director James Comey in the middle of his investigation of Russian interference in the presidential election as a violation of the public trust. As prosecutors committed to the rule of law, we urge you to consider the damage to our democratic system of any attempts by the administration to derail and delegitimize the investigation.
The residents of our states and the American people deserve a thorough investigation that makes clear the extent of Russian meddling, any collusion by Trump campaign officials, and any coverup. Only the appointment of an independent special counsel, pursuant to 28 CFR § 600.1, with full powers and resources, can begin to restore public confidence. We urge you to appoint a special counsel immediately.
Rosenstein played a major role in getting now-former FBI Director James Comey fired this week. In a memo he sent to Sessions two days ago, the former Maryland prosecutor wrote that Comey broke chain of command by calling a press conference to kill the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server for official business. He also expressed distaste for the fact that Comey wouldn’t admit he did anything wrong by not letting the investigation proceed internally within the U.S. Justice Department.
As Frosh and company noted, it looks fishy when the president fires the head of the FBI, which is investigating him for accusations of colluding with Russia during the election. It also looks even more fishy when members of his inner circle are found to have lied about having been in touch with Russia during campaign season.
The signing prosecutors would therefore prefer an outside investigator come in and take a look, independent of any potential influence from their boss named Donald Trump.
As of now, Rosenstein is leading the probe into the president’s ties to Russia. He hasn’t indicated he plans to bring in any outside help. The FBI, meanwhile, says it’s still investigating, and now reportedly won’t be working with Rosenstein.
Senators, meanwhile, are laying into Rosenstein to figure out whether Trump tasked him with making the case to fire Comey.
This is only one case in which Frosh has publicly opposed what’s happening in the White House. He’s made Maryland a party to a lawsuit opposing Trump’s failed travel ban executive order, and has also advised law enforcement agencies across the state against helping federal immigration officers deport immigrants from the country.
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