If the report is true that special counsel Robert Mueller is investigating President Donald Trump for obstruction, the legal tentacles will be far-reaching, according to an NBC News analysis.
There would be at least five ramifications to an expanded probe into the president, according to NBC:
- Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein would likely need to recuse himself.
- Federal employees who have touch points to the FBI or the Russia investigation would be wise to hire counsel.
- The probe into obstruction began before Mueller was appointed.
- The Justice Department would not indict a sitting president.
- Trump is less likely to fire Mueller now.
Rosenstein has said he is poised to recuse himself if he finds himself as a potential witness to Mueller's probe, meaning the top two officials at Justice would be on the sidelines for the Russia investigation.
An investigation into obstruction would extend beyond the White House, NBC reported, meaning many federal staffers could face legal exposure.
Even if the DOJ determines it cannot indict a sitting president, — leaving that to the Republican-controlled House — it can indict anyone else a probe reveals acted illegally, NBC reported.
If The Washington Post report is true, that the investigation into obstruction began before Mueller was appointed May 17, that means career FBI agents opened a probe soon after former FBI Director James Comey was fired May 9, according to NBC.
Comey testified Trump was not under investigation by the FBI as of May 9, but that he couldn't know if that was still the case after May 9.
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