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Rosenstein Sees No Need For Russia Special Prosecutor

Sources close to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein say he is not in favor of appointing a special prosecutor to investigate Russia's alleged involvement in the 2016 presidential election.

Congressional Democrats have urged Rosenstein to appoint a prosecutor in the wake of President Donald Trump's firing of James Comey as FBI director, CNN reported.

One source said that Rosenstein would only think about appointing someone if the FBI inquiry appeared in danger. FBI officials state that the probe is moving forward in spite of Comey's removal.

Some Democrats have argued that Trump's firing of Comey was linked to the FBI's expansion of the Russian probe.

Sen. Mark Warner, the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, which is currently engaged in its own investigation into Russian involvement, is urging Rosenstein to appoint a special prosecutor.

"If he doesn't do that, then I think it's going to be very difficult to solicit a lot of support from Democrats ... in terms of whoever the president picks to be a permanent FBI director," Warner told CNN.

Rosenstein did not make any commitments to the committee's chairman, Sen. Richard Burr, at a meeting May 11.

"This is where, again, the chairman and I just disagree in terms of the needs for this narrowly tailored independent counsel," Warner added. "I expressed that concern to Mr. Rosenstein. He took it under advisement."

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand went even further than Warner, suggesting that Democrats should refuse to vote to confirm Trump's nominee to replace Comey at the head of the FBI until a special prosecutor is appointed.

"I think it's really important. Because what is happening is a subversion of justice," she added, according to Business Insider.

Gillibrand accused Trump of having "tried to undermine the basic institutions of our democracy." She appealed to Republicans to "join in calling for an independent prosecutor in Trump campaign's connections with Russia."

Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan is opposed to appointing a prosecutor.

"I think the intelligence committees are the ones that should do this, because, don't forget that the methods and sources of our intelligence gathering are also at play here, and we have to be very sensitive so that we don't compromise that information as well," Ryan said.

Republican Sen. Jeff Flake stated that he could not find an "acceptable rationale" for Comey's firing. But he remains opposed to appointing an independent counsel.

"You never rule anything out," he said, according to Politico. "But I'm not going there. I don't want to jeopardize the Senate investigation going on."

Sources: CNN, Business Insider, Politico / Photo credit: Qqqqqq/Wikimedia Commons

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