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Republican Lawmakers Criticize Top Justice Official Over Mueller Probe

Deputy U.S. Attorney General Rod Rosenstein testifies to the House Judiciary Committee on December 13.
Deputy U.S. Attorney General Rod Rosenstein testifies to the House Judiciary Committee on December 13.

WASHINGTON -- Republican lawmakers are criticizing a top U.S. Justice Department official about the political opinions of investigators looking at interactions between President Donald Trump's associates and Russian officials.

On December 13, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein appeared before the House Judiciary Committee, where lawmakers pushed him on some of the details of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigative team.

Rosenstein, who has oversight for Mueller's probe, was pressed by Republicans about newly released text messages that show two members of Mueller's team were vehemently opposed to Trump.

Asked by one lawmaker if Trump were to order him to fire Mueller, whether Rosenstein would do it, Rosenstein replied: "I would follow regulation."

"If there were good cause, I would act. If there were no good cause, I would not," he said.

Pressed further, Rosenstein said he had not seen any cause to terminate Mueller.

"It would've been difficult to find anyone more qualified for this job," he told the panel.

Mueller's probe has already resulted in two indictments -- against Trump's former campaign manager and a business associate.

It has also led to two guilty pleas, one by a campaign foreign policy adviser and one by Trump's first national security adviser, Michael Flynn.

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