Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley has sent a letter (full pdf below) and list of questions to Asst. Attorney General Rod Rosenstein asking about the appointment, instructions and power of Special Counsel Robert Mueller.
The primary question within the letter is: under what authority, and within what statute, is the AAG authorized to assign a counterintelligence investigation to a special counsel:
“More specifically, section 600.1 states the Attorney General “will appoint a Special Counsel when he or she determines that criminal investigation of a person or matter is warranted.” The omitted regulations do not authorize counterintelligence investigations.”
One of the questions within the letter is additionally interesting. SEE:
What an odd framework for a question.
Did Rod Rosenstein refuse to answer the question on May 18th, 2017?
Why would Senator Grassley make note of that question, and then ask that exact same question again in this letter?
If Robert Mueller has the independent autonomy to request and receive FISA surveillance warrants; against the backdrop of DOJ and FBI admissions of massive abuse of the FISA(702)(16)(17) database searches; and considering there is an actual OIG investigation into FBI conduct and engagement with the FISA court; such independent authority would be an alarming scope of power granted to the Special Counsel’s office by Rod Rosenstein.
It will be interesting to see how Rosenstein responds. Here’s the full letter: