Brian Benczkowski, Peter Strzok, North Korea: 3 Stories You Should Read Today – 7/12/2017
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In the category of: Things are about to get even bumpier.
Brian Benczkowski could help oversee the Russia investigation despite his work for a Vladimir Putin-linked bank.
“I don’t think in the history of the department there’s ever been anybody so ill-prepared” for this job, says Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), who has been one of the chief agitators against Benczkowski’s nomination. He says Benczkowski has “barely set foot in a courtroom.” (Benczkowski has never prosecuted a case.) He continues, “So if the obvious reason for why you’d want him there is not evident, then you have to look for less obvious reasons.”
Whitehouse posits several ways in which Benczkowski could undermine the Mueller investigation from his perch atop the Criminal Division, which would give him insight into the investigation. He could share information about the probe with Sessions, who recused himself from the investigation, or with President Donald Trump’s legal team. He could also slow down the investigation by delaying or denying any requests that come to his desk.
And Whitehouse notes that the Trump administration is surely aware that the president could replace Rod Rosenstein with Benczkowski, since anyone confirmed by the Senate to any post can be temporarily appointed to other posts that typically require Senate confirmation. That would transfer oversight of the Russia investigation to him. “There are lots of nefarious explanations for why this guy at this time gets installed in a position with a window into the Mueller investigation,” he says.
In the category of: Kicking a hornet’s nest.
In the category of: Donald Trump likes to tell that snake story. Maybe this is what he was talking about.
North Korean officials did not show up to a planned meeting with US officials at the demilitarized zone Thursday, where they were expected to continue discussions on repatriating the remains of Americans killed during the Korean War, a senior US official tells CNN.
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