Then, in an interview aired on Fox on Friday, he went on to question the authority of the Justice Department to render a judgment on an elected official. “Well, it’s always interesting to me because a deputy that didn’t get any votes appoints a man that didn’t get any votes — he’s going to write a report on me,” Mr. Trump said. “Comey’s his best friend.”
The special counsel role is not an elected office, but the same can be said of the attorney general, deputy attorney general, or hundreds of other top officials serving in the government. Special counsels appointments occur when a potential conflict of interest arises from the executive branch of government investigating itself. Mr. Mueller was appointed by Rod J. Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general, who was in turn nominated by Mr. Trump.
James B. Comey, the former F.B.I. director, has denied that he is “best friends” with Mr. Mueller, and Mr. Comey’s attorney has said the two men are friendly colleagues, but “don’t really have a personal relationship.” (Mr. Barr, however, has said that he and Mr. Mueller are personal friends.)
The beat goes on in the Southern District of New York.
The senior prosecutor who led the case against Mr. Trump’s former personal lawyer and fixer, Michael D. Cohen, announced Friday that he would leave his job as deputy United States attorney in Manhattan. Mr. Cohen has pleaded guilty to making hush payments to two women who said they had affairs with Mr. Trump. The case, which has the potential to threaten Mr. Trump’s presidency, is separate from the special counsel investigation and will continue.
Maggie Astor, Katie Benner, David Enrich, Carl Hulse, Maggie Haberman, Linda Qiu, Michael S. Schmidt and Michael D. Shear contributed reporting.
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