1. Various of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein handing out awards to employees of the U.S. Attorneys offices
Washington, D.C. - 7 March 2017
2. Various of Rod Rosenstein and Rachel Brand being sworn in
3. SOUNDBITE (English) Senator Chuck Grassley, Republican - Iowa:
"Is there any basis on which you would not be able to handle these investigations, given that the Attorney General Sessions has announced his intention to recuse?"
4. SOUNDBITE (English) Rod Rosenstein, Deputy Attorney General Nominee:
"If I were confirmed I would need to familiarize myself with the facts. I would need to consult with experts in the department. We have a complex set of rules and statutes that govern recusals. And so, I'm not aware of any requirement for me to recuse at this time, but, as a lawyer, Senator, I would have to know what I'm recusing from."
President Donald Trump confirmed on Friday that he is under federal investigation and appeared to single out a senior Justice Department official for criticism, underscoring his growing frustration with the persistent focus on Russia's involvement in the 2016 election and possibly his campaign.
"I am being investigated for firing the FBI Director by the man who told me to fire the FBI Director! Witch Hunt," the president tweeted.
The morning missive appeared to refer to Rod Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general.
Rosenstein was seen on Friday taking part in an awards ceremony at the Department of Justice for US Attorney office employees.
Last month, Rosenstein sent a memo to Trump raising concerns over FBI Director James Comey, concerns the White House then cited as a central reason for Comey's firing.
Days after Comey was abruptly ousted, Rosenstein appointed Robert Mueller as special counsel to investigate Russian involvement in the 2016 presidential election and possible collusion with the Trump campaign. Mueller also has expansive powers to investigate any matters that develop from his initial investigation.
Rosenstein took over the Russia probe soon after Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself.
But Rosenstein, too, may ultimately have to hand off oversight of the probe given his own role in Comey's firing.
Earlier this month, Rosenstein told The Associated Press that "if anything that I did winds up being relevant to his investigation then, as Director Mueller and I discussed, if there's a need from me to recuse, I will."
If Rosenstein recuses himself from oversight of the special counsel investigation, that role would fall to the Justice Department's No. 3 official, newly confirmed Associate Attorney General Rachel Brand.
Among other roles, she was an official in the Justice Department's Office of Legal Policy under George W. Bush.