Updated May 21, 2018

Rosenstein defusing the "constitutional bomb"

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein threads the needle.

Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

When Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein agreed to a DOJ probe of whether the Trump campaign was improperly surveilled, Trump critics say he may have helped avoid a constitutional crisis. Here's an exchange Monday between MSNBC "Morning Joe" host Joe Scarborough and former Obama administration official Jeremy Bash:

Scarborough: "I just wonder if Rosenstein isn't a man who is in the right place at the right time."
Bash: "Yeah I agree, Joe, I think he did defuse this constitutional bomb."

Why it matters: By referring Trump's request for an investigation to the inspector general, Rosenstein acceded to Trump's demand. But the order includes the phrase "for inappropriate purposes," a possible loophole.

  • More from Bash: "Justice Department senior leaders know full well the tactics and techniques used to conduct the intelligence investigation of the Trump campaign ... were legitimate ... lawful."

Yes, but: The failure of any DOJ probe to reach a conclusion of wrongdoing could cause Trump to push for further action.

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