Litman:Trump’s candidacy complicates a potential criminal case against him, but it can’t protect him from a perjury charge in a trial
Maggie Haberman and Emily Guskin reported
The Justice Department’s Office of Professional Responsibility on Wednesday declined to recommend that the Senate Judiciary Committee open an investigation into the possible criminal prosecution of Trump adviser Roger Stone.
“After further review the Office of Professional Responsibility has determined that there is insufficient evidence to warrant an investigation…,” said Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein in a letter to the committee.
The decision came after the Justice Department opened a criminal inquiry into whether Stone lied to Congress when he told a congressional committee in August that he was a participant in a secret back-channel communication between senior campaign officials and the Russian government. Stone is currently being prosecuted in a federal court in Washington, under seal, for allegedly lying during his testimony, but the Justice Department decision opens the door to possible charges against him.
The letter, sent to the committee on behalf of the OPR and the federal prosecutor for the District of Columbia, says the inquiry into Stone “is directed at his potential criminal liability only, and is not aimed at other possible civil or administrative actions that may be brought against him.”
The announcement comes after two days of testimony from Stone, an outspoken Trump acolyte and self-described “dirty trickster,” which he described as an investigation “on behalf of the American people.” Stone testified in a hearing he was asked to become a whistleblower after a Trump campaign member made contact with the Russian government through the WikiLeaks website.
The OPR decision on the Stone investigation is the first time the Justice Department has made a decision not to investigate a sitting White House employee or a candidate for federal office. It also represents the first time a sitting administration official has been subject to an OPR inquiry.
Stone told senators on Wednesday he had made contact with the Trump campaign, which was being probed by special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation. But he acknowledged he never communicated with WikiLeaks and said that contact did not happen through the back-channel he was seeking to establish with the Russian government.
“It should surprise no one that on June 7, 2016, while I was speaking with Donald Trump, the candidate was saying I think he would win the popular vote and lose the election. I told him he had to get out of bed because he did not want to