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'Very Blatant' Threat Against Rosenstein as Trump Warns He May 'Get Involved' With DOJ

"The president of the United States is overtly threatening to obstruct justice."

Trump Rosenstein Justice Department

"We will be in a constitutional crisis if the president fires Rosenstein, the same as if he fires Bob Mueller," argued Norm Eisen of Citizens for Ethics and Responsibility in Washington. (Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images; Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

In a tweet on Wednesday that critics characterized as a "very blatant" threat to obstruct justice by firing Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein—who oversees Special Counsel Robert Mueller's Russia probe—President Donald Trump suggested for the second time in less than a week to that he may decide to "get involved" with the Justice Department if it doesn't meet his demands.

Trump's tweet comes a day after reports indicated that Trump's far-right allies in the House of Representatives have drafted articles of impeachment against Rosenstein, accusing him of failing to comply with a congressional requests for more information about the Justice Department's Russia probe.

During a question and answer session in Washington on Tuesday, Rosenstein responded to the leaked impeachment articles, saying that "there have been people who have been making threats privately and publicly against me for quite some time, and I think they should understand by now the Department of Justice is not going to be extorted."

The tweet on Wednesday aligns with reporting by Axios' Mike Allen earlier in the day which cited sources very close to the president to say Trump was likely ready to go on "offense" regarding the Mueller probe.

"For the average human, nothing scares them more than legal issues. He. Does. Not. Care," one source told Axios. "His whole adult life has been spent in litigation. He's not afraid of high-stakes legal stuff.…He's just going to start swinging and knock people’s heads off."

Norm Eisen, former White House ethics official and chair of Citizens for Ethics and Responsibility in Washington, wrote on Wednesday that Trump's tweet shows he is "triangulating with the impeach Rosenstein crowd" by amplifying their attacks.

Others similarly viewed Trump's tweet as a thinly veiled threat to fire Rosenstein if he doesn't get his way—a move legal experts have argued would constitute obstruction of justice.

As Trump has ramped up his direct attacks on an independent investigation, advocacy groups have made clear that if Trump fires Rosenstein, nationwide protests must proceed as if he fired Mueller.

"We will be in a constitutional crisis if the president fires Rosenstein, the same as if he fires Bob Mueller," Eisen explained in a video last month.

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