Assistant Attorney General secretly recused himself from Trump-Russia investigation

Because Donald Trump has tried so hard to compromise the Department of Justice as it’s tried to investigate his criminal scandals, it can be difficult to keep track of who’s been fired, who’s recused, who’s still there, or who’s in charge. Now it turns out one of the key players at the DOJ has secretly been recused the whole time.

You may not easily recall the name of Assistant Attorney General Brian Benczkowski, but he’s an important piece in this. He previously represented Alfa Bank, the Russian bank that has been accused of having played a major role in the Trump-Russia scandal. Alfa Bank has always maintained its innocence. But when Trump turned around and nominated Benczkowski to be Assistant AG, it strongly suggested that Trump believed Benczkowski was some kind of Russian agent who would be willing to do his bidding in the Trump-Russia investigation.

It sounds like Donald Trump guessed wrong about the whole thing, because political activist group American Oversight has managed to obtain records revealing that Brian Benczkowski has recused himself from the Trump-Russia investigation. In other words, after Benczkowski got the job, he decided that he didn’t want to even be in a position where he could potentially obstruct justice on Trump’s behalf. In other words, the guy was smart enough not to commit crimes on Trump’s behalf, because he didn’t want to be the one to take the fall.

There are two upshots here. First, it’s another reminder of how many times Donald Trump has swung and missed by installing people he incorrectly thought would obstruct justice for him. Second, if Benczkowski has been recused from the Trump-Russia probe all this time and it never was announced, who else in this probe might be secretly recused? There’s clearly a lot going on behind the scenes at the DOJ that we don’t know about.