Investigators into Russian meddling in the U.S. presidential elections are now authorized to probe whether White House officials have engaged in a cover-up, according to members of Congress who were briefed Friday by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.
A Justice Department official, who asked not to be identified because of the sensitivity of the topic, confirmed that Rosenstein told members of the House of Representatives that the special counsel in charge of the probe, former FBI Director Robert Mueller, “has been given the authority to investigate the possibility of a cover-up.”
But he denied that Rosenstein had told Congress such a probe was underway, noting that Rosenstein had declined to provide details of what is being explored. Where the investigation goes would be up to Mueller, the Justice Department official said.
Even as members of Congress were mulling the possible expansion of the case into a cover-up probe, and its reclassification from counterintelligence to criminal, the scandal appeared to grow.
The Washington Post reported Friday afternoon that federal investigators were looking at a senior White House official as a “significant person of interest.” The article did not identify the official, though it noted that the person was “someone close to the president.”