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    01.11.19 Professor Miriam Baer Discusses Mueller Investigation with CBS News
    Professor Miriam Baer

    Professor Miriam Baer, an expert in criminal law and former Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Southern District of New York, spoke with CBS News about the potential impact of the departure of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein on the Mueller investigation, following reports that he is planning to resign in the coming weeks.

    Appearing in a Jan. 9 segment of “Red & Blue” hosted by Elaine Quijano, Baer, who has become a regular guest on the program, discussed what could happen to the Mueller probe if Rosenstein steps down and the potential oversight of the investigation by William Barr, the president’s nominee for attorney general, if he is confirmed.

    “During the confirmation hearing, Democrats are going to look very carefully at the letter that William Barr wrote to Rosenstein about the obstruction investigation,” she said, referring to a 19-page memo Barr wrote that included criticism of the Mueller probe, prompting calls from Democrats that he should be disqualified.

    Baer said there might be two reasons for disqualification: “You might simply say the legal arguments are just so far out that you say ‘I don’t see how you can be running the department of justice based on these arguments’….But…maybe a stronger reason is that you could say…‘you ought to recuse yourself from this because you already made a statement of where you stand, and since we want to make sure we have a neutral overseer, you ought to stay out of this.’ That is a much more reasonable argument to make, and no matter what, I think we can expect there will be a full vetting here.”

    Asked about the significance of the “leaked” news of Rosenstein’s planned departure, Baer said that it could be a signal that the Mueller investigation is winding down: “It sounds like a departure that Rod Rosenstein himself has decided to make, so that’s what is interesting,” she said. “Why would he decide to depart—unless it’s because he feels his work is done, and [that would happen] when he feels Mueller is more or less wrapping up what he’s doing….It also signals a certain degree of confidence that Barr would not interfere with the remainder of the investigation.”

    Other topics covered in the segment include charges of obstruction of justice against Natalia Veselnitskaya, the Russian lawyer who participated in a June 2016 meeting in Trump Tower, and the significance of the revelation that Paul Manafort, President Trump’s former campaign chairman, shared polling data with an associate tied to Russian intelligence. While Baer does not believe anything will come of the charges against Veselnitskaya, who is in Russia and unlikely to come to the United States, she thinks the latest Manafort development is ”one of the most significant stories right now that has come out.”

    At the Law School, Baer is associate director of the Center for the Study of Business Law and Regulation and teaches in the areas of corporate law, white collar crime, criminal law, and criminal procedure. She has been a frequent commentator on legal issues related to the Mueller investigation.

    Watch the CBS News segment here