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Joseph Rillotta Quoted on Potential Impact on Mueller's Probe into Russian Meddling of No DOJ Tax Lead in Business Insider

"Trump Has Disregarded Warnings to Fill a Top DOJ Post, and It Could Significantly Impact the Russia Probe"

Business Insider

Joseph Rillotta commented on the possible impact of President Donald Trump's not yet nominating anyone to lead the Department of Justice (DOJ)'s Tax Division, given a recent report that Special Counsel Robert Mueller had enlisted the Internal Revenue Service's criminal investigations unit (IRS-CI) as part of his probe into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. Rillotta said it was concerning that Trump hadn't yet made an appointment – in part because political appointees are generally instrumental in resolving tensions between the administration and DOJ. Political appointees, "who have credibility both with the administration and with the institutions that they lead," are adept at mediating the interactions between political staff and civil servants, Rillotta said — interactions that can sometimes be difficult given the politicos' lack of familiarity with DOJ rules "that protect the independence and integrity of government operations. For this reason (among others), it's a real issue that there aren't political appointees leading the tax division.... In the absence of an appointed AAG or Criminal Tax Enforcement DAAG, there may be all the more pressure on Rod Rosenstein to protect the integrity of any Tax Division operations relating to the special counsel's investigation."