Tag Archives: Rod Rosenstein

Don’t fire deputy AG, Mr. President

Rod Rosenstein’s backside might be in a sling as I write this brief blog post.

The deputy U.S. attorney general who hired Robert Mueller as special counsel to look into Donald Trump’s possible Russia dealings is heading to the White House on Thursday to meet with the president.

Rosenstein reportedly said something about wearing a listening device while in the White House and also reportedly asked around about invoking the 25tha Amendment to the Constitution, the one that allows Cabinet officials and Congress to remove the president from office.

Rosenstein denied the reports … sort of. He called them “inaccurate,” which isn’t exactly a denial that he made those statements. Other reports indicate Rosenstein said those things “in jest,” which is how the White House has tried to explain some of the president’s own bizarre statements.

Rosenstein might face the music

If the president fires Rosenstein, then Mueller’s future is in serious question. Does the next deputy AG then fire Mueller, ending the painstaking probe that Mueller has conducted in the search for the truth behind allegations of “collusion” between the Trump presidential campaign and Russian goons who attacked our electoral system in 2016?

Rosenstein’s selection of Mueller was hailed in the moment as a brilliant move, a stroke of genius. The former FBI director, Mueller, was hailed as a man of impeccable integrity and character. Then he started indicting people close to Trump. Now — suddenly, like magic! — he is called everything but the son of Satan by many within the Trump inner circle. The president has labeled the Mueller investigation “illegal” and a “rigged witch hunt.”

I do not want Trump to fire Rosenstein. He perhaps can chew him out royally, which is within his purview. Then again, so is firing him.

Robert Mueller’s investigation needs to proceed and conclude under its own power. Rod Rosenstein needs to stay on the job until Mueller’s task is complete.

And the president of the United States needs to shut his trap and let this investigation reach its end. If there’s nothing there, as Trump insists, Robert Mueller will tell us. Correct?

Will the president heed the advice, or act … impulsively?

Deputy U.S. Attorney General Rod Rosenstein might have just wiggled his way into the proverbial doghouse occupied by his boss, Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

Many of us out here are wondering whether the president of the United States, Donald Trump, is going to fire Rosenstein because he allegedly threatened to wear a “wire” to record conversations with Trump — and then recommend that the Cabinet invoke the 25th Amendment to the Constitution to remove Trump from his office.

Rosenstein has sort of denied The New York Times report that the deputy AG had said all that. However, his denial seems to fall short of a categorical, unequivocal denial.

Still, reports now are surfacing that Trump’s inner circle is telling him: Don’t fire Rosenstein!

Trump facing new dilemma

Indeed, such an impulsive act could turn out to be the Republicans’ worst nightmare, just as would a presidential dismissal of AG Jeff Sessions, who has gotten himself into trouble with Trump because of his decision to recuse himself from the investigation into the Russian attack on our electoral system.

I keep circling back to a question that I cannot yet answer: Has there ever been such an out-front discussion about whether a president was “fit” to serve in the office to which he was elected?

Weird, man. Simply weird.

Earth to POTUS: Russians did the damage, not Mueller

Donald J. Trump is in dire need of a reality check.

Yep, he fired off another Twitter message. It reads: ..This is a terrible situation and Attorney General Jeff Sessions should stop this Rigged Witch Hunt right now, before it continues to stain our country any further. Bob Mueller is totally conflicted, and his 17 Angry Democrats that are doing his dirty work are a disgrace to USA!

Hey, “Robert” Mueller isn’t “Bob,” especially to the president of the United States. But … I digress.

Jeff Sessions has recused himself from the “Russia thing,” which pi*** off the president to no end.

It’s not a “Rigged Witch Hunt.” It has produced numerous indictments. Oh, yes, and the president’s former 2016 campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, is now standing trial for money laundering.

The “17 Angry Democrats”? Who are they? I keep hearing that Mueller is a Republican. The guy who selected him as special counsel, Rod Rosenstein, is also a Republican. Oh, and Rosenstein was picked to be deputy AG by — drum roll! — Donald J. Trump.

Conflict of interest? Many millions of us are waiting for some evidence of it.

And the “disgrace” and the “stain” on our country are the direct result of the Russian attack on our electoral system. Robert Mueller is trying to clean up the mess.

Outrageous.

What if Mueller delivers the goods on POTUS?

I cannot stop pondering what might happen if the special counsel looking to The Russia Thing comes up with the goods on the president of the United States of America.

If you’re honest with yourself, you cannot stop thinking about it, either.

I believe I’ll share my thoughts here, in the public, for you to see. Maybe you’ll agree. Maybe you won’t.

Robert Mueller has been hard at work for a little more than a year trying to fulfill the task given to him by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. That would be: whether the Donald Trump presidential campaign colluded with Russians who attacked our democratic process in 2016; they interfered in our election. There also might be an obstruction of justice matter to decide. Oh, and how about that Emoluments Clause in the U.S. Constitution, that says presidents cannot use their office to obtain income from foreign governments?

There’s a lot to uncover. To peel away. To examine closely.

What if Mueller delivers the goods on the president? Trump already has expended a tremendous amount of emotional capital calling the Mueller probe a “rigged witch hunt,” a “hoax” and a phony circumstances concocted by Democrats who are angry at losing the 2016 presidential election to a first-time candidate for any public office.

I fear that the president might come completely, totally, categorically unhinged from reality. I cannot prove it, of course. Given his hysterical responses to matters relating to an investigation of matters that the president says he didn’t do, I wonder how he’ll react if the final Mueller report says Trump’s campaign colluded after all, that he obstructed justice by bullying law enforcement officials into backing off and fattened his wallet with income derived by, oh let’s see, Russian oligarchs.

There’s no way to know what Mueller has collected so far. He’s been quiet. He has been conducting himself like the mature professional he is known to be. Meanwhile, the president is acting quite differently.

To think: We don’t know anything … yet.

GOP launches impeachment against deputy AG?

What am I missing?

Congressional Republicans have accused their Democratic colleagues of being fixated on impeaching Donald J. Trump. They say Democrats would obstruct Congress’s business with their fixation.

So, what do GOP members do to, um, counteract that phony claim? Why, they draft articles of impeachment against Deputy U.S. Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who appointed Robert Mueller to be the special counsel to lead the investigation into the “Russia thing.”

This, folks, is a thinly disguised effort to derail the Mueller probe of the president’s alleged ties to Russians who attacked our 2016 presidential election. They are calling it a “witch hunt.”

So, their target of choice is Rosenstein, a fellow Republican appointed to his post by, um, Donald Trump.

The articles were drafted by Reps. Mark Meadows and Jim Jordan, co-founders of the right-wing Freedom Caucus.

According to CNN.com: In a statement, Meadows said Rosenstein should be impeached because of the Justice Department’s stonewalling of congressional subpoenas and hiding information from Congress, and for signing one of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrant renewals for Trump campaign foreign policy adviser Carter Page.

This impeachment effort won’t go anywhere. Support in the House is sketchy at best; in the Senate, it’s virtually non-existent.

What, then, is the point? Meadows and Jordan are pi**** off that Mueller’s probe appears to be closing in on the president. What it produces at the end is anyone’s guess.

It just goes to demonstrate once again that members of Congress insist on throwing stones at the other side without acknowledging their own shortcomings.

Get a grip, congressional Republicans. Let the Mueller investigation end on its own power.

‘In this indictment’ becomes key phrase

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein delivered a bombshell of an announcement this week: the indictment of 12 Russian military intelligence officers, charging them with conspiring to hack into our U.S. election system.

Some who are friendly to Donald J. Trump are likely to attach themselves to a statement within Rosenstein’s announcement. It is that “no Americans have been charged in this indictment” with criminal activity.

Yes, the indictment takes dead aim at a dozen Russians. The president is meeting next week with Russia’s president. Trump vows to take the issue with Vladimir Putin. The Russian strongman will deny any involvement. The U.S. president can respond in any one of a number of ways. Many of us are concerned that he’s going to accept Putin’s lie and move on.

But … here’s the problem as I see it with Rosenstein’s announcement: “In this indictment” offers a specific reference to a singular criminal investigation.

Does the deputy AG suggest that with his statement about a lack of criminality by Americans — in this particular criminal complain — that there will be none coming as special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation slogs toward its conclusion?

Let’s just wait this out, shall we?

It’s the timing, man!

What are we to make of the timing of two key events in the 2016 presidential campaign?

Donald J. Trump in July of that year invited the Russian government to find the missing 30,000 e-mails that Hillary Rodham Clinton deleted from her file at the U.S. State Department.

Here is the GOP nominee making that invitation:

Then … according to an indictment handed down against 12 Russian military intelligence officers, on that very day they began hacking into the Democratic nominee’s files.

Coincidence? I think not. Neither does the legal team headed by special counsel Robert Mueller or the deputy attorney general, Rod Rosenstein, who appointed Mueller to the special counsel post.

I have believed since the beginning of this probe that Mueller’s so-called “witch hunt” is nothing of the sort.

To what end will this investigation lead?

I’ve spent a good part of my day sitting in my study. My TV has been tuned to a cable news channel, which has been broadcasting a congressional hearing with a single witness: FBI agent Peter Strzok.

My question is this: For what purpose are they conducting this all-day marathon?

Strzok used to serve on Robert Mueller’s team that is looking at Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. Then he and another agent, Lisa Page, were fired. Mueller canned them when it became known that they had exchanged anti-Trump messages via e-mail. Congressional Republicans allege a deep bias against the president. They are contending that the alleged bias taints the Mueller probe. They are seeking to undermine Mueller’s probe.

So, where is this investigation going? The U.S. House Oversight Committee is going to issue some kind of report. Then what? Suppose the report determines Mueller’s team has been biased and has conducted a corrupt investigation into whether the Trump campaign “colluded” with Russians who meddled in our 2016 election. Are they going to recommend an end to the probe?

Strzok has defended himself fiercely. He said he and the FBI did everything “by the book.”

I keep circling back to the man at the top of the investigation, Robert Mueller.

I remain quite convinced that Mueller’s integrity is intact. He is a former FBI director. He is known to be a meticulous lawyer. Mueller has assembled a top-tier legal team to probe deeply into the myriad issues surrounding the Trump campaign.

As for the president’s assertion — backed up by his GOP allies in Congress — that the Russia probe is being dominated by “13 Democrats,” this flies in the face of the fact that Mueller is a life-long Republican; so is the man who appointed him, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein; and … so is the man Trump fired as FBI director, James Comey.

Trump accuses Mueller of launching a “witch hunt” against him. I strongly suspect another type of “witch hunt” is under way. It ‘s occurring in Congress and the target is Mueller, who the GOP is targeting because he is inching closer to the White House in his probe into what happened during the 2016 presidential campaign.

House Oversight Committee Republicans have one of Mueller’s former team members — Peter Strzok — in their sights.

Where in the world is this congressional probe heading? I think it will end up in the ditch, right along with the Benghazi probe.

DOJ starts journey down a slippery slope

Donald J. Trump has leveled an extraordinarily serious allegation against the FBI: that the law enforcement agency spied on his presidential campaign for “political purposes.”

An investigation into that charge has commenced. The Department of Justice’s inspector general is taking the lead.

I am heartened to some degree that the IG is conducting this probe. Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from anything related to the Russia matter, given his own bias as a campaign operative and the role he played in helping formulate the future president’s foreign policy.

The decision to bring in the IG fell to Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein, who appointed special counsel Robert Mueller to lead the probe into the Russia matter.

This battle between the president and the FBI has been unprecedented at many levels already. That the president of the United States would condemn the FBI in such harsh terms, let alone doing the same thing to the Justice Department, is unheard of. Some observers have suggested the president’s strategy to discredit the FBI, DOJ and Mueller may be paying dividends for him in the eyes of the public.

I, as one American voter, find Trump’s strategy to be offensive in the extreme. That’s just me, though. You already know how I feel about Trump and his unfitness for the job to which he was elected.

He’s called Mueller’s probe the “worst witch hunt” in U.S. history, apparently ignoring the fact that in the 17th century, women were actually killed because some colonists thought they were, um, witches.

With all the leaks that have permeated this investigation, it’s fascinating in the extreme that Mueller’s team of legal eagles has been hermetically sealed against such leakage. He has remained silent, preferring to go about the task to which he was assigned: to find the truth about Trump’s election-year relationship — if any existed — with Russian goons who meddled in our election.

I want the inspector general to conclude his own probe in fairly short order. My hope is that he he can root out all the facts and make a reasoned, dispassionate finding on what Trump has proclaimed so hysterically.

However, the slope is mighty slippery. Watch your step, Mr. Inspector General.

POTUS ratchets up war with Mueller

Here we go.

Donald Trump has accused the FBI of improper surveillance of his 2016 presidential campaign and has “demanded” that the Justice Department launch a probe into it.

DOJ has responded by asking its inspector general to conduct a thorough investigation into whether anything improper occurred with regard to the Russian meddling in our 2016 election.

“If anyone did infiltrate or surveil participants in a presidential campaign for inappropriate purposes, we need to know about it and take appropriate action,” Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said in a statement.

OK, where do we stand?

It looks to me as though the president has pulled out all the stops in his strategy to discredit, disparage and disqualify the serious probe being conducted by special counsel Robert Mueller.

Mueller has been given the authority to determine to what extent if any the president’s campaign cooperated with Russians who meddled in our electoral process. What’s more, Mueller’s team is examining a whole range of related issues, such as potential obstruction of justice and possible Trump Organization business ties with Russians involved in the meddling.

Trump’s allegation, as he has done with other such accusations, comes with no evidence up front. The president just, um, said it.

Rosenstein’s decision is the right call. If what the president alleges proves true, then we have a serious problem on our hands. I am going to rely on the IG’s ability to conduct the kind of thorough investigation that doesn’t presume guilt, but instead examines what — if any — evidence exists to lend credence to what the president has alleged.

If the IG finds nothing, well, then we have a problem of an entirely different nature.

And it is just as serious as the first one.