Tag Archives: Rod Rosenstein

Hoping new AG lets Mueller finish his task

I have hope that U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham has some deep inside knowledge that he’s now sharing with us.

The South Carolina Republican says that Attorney General-designate William Barr is going to let special counsel Robert Mueller finish the job he began more than a year ago. His task is to determine whether the allegations of “collusion” between the Donald Trump presidential campaign and Russian operatives who attacked our electoral system are true; he also is examining allegations of obstruction of justice, of conspiracy and perhaps all kinds of matters related to the 2016 election and beyond.

Trump selected Barr to succeed Jeff Sessions as AG, whom the president fired because he had the gall to recuse himself from the Russia probe. Sessions had the good sense to recognize potential conflicts of interest, given his role in the campaign and in the transition. He couldn’t investigate himself, so he handed it off to Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein, who then appointed Mueller as special counsel.

Mueller is getting down to brass tacks, or so we are being led to believe. He has extended the term of a grand jury another six months. Mueller reportedly will finish his probe in late February or in March.

He needs to conclude this investigation on his own terms, under his own power and without interference from the new AG, or the White House or the president himself.

Rosenstein reportedly is going to leave DOJ after Barr gets confirmed. Barr will testify next week before the Senate Judiciary Committee. I am quite sure senators will ask him directly whether he intends to let Mueller do his job. Sen. Graham says he will.

Don’t tease us, Sen. Graham.

Trump doesn’t ‘know’ the guy who’ll lead DOJ?

Let me see if I have this straight.

Donald John Trump fired the attorney general, Jeff Sessions. He had a No. 2 guy at the Justice Department who under normal circumstances would be elevated into the top job on an interim basis.

But the president went to the No. 3 guy, Matthew Whitaker.

Then the president tells the nation that he doesn’t “know Matt Whitaker.” That’s right. The president of the United States, who has the authority to name the nation’s top law enforcement officer — our top legal eagle — doesn’t “know” the individual who’ll get the job?

He expects us to believe that? He wants to believe the idiotic lie that the president doesn’t know the individual who’ll call the shots at the Justice Department?

I’ll back up for just a moment. The No. 2 legal eagle at Justice happens to be Rod Rosenstein, who selected special counsel Robert Mueller to investigate the Trump campaign’s allegedly improper dealings with Russian agents who attacked our electoral process in 2016. Trump clearly felt he couldn’t pick the deputy AG because, well, he would allow Mueller’s probe to continue without interference.

So that’s why he went with Whitaker, the guy the president now declares he doesn’t “know,” which is a direct contradiction of what he said earlier about his relationship with the new acting attorney general.

Who in the world does Trump think he’s talking to? We aren’t a nation of rubes who cannot connect the dots. Believe me, there ain’t many dots to connect here as it regards the president and the man he wants to lead the Department of Justice.

I am left to wonder once again, with emphasis and more than a hint of hostility: How does this man continue to win the support of his craven followers?

The president is a pathological liar.

Is there a constitutional crisis on the horizon?

Jeff Sessions is gone. The Department of Justice has a new acting boss, a guy who happens to be a Donald Trump sycophant, someone who has been openly critical of an investigation into the 2016 Trump campaign’s alleged “collusion” with Russian agents.

So, what’s in store? Acting AG Matthew Whittaker could fire special counsel Robert Mueller. Donald Trump could order him to do so. What would a firing engender? It would, in my view and in the view of many observers much closer to the situation, ignite a constitutional crisis of the first order.

Trump pushed Sessions out the door because the former AG thought enough of the law to recuse himself from the Russia investigation. He did so because of his own involvement in the Trump campaign and his own relationship with Russians. He could not possibly investigate himself. The law and an appreciation of ethics and conflict of interests forced him to back away, forced him to hand the matter over to his No. 2 man at DOJ, Rod Rosenstein.

It was Rosenstein who hired Mueller to examine the complex matter.

Trump once asked “what kind of man?” would recuse himself from this probe. I can answer that one for you, Mr. President. That man would be someone who understands and appreciates ethical propriety. That’s why he recused himself.

Don’t misunderstand me on this point: I am not a fan overall of Jeff Sessions. On this matter, though, he did the right thing. He did the only thing he could do. Trump castigated Sessions for accepting a job and then recusing himself from a key part of that job. He never once questioned his own decision to appoint Sessions in the first place. Had he given any substantive thought to what might play out down the road upon his being elected president, he wouldn’t have appointed Sessions to become attorney general.

So now we’re facing the real prospect of a constitutional crisis if the acting AG — and his pal the president — commit the mother of foolish acts.

Robert Mueller needs to stay on the job. He needs to finish what he started. He needs to let this probe play out completely without interference from the president of the United States.

Sessions is gone; let the battle commence

There goes compromise, collegiality, comity, courtesy.

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has been shown the door. The day after the midterm election, Donald Trump made good on his threat. He asked for Sessions to submit his resignation; the AG did and now he’s out.

What’s next? Let’s see, the president will nominate a new attorney general who more than likely won’t recuse himself from the “Russia thing” probe, which Sessions had to do. More on that in a minute.

This appointment might put special counsel Robert Mueller’s expansive and extensive investigation into alleged “collusion” between Russian agents and the Trump presidential campaign into jeopardy.

Trump, though, says he has “no interest” in ending Mueller’s probe. You believe the president, right? Me, neither.

I am no fan of Jeff Sessions, but he did the only thing he could do by recusing himself from the Russia investigation. He served on Trump’s foreign policy team during the campaign. He played a role in whatever happened between the Russians and the campaign. He couldn’t possibly investigate himself, so he backed away, handing the Russia probe over to his No. 2 man at DOJ, Rod Rosenstein.

Sessions’s recusal infuriated the president, who wanted Sessions to act with total loyalty and fealty to the man who nominated him. That, of course, is utter nonsense. Sessions did the right thing and he incurred the president’s wrath for doing it.

One more time, with emphasis: Be sure to let Mueller complete his investigation, Mr. President. If there’s nothing there, then Mueller should be allowed to say so himself. But if there is something … well, then we all have a problem.

Where is the outrage?

Hang on just a doggone minute … or two!

Donald Trump flew on Air Force One this week with Deputy U.S. Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. They talked at length, reportedly, about this and/or that. Rosenstein at this moment is up to his eyeballs in an investigation involving the president’s 2016 campaign and whether it “colluded” with Russians who attacked our electoral system.

I’ll now flash back to that election year. Former President Bill Clinton met on an airplane with then-AG Loretta Lynch. They reportedly talked about grandkids and other personal matters. The Justice Department was investigating that e-mail matter involving the ex-president’s wife, Hillary Clinton, who was running for president herself.

Republicans went ballistic. They became apoplectic, accusing the former president of trying to influence the AG. Indeed, the ex-president had no direct say in anything involving the DOJ.

GOP pols didn’t believe him and Loretta Lynch when they said they didn’t discuss anything about the e-mail matter.

Where is the outrage now, with the current president meeting at length with the current deputy AG who is involved in an on-going investigation into the president?

Hypocrisy, anyone?

Chaos continues at White House

Donald J. Trump keeps saying all is well at the White House.

Well, it isn’t. Not by a long shot.

The president was going to meet this past week with Deputy U.S. Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who reportedly said some things about the president’s fitness for his job as commander in chief.

Then the meeting was postponed. The Brett Kavanaugh confirmation hearing before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee got in the way.

Now we hear that Trump might postpone the Rosenstein meeting yet again, waiting for the Kavanaugh matter to run its course.

Trump and Rosenstein have reportedly spoken by phone. That’s good. At least they’re talking to each other, although none of us knows what they might have said to each other.

I am just amazed one more time with the chaos that continues to grip the White House, the West Wing, the Oval Office, staffing at many levels. Even more amazing is the president’s continuing denials that chaos rules within the Trump administration.

I happen to hope that Trump leaves Rosenstein alone, keeps him on the job, allows him to supervise the investigation into the “Russia Thing” being conducted by special counsel Robert Mueller.

You may choose to believe or disbelieve this, but I actually want this investigation to conclude.

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.


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.