The week is starting off fast, folks. I have a feeling it won’t slow down anytime soon.
Fraud Moving On
The man who gave us the un-American witch hunt known as the King Bob Mueller probe has, as promised, submitted his resignation letter to President Trump upon its completion. Deputy Attorney General Fraud Rosenstein’s time at the DoJ will be remembered for many different things by many different people, largely contingent upon one’s political persuasion. In this piece, we’ll try to give a big picture look at what he meant to the Trump presidency and what he could still mean going forward.
Here is the official resignation letter, as handed to PDT earlier today:
Rosenstein seems fairly self-satisfied with his tenure as Deputy AG, although you could drop the ‘deputy’ label for the time in which Keebler Jeff Sessions was supposedly running the department. There are several aspects of his reign that Mr. Rosenstein conveniently omitted from his swan song, however, and so Real News Revolt will remind you now.
There was the time he allegedly floated the idea of wearing a wire to secretly record the president, supposedly as a means to spur the cabinet to enact the 25th Amendment and get boogey man Trump out of office. Rosenstein asserts that he was being merely sarcastic, which I was apt to believe since a man of his credentials surely knows how the 25th Amendment works and what it’s for. Then I found out that he was apparently the only one in the room who took his suggestion lightly, as James Baker and Lisa Page testified under oath that the issue was not raised as any sort of joking matter.
Rosenstein took a long plane ride with PDT after the news of his ‘wire’ suggestion broke, but it seems he was able to make his case to the president successfully, as no action was taken against him and the matter was effectively dropped once the plane landed. Then again, who knows what was said that day on Air Force One.
Then there was his appointment of Bob Mueller as Special Counsel, which was scandalous in itself. Firstly, Mueller was a very close friend and mentor of Jim Comey, whose firing was used as the impetus for the Mueller probe. That’s a very serious conflict of interest. Then he sat back and watched as Mueller assembled the most partisan team imaginable to go after the president, including the top Clinton Foundation lawyer, several Clinton donors and one Clinton-friendly prosecutor whose record of unethical behavior includes reprimands by none other than the Supreme Court of the United States. Rosenstein gave this overtly corrupt operation a broad mandate to go after the president, his family and his team not only for anything Russia-related, but anything that “came up in the course of investigation,” hence why Trump associate after Trump associate was rolled up for random crime after random crime -often things that no one else would be prosecuted for- all so that they may ‘flip’ and deliver them the big dog — Trump himself.
And shall I bring up the time Rosenstein put his John Hancock on a FISA warrant that based on tabloid garbage from the Clinton campaign? Not only did he approve one, the one he approved was submitted after several had already been in practice over the previous year. Apparently, not once did he question how surveillance warrants were approved and re-approved based on information so unsubstantiated that not even the Fake News would publish it in the heat of the presidential campaign.
Yes, Rosenstein presided over a Justice Department that was so anti-Trump that they went where CNN wouldn’t dare. Let that one sink in for a bit.
And finally, while he was presenting himself as a paragon of virtue to onlookers around the DoJ, Rosenstein presided over perhaps the most egregious conflict of interest in modern history. Inspector General Mike Horowitz, on orders from PDT, launched a probe into the aforementioned FISA warrants used against the Trump campaign. As a key signatory on at least one of those warrant applications, Rosenstein was a key person of interest in that case. As such, he should have recused himself immediately. But he didn’t. Instead, he stayed right where he was, which would give him the final say in any criminal referrals that were handed down as a result. Thankfully, he’s leaving before that IG report is released, not that I think it would matter. Horowitz proved himself a coward in the IG probe of the Hillary investigation, wherein he found myriad instances of bias but refused to assign corrupt intent to Peter Strzok or anyone else involved, likely out of a fear of rocking the political boat.
Well, that depends on AG Barr and the direction his investigation takes. Now that Rosenstein is taking off, he’ll be out of reach for IG Horowitz, as the IG doesn’t have the power to bring in non-DoJ employees for questioning. It’s likely a moot point, however, since reports say that report will be released in the next several weeks. I would also take that to mean Horowitz has already questioned Rosenstein regarding his part in the FISA process. If not, the IG probe is even more of a joke than I suspected.
If you’re wondering how Rosenstein explained away his participation in an obviously corrupt spy warrant, I’ll save you the suspense. He’s leaning on the supposedly thorough protocols of FISA approval, meaning he’s pointing to the career Justice Dept. guys who got the FISA application first and saying, “They swore it was well-vetted.” Technically, he’s correct. An application is signed off as vetted and valid by several people before it gets to the top level. If heads are to roll, it will likely be theirs, whoever they are. The old saying “The buck stops here” makes for a good soundbite but is rarely applied in practice. CYA is what happens in the real world.
However, if Barr truly has assembled a legitimate team of investigators who will have subpoena and grand jury powers, Rosenstein could very well be called in for further questioning. In the meantime, he’ll enjoy all the benefits afforded to any other DoJ bureaucrat, maybe even a book deal.
Will he face justice for his shady dealings? I doubt it. As overtly corrupt as his reign was, Rosenstein managed to keep things in the “crooked but not illegal” lane, unless Barr’s boys can uncover proof that he fully understood the justification of the FISA application he signed to be frivolous. For example, the conflicts of interest were corrupt, but not illegal. Likewise for his alleged “wire-wearing” suggestion (it’s his word against theirs whether he was being sarcastic, and nothing came of it anyway so there’s nothing to prosecute).
There is a bit of good news here. Several guys below him were responsible for vetting the info in those FISA applications, so they surely knew it was all a lie, or at the very least didn’t meet the criteria for FISA. Their necks will be on the chopping block for that. And if they begin going down, they’ll happily volunteer any dirt they have on Rosenstein. That’s our best shot to get him.
Other than that, he somehow enjoys the full confidence of the president. Without a smoking gun —or singing subordinates— Rosenstein will be just another bureaucrat who used his government shield to protect himself from accountability.
I wish I had a better outlook.
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