Rosenstein Hopes No One Will Notice the Damage He Wrought

May 1, 2019
by Bob Adelmann

Former President Harry Truman said it best: “If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.” Deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein is taking Truman’s advice: things are likely to get hot for him and he’s getting out while the getting is good.

His letter of resignation to his boss – the one whom he schemed to oust using a wire and the 25th Amendment – was lavish in praise and thin in substance. (His letter is available in Sources below.)

Wrote Rosenstein:

I am grateful to you for the opportunity to serve; for the courtesy and humor you often display in our personal conversations; and for the goals you set in your inaugural address: patriotism, unity, safety, education, and prosperity….

The Department of Justice pursues these goals while operating in accordance with the rule of law … the foundation of America. It secures our freedom, allows our citizens to flourish, and enables our nation to serve as a model of liberty and justice of all.

He didn’t mention the wire (which was initially reported by the ever reliable New York Times and which RR vehemently denied). He didn’t ask for forgiveness for the pain and suffering he inflicted on his boss and those near him through the Mueller investigation. He didn’t mention that it was he who gave Mueller all the leeway he needed to go after Trump in an attempt to find something – anything – to hang around his neck and sink his administration.

Rosenstein didn’t say anything about the five articles of impeachment that were drawn up last summer after months of his stalling to provide critical and likely revealing documents to a House committee.

Now that the Mueller investigation is over Rosenstein is out the door. It’s clear that he wants to put some distance between himself and his past.

On May 17, 2017 Rosenstein appointed Robert Mueller to conduct an investigation into “any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump.” The operative phrase is “any links” – any ties whatsoever in order to find something that Trump or his presidential campaign did that might have violated a law. To make things worse, Rosenstein opened the door even wider, allowing Mueller to investigate any matter that might arise from his investigation.


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That it failed – after thousands of hours, hundreds of thousands of documents and millions of dollars of taxpayer monies – is testimony to just how thin was Rosenstein’s suspicion that Trump colluded with the Russians.

But that’s over now: no need to bring it up again.

When the House of Representatives began to investigate Rosenstein’s role in the affair, he stonewalled. Said Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) last summer: “For nine months we’ve warned [Rosenstein and the Department of Justice] that consequences were coming, and for nine months we’ve heard the same excuses backed up by the same unacceptable conduct. It’s time to find a new deputy attorney general who is serious about accountability and transparency.”

Meadows and Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) crafted five articles of impeachment and filed them on July 25, 2018. House Speaker Paul Ryan deep-sixed the motion, and, with all the attention being given at the time to the confirmation hearings of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, they disappeared, never to be heard from again.

It was Rosenstein who signed off on the FISA warrant that was used to harass and surveil Carter Page, severely damaging his reputation while finding nothing. Meadows et al wanted Rosenstein to show the “probable cause” he used to persuade the FISA judge to allow the DOJ to go after Page. They wanted to know about Rosenstein’s improper authorization of other searches and electronic surveillance. They wanted to quiz him on the misleading statements he made related to the Russia investigation. They wanted to know why he didn’t recuse himself from supervising Mueller when, according to one of the affidavits, “his fairness and objectivity would reasonably be questioned.” They charged Rosenstein with “knowingly and intentionally prevent[ing] the production of documents … in an effort to delay and impede the production of information … relating to … the Department of Justice’s initial investigation into the Trump campaign’s alleged contacts with Russia.”

But thanks to Speaker Ryan, and the convenience of the Kavanaugh confirmation hearings that were sucking all the oxygen out of the air at the time, these questions were never asked and answers never received.

So, effective May 11, Rosenstein will pull a “Lois Lerner” – she of the IRS who inflicted so much pain and suffering on patriot groups seeking tax exemption. Last we heard, Lois is “doing just fine.” She told Politico: “I know I did the best I could under the circumstances and am not sorry for anything I did.”

Mr. Rosenstein, take note. It might work for you as well.

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Sources:

Washington Examiner: Rod Rosenstein resigning from Justice Department post

Background on Rod Rosenstein

Godfather Politics: Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein Submits Resignation Effective May 11

The Wall Street Journal: Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein Submits Resignation Letter

NPR.com: House Conservatives File Impeachment Articles Against Rod Rosenstein

Washington Post: Republicans’ highly political articles of impeachment against Rod Rosenstein, annotated

VOX.com: Conservatives back down from effort to force a vote on impeaching Rod Rosenstein

Rosenstein’s resignation letter

Harry Truman quote

Background on Lois Lerner

Washington Post: Lerner: “I’m doing just fine.”

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