It’s Not Personal, Mr. Rosenstein, Its Strictly Government Business

Rod_Rosenstein_Official_DAG_PortraitIt appears that things got ugly in a recent meeting between Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and House oversight staff.  Rosenstein reportedly threatened to “subpoena” House committee members if they went after him with a contempt sanction for failing to turn over material on the FBI’s investigation of Trump campaign officials.  If the account is true, it was a mistake by Rosenstein.   To quote The Godfather, oversight is not personal, its oversight business.The report comes in the same week as news that former Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe will be suing the government over access to material.

Rosenstein’s supporters insist no threat was made and he merely stated that he has rights to and could respond to any charge with a move to subpoena emails, phone records and other documents from lawmakers and aides on the House Intelligence Committee.  This is not the time for such threats.  Oversight committees are supposed to make agencies uncomfortable. In the past, the intelligence committee were notorious for chummy relationship with the agencies and a distinct lack of oversight.  Combining a failure to turn over material to an oversight committee with threats is an unwise decision.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions has objected that Rosenstein’s comments were misrepresented.  That could well be the case, particularly in the difference between Rosenstein using his personal right to defend against a charge and his using a criminal subpoena.  However, it was a mistake to make any type of threat in such meetings.  You have to let it go as a high-ranking official.

The threat itself is less than credible.  Courts have generally supported the oversight committee in their seeking documents and these allegations fall squarely within the oversight jurisdiction of the House committee.



36 thoughts on “It’s Not Personal, Mr. Rosenstein, Its Strictly Government Business”

  1. I agree; Congress (and its committees) have the duty and responsibility to investigate the agencies that are a part of the Executive branch, but I don’t think the Executive branch has a right to investigate Congressional committees or their staffs. This was brought out in the open a few years ago when Sen. Diane Feinstein revealed that her staff was investigated by an agency within the Executive branch, and the agency backed off, admitting that it was an error.

  2. I think I can see how ambiguity arose in the meaning of Rosenstein’s threat. “I can subpoena your email, etc”, can be taken as “I can get the DOJ to subpoena your emails”, or “As a private citizen litigant (after being fired), my lawyers can subpoena your emails”. I believe Rosenstein was thinking about the latter meaning, knowing that if he is indicted for personal wrongdoing, being fired will come fairly automatically, and his legal battle will be as a private citizen. One the other side, I think the Committee members were thinking “He’s threatening to sick the DOJ on us!”, which would be a clear abuse of Exec power and unleash a nasty separation of powers battle that Congress would eventually win in the courts, but only after much delay and damage to public confidence.

    Rosenstein is really on thin ice at this point, trying to cover up for misbehavior in DOJ.

  3. A man who looks and sounds like Wally Cox should not try to play Luca Brasi.

  4. It’s been interesting to see the misuse of law that these lower level players are using on each other. Clearly, surveillance and misuse of law have moved up a notch from ordinary citizens into the lower ranks of USGinc. lackies.

    I wish that they would, having gotten a taste of their own medicine, try to put the brakes on mass surveillance and misuse of law on everyone, but apparently, they are too stupid or too well paid to take effective action for the common good. That’s why we’re the world’s largest banana republic!

  5. I’m not clear as to why Trump and Sessions have not told Rosenstein and Wray to quit stalling and cough up the subpoena’d documents. This really is egregious.

    1. The reason why even Trump hasn’t ordered them to release the information is that Nunes’s intent is to provide the information to Trump to help obstruct the investigation. Even Trump isn’t that heavy-handed.
      Actually, he is, but somebody must have stopped him.

      1. And if Trump did order the release of that information, you and other lefty loons would be singing “obstruction of justice!” 24/7.

  6. The Great Republican Conspiracy led by Rosenstein, Mueller, Wray and Sessions to unseat Trump continues…
    The wingnuts on Infowars and Breitbarts will be concocting loony scenarios from now till doomsday.

    1. LOL! So true! And Republicans are so stupid they don’t recognize that all the “villains” they think are out to get their American Il Duce are Republicans themselves. God they are stupid… not to mention extraordinarily dangerous.

      1. That butt kicking you took 2 Novembers ago….still hurts, no? If those bruises won’t heal, see a doctor. What’s your favorite drug of choice for your case of TDS?

        1. I have just about equal disdain for the Clintons as I have for Trump.
          Try again…

      2. LOL! So true! And Republicans are so stupid they don’t recognize that all the “villains” they think are out to get their American Il Duce are Republicans themselves.

        And you’re so stupid you haven’t figured out that Rosenstein is a Justice Department lifer whose book is protecting the impunity of his rancid employer.

        1. Just who appointed this Rosenstein guy to be Deputy Attorney General anyway?

  7. If they want to impeach him, it is appropriate to point out that he will have a right to discovery, which means all of their e-mails, and their sworn testimony in depositions. Normally, you write a letter reminding people in possession of relevant evidence that they have a duty to preserve it.

    Where is the problem?

    The cold reality is that the Committee is attempting to obstruct an investigation. That is a felony. Oversight is appropriate, but it can be done post-mortem.

    1. If they want to impeach him, it is appropriate to point out that he will have a right to discovery,

      Where in the U.S. Code does it say that?

    2. You’re an insufferable doofus. To impeach is to fire him you idiot. How and when and where do you gather a person who is tried by the Senate to be fired from a job has the right to his accuser’s emails and correspondence? The punishment is not prison. He just becomes another unemployed DNC clown like McCabe.

      The Senate presents evidence, Rosenstein answers questions (or takes the 5th), the Senate votes to fire him, and he’s fired. Do you have trouble with simple verbs and nouns like that?

      1. Impeachment Crazy Talk🤪.

        The Senate has to vote to impeach by 2/3rds.

        Meaning that the Democrats can easily scuttle any impeachment without a single Republican vote.

  8. No rules, no regulations just DOJ, FBI gone wild and a Democrat party completely unhinged with no direction. Refusal to pony up documents for months to reveal truths, is this the America.

  9. Congress is more important to The President than Rosenstein who hasn’t done anything worth talkinig about except collude to obstruct. His value is nothing. Easy fix. Fire him his ass belongs to exec branch i. e. The President He has misplaced delusions of grandeur.

    Congress IS important especially the Senate.

    It is more than past time the three branches of government worked together under the Constitution and got rid of the Fourth Branch especially those rogue Judges who should be recommending to the Supreme Court not playing ‘Reichsfuhrer SS.

    1. A simple read of the Constitution inthe first three articles solves the whole non issue. Rosenstein is a temporary member of the servant class nothing more.

  10. Any House action against the DAG would be a POLITICAL action and therefore normal rules of discovery would not apply. As I understand the process this series of events would take place and the DAG would have to defend himself based on rules adopted by the Senate. The series of events are: 1. House holds DAG in contempt. 2. House votes to impeach 3. DAG is tried in the Senate under rules adopted by the Senate. 4. DAG is found innocent or guilty. If found guilty DAG would most likely be removed from office.

    1. This is a very important point that all the pundits and apologists seemed to have missed.
      Either that, or they are woefully incompetent in the areas of law they are supposed to be officials in.
      Explaining Rosenstein’s threat away as simple due process subpoenaing is inapposite; as you note this is NOT a civil or criminal action against Rosenstein, and Rosenstein is not entitled to the same due process that he would get in a normal court action.

    2. 4. DAG is found innocent. There is absolutely not even a snowballs chance in Hell that the Senate would convict. Absolutely none.

  11. If Rosenstein subpoenas any of them, they are not going to care who Trump fires. 😉 There will be no threat of impeachment.

    1. SDNY is preparing an arrest warrant for Michael D. Cohen. Manafort will likely be in jail before very many readers have gotten as far as Page 3 in the OIG report. Mueller’s protection order in the Concord case is a done deal. The case will not be dismissed. Prigozhin and his co-defendants will have to come to America to read the documents their lawyers requested. They’d be taken into custody the minute they did. Instead, Putin and Prigozhin will probably tell Dubelier and Seikaly to withdraw their representation of Concord. Robert Swan Mueller The Third will remain he who will not be deterred. And if Trump stiffs Cohen for Cohen’s legal bills the way Trump has stiffed other contractors . . . well, that might qualify as taking a bullet for Trump. But would he? Who sings first? Cohen or Manafort?

      1. OK, we have the issue of your hopes and dreams. We should be interested just why?

      2. I am embarrassed for you. I wish you had a loved one to perform an intervention.

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