Summer Shakespeare: Rosenstein Plays Hamlet On The Potomac

Bernhardt_Hamlet2Rod_Rosenstein_Official_DAG_PortraitBelow is my column in the Hill newspaper on the recent reports of how Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein was angry over his treatment by the Trump White House and wants Mueller to “vindicate” him.  I have said for over a year that Rosenstein should recuse himself if Mueller is seriously investigating the firing of former FBI Director James Comey as an act of obstruction or some other crime. These reports magnify, in my view, those conflict concerns.

Here is the column:

In testimony and reports this week, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein has emerged as the Hamlet of the Potomac, an increasingly tortured and conflicted figure who is both misunderstood and misunderstanding. According to the New York Times, Rosenstein swayed between angst and anger in the aftermath of the firing of FBI Director James Comey. In conversations with both friends and colleagues, he reportedly “expressed anger” and “remorse” while appearing “conflicted,” “shaken,” “unsteady” and “overwhelmed.”

The reports only magnified prior concerns of the ethical basis for the deputy attorney general to appoint and supervise special counsel Robert Mueller. Rosenstein has long maintained that he can handle such concerns. The suggestion is that, as with Hamlet, “there is method” to any “madness” that he might have displayed.

There are legitimate doubts, however, in whether there is more method or madness in Rosenstein refusing to recuse himself. After the appointment of the special counsel (which I continue to support) last year, I wrote a column questioning how Rosenstein could appoint and supervise Mueller, given his own role as a key witness in the underlying subject matter of the investigation. Indeed, both Mueller and Rosenstein were eyewitnesses to critical periods in the firing of Comey.

On May 16, 2017, Mueller was interviewed by President Trump to replace Comey as FBI director. The firing of Comey must have been an obvious subject of that meeting. The next day, however, Rosenstein informed Trump that the man the president had just interviewed for Comey’s job would, instead, investigate him about his firing of Comey.

If Mueller’s conflict was concerning, Rosenstein’s conflict was glaring. Rosenstein was asked to write a memo on Comey’s misconduct as FBI director. That scathing memo was then presented by the White House as the basis for the termination. Rosenstein was irate and, this week, his associates told the media that he complained at the time about being “used” by the president and that he was angry over the initial false account involving his role. Trump later admitted that he had already decided to fire Comey before the Rosenstein memo.

Any investigation into obstruction allegations involving Comey’s firing would put Rosenstein at the top of the list of witnesses. The questions are obvious and remain largely unanswered. Who asked Rosenstein to write the memo? Why was the memo written? What was Rosenstein told before Comey was fired as to why Trump was unhappy with him? What were the circumstances and communications over the use of his memo by the White House? Most importantly, why was he so reportedly angry?

Rosenstein has been treated unfairly by Trump and Congress, including in the last hearing. He has a solid reputation for even-tempered and professional judgment. However, his conflicts in this matter have only become more glaring with time. While Rosenstein has indicated that he would recuse himself if asked, it is hard to see how he can continue as Mueller’s superior if there is a credible investigation into Comey’s firing. Unless Mueller concluded early on that there was no credible allegation to investigate, Rosenstein has continued to act as the superior to a prosecutor who is investigating, in part, his own conduct and judgment.

With authority over the scope and resources of the investigation, Rosenstein has maintained a level of control over a matter where he has pronounced personal and professional interests. Attorney General Jeff Sessions correctly recused himself to avoid the appearance of a conflict. It has become increasingly evident that Rosenstein may have an actual — and not just an apparent — conflict in this matter.

The recent reports describe conflicting emotions of Rosenstein, ranging from anger to rationalization to despondence. Indeed, the dogged reluctance of Rosenstein to recuse himself is itself concerning. The controversy over FBI investigations has been fueled by the key role of figures like FBI official Peter Strzok, who harbored clearly antagonistic views against Trump. Strzok was eventually removed from his senior position, but long after critical decisions were made in the Clinton email and Russian investigations. This taint has now undermined the integrity of the investigation and the bureau itself.

Where Strzok’s failure is based on personal bias, however, Rosenstein’s failure is based on personal interest in the investigation. The New York Times reported that, according to multiple close associates and friends of Rosenstein, he “appeared conflicted” in the aftermath of the Comey firing. Consider this passage: “He alternately defended his involvement, expressed remorse at the tumult it unleashed, said the White House had manipulated him, fumed how the news media had portrayed the events and said the full story would vindicate him.”

If true, it is astonishing that Rosenstein did not recuse himself, or that his colleagues did not strongly encourage it. It is obviously problematic that Rosenstein selected and then supervised a special counsel in an investigation that he hoped would “vindicate him.” Rosenstein also will play a key role in the scope and release of the eventual special counsel report, which will by necessity touch on his actions and role.

There is no reason for such an apparent or actual conflict to exist, as Rosenstein is not essential to the investigation. He can recuse himself and leave the supervision of Mueller to a designated subordinate, in the interests of the integrity of the investigation.

Even before the reports this week, Rosenstein’s role was having a corrosive and deleterious effect on the credibility of the investigation. His reported colloquies over his role and mistreatment is reason enough for him to exit stage left before the culmination of the investigation. As with Polonius in “Hamlet,” he should have been sent off many months ago with that sage advice for those who must by necessity take their leave: “This above all, to thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man. Farewell.”

102 thoughts on “Summer Shakespeare: Rosenstein Plays Hamlet On The Potomac”

  1. What did Christopher Wray know and when did Christopher Wray know it?

    If Christopher Wray did not know of the DOJ/FBI/INTEL/OBAMA coup d’etat, he is grossly incompetent and completely unqualified to be the Director of the FBI.

    If Christopher Wray did know of the DOJ/FBI/INTEL/OBAMA coup d’etat, he is criminally corrupt and completely unqualified to be the Director of the FBI.

    Either way, it’s goodbye, Wray!

  2. Rosenstein must be impeached by Congress which represents the “Sovereign,” the People, under the U.S. Constitution. Rosenstein has challenged and subverted the dominion of the “Sovereign,” the People, in a constitutional crisis of his own making. The People are not a branch of government. The People are the “Sovereign;” Rosenstein is a servant thereof. Rosenstein, the concierge, should be grateful there is no longer the penalty for treason of Drawing and Quartering in the public square, a fate he so richly deserves.

    1. In order to be impeached, 2/3 of the Senate needs to vote for it. Less than 50% of the Senate has said they want him impeached.

    2. George, when the Sovereign people are called into service on a grand jury, their proceedings are to remain secret until indictments are brought or unsealed and defendants request discovery prior to trial. Rosenstein and Wray are both doing their sworn duty to preserve, protect and defend the secrecy of grand jury proceedings. It is the Congressional Republicans who are currently subverting the Sovereignty of the people in the act of extorting public disclosure of secret grand jury evidence before defendants request discovery prior to trial, before indictments are unsealed, before indictments are even brought, in the first place, and before an investigation had been concluded.

      Nice try, though, George.

  3. The professor has shown without credible dispute to lack any ability or value as a “criminal defense trial attorney.”
    Although the professor desperately desires to be taken as a credible, knowledgeable and learned man of the “arts,” I respectfully submit he is at best, a dilettante. At worst, the professor confuses being a constitutional law teacher with an unfounded ability and desire to “play” psychiatrist/psychologist and dramatist.
    Alas, the professor fails to understand the play, Hamlet, Poloninus’ role in the play and, worst of all, any accurate relationship between the role or posing of Polonius and Rosenstein.
    As evidence for my claim, I offer:
    Polonius, father of Ophelia and Laertes, and counselor to King Claudius, ( Rosenstein: counselor to whom? President, Trump, Wray, no one but his own self-aggrandizement? ) is a windbag and a rambler of wisdom, at best.
    Polonius only acts like a “foolish prating knave” to keep his position and popularity safe and to keep anyone from discovering his plots for social advancement ( Rosenstein: post government employment and position, a loyal swamp creature of a confused or divided loyalty or merely a different species of swamp
    creature ).
    Please note: throughout the play, Polonius is characterised as a typical Renaissance “new man”, who pays much attention to appearances and ceremonious behavior ( Rosenstein: feigning authority, power and control or a swamp creature seeking safe harbor ).
    Some “interpretations” depict Polonius conspiring with Claudius in the murder of King Hamlet ( negate the election of President Trump, loyal swamp creature of an out of favor species, or mere incompetence? ).
    The choice is?
    dennis hanna

  4. How old will Mueller be after the 8 year witch hunt? Talk about milking a job!

    1. It’s been 13 months. Benghazi, with no charges, was 2.5 years. Get a grip.

      1. And it hasn’t even been a year yet since the Trump Tower meeting was first reported in the press.

      2. On July 8, 2017 The New York Times first reported the [Trump Tower] meeting. The NYT reported that Manafort took notes at the Trump Tower meeting on an iPod that is perfectly capable of recording as well. IIRC, Mueller’s first search warrant on Manafort was issued on July 25th, 2017. Guess what they seized with that first search warrant–that’s right, a whole slew of Manafort’s iPods. Guess what evidence Manafort is trying to suppress–that’s right, all of that iPod evidence. Gee. I wonder what’s on those iPods that Manafort so desperately needs to be suppressed. Could it be notes or even recordings of the Trump Tower meeting?

        1. I don’t think it’s known when investigators first learned of the Trump Tower meeting.
          The date the meeting was reported in the media doesn’t tell us when investigator first learned of it.
          Glenn Simpson of Fusion GPS met with the Russian lawyer, Veselnitskaya, shortly before and after the Trump Tower meeting.
          Simpson urged Orbis’ Christopher Steele later to contact the media and brief reporters on Steele’s product, the Russian Dossier.
          (This is according to Steele’s testimony in a civil suit; whether Simpson encouraged Steele to brief the media or not, Steele is known to have contacted a number of well-known publications).
          And briefed them on the dossier…Mother Jones was the only one that ran a story based on Steele’s briefing before the election, in late October 2016.
          Given the objectives of both Steele and Simpson to get the negative material about Trump from the dossier to be published, both would have likely informed the FBI if they had knowledge of the Trump Tower meeting.
          Simpson’s meetings with Russian lawyer Veselnitskaya, the timing of those meetings, and Simpson’s work with Veselnitskaya on behalf of the Russian firm Prevezon are interesting, and often overlooked, aspects of the connection between Simpson and Veselnitskaya.
          I think it’s likely that Veselnitskaya passed on information about the Trump Tower meeting to Simpson.
          Neither Simpson nor Steele would have had any reluctance to pass that information on to the FBI.
          Whether that’s the case or not, the FBI investigation into coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia in July 2016.
          Peter Strzok was said to have prioritized that investigation over following up on the ( ( (Sept. 2016 ) knowledge of the Abedin-Weiner laptop..for whatever reason, the FBI waited until late October 2016 to reopen the Hillary email/ laptop investigation.
          The FBI investigation of Trump/ Russia started in July 2016 due to a confluence of events that occured at about the same time….Steele started contacting the FBI about the dossier he was compiling, the DNC emails were leaked, and the Australian diplomat contacted the State Dept. about his conversation with Papadopolous.
          So there are two phases of the Trump/ Russia investigation; the FBI investigation intitiated in July 2016, and the “takeover” of the investigation by Mueller when he was appointed as Special Counsel in mid-May, 2017.
          The claim that we’re only 14 months into “the MUELLER investigation us technically true, and very misleading as well.
          It’s fairly common to see the timeline distorted by claims that the invesigation of “Trump campaign/ Russia” issue is just over a year old.
          While that is ( technically) true of Mueller’s involvement, he has had at his disposal infomation from the FBI investigation that started in July 2016.
          As the second longest-serving FBI Director _ after Hoover), Mueller would clearly know how to access, build on the existing FBI investigation, and coordinate with the FBI when he was appointed Special Counsel.

          1. Diane has been called out several times on the lie that the investigation is only a year old. She continues to lie.

            1. Please identify the lie of which you’ve accused me as contained in the posts copied below for the reading impaired:

              Late4Dinner says: July 5, 2018 at 6:10 AM

              And it hasn’t even been a year yet since the Trump Tower meeting was first reported in the press.

              Teaching Spastics to Dance says: July 5, 2018 at 7:53 AM

              Diane has been called out several times on the lie that the investigation is only a year old. She continues to lie.

  5. How has Rosenstein been treated unfairly by Congress, exactly? He was pressed hard on why he hasn’t recused himself, a case made quite strongly in this blog post. He and Wray were grilled on the failure to provide subpoenaed documents after a year, and the redaction of key information that disguised inappropriate relationships with the FISA court. He never gave a key answer.

    The critical issue at hand is the weaponization of our government against a Republican in office, and all Republicans associated with him. They are being treated far differently than Democrats. Comey is a political hack who used his position of power for the gain of the Democratic party. Fraudulent opposition research was used to spy on a Republican candidate, and then they lied about it. President Trump had the right to fire Comey. HIs actions have been justified by Rosenstein himself. Trump felt that Comey should be fired, and considered Rosenstein’s report to be justification for his own opinion. It doesn’t matter whether Rosenstein knew Trump wanted to fire Comey or not. What did he think the President would do, when he presented his own evidence supporting Trump’s opinion that Comey engaged with a series of bad judgement and wrongful actions? Would you want someone working for you who was plotting your downfall? After all this time, they can find no deliberate coordination of the Trump campaign with the Russians, but it has been revealed that there was with Hillary’s campaign.

    Hillary paid a British foreign agent for opposition research, provided by Russian spies, and thoroughly fabricated. Then she took over the debt of the DNC to shoehorn herself into the primary. That opposition research was used to get a warrant from the FISA court, which had denied all previous attempts. It was not revealed to be unveiled opposition research funded by Hillary Clinton. There’s so much more, and I don’t want to get lost in the weeds, here.

    But this is a miscarriage of justice. The Democrats and Republicans are most emphatically not being treated the same.

    As another example, look at Dinesh D’Souza. No one has ever been indicted in history for that kind of bundling. The worst anyone gets is a fine. But he made a movie criticizing Obama, and a corrupt DOJ went after him. They threatened him with every possible charge in the book, all for the same action, which would have put him away for years, unless he pled guilty. It didn’t matter that they had never punished anyone else for that, or that they continue to look the other way to this day. He gave them an opening, and they took it. Compare and contrast with Rosie O’Donnell, who used 5 different spellings of her names and addresses in order to hide her own bundling. She has not been charged. They still ignore breaking this rule for everyone and anyone else, or they just pay a fine. It was, again, the weaponization of the government against a conservative. Justice was not equal. I’m glad Trump pardoned him, but he cannot get that time back; cannot take that plea deal back or the damage it caused. If they busted every single person of all political persuasions to the same degree, and did not over charge, then fine. But that didn’t happen.

    Whatever the law is, it should apply equally to everyone. That is not the case today.

    1. Tell, us, Karen: are you on Fox’s actual payroll, or do you regurgitate their message for free? This phrase is your dead giveaway: “the weaponization of our government against a Republican in office, and all Republicans associated with him.” I’ve actually heard that line on Fox.

      Trump admitted to Lester Holt and to the Russians who were taken into the Oval Office, that he fired Comey to try to stop or slow down the investigation into his criminal behavior. So, Fox changed the narrative to one in which they’re trying to come up with justification after the fact. Won’t work. Trump’s own words hang him. And, no, Comey wasn’t plotting Trump’s downfall. Comey’s action in announcing the reopening of the HRC email matter helped Trumpy Bear, so that theory won’t fly. either.

      The so-called “dossier” was started by an anti-Trump Republican, who abandoned he project when Trump got the nomination. Please stop omitting this detail. HRC didn’t even know about Steele’s investigation when it started. Even though HRC’s campaign took over funding when the candidate who started it abandoned the project, NOTHING in that report has been proven wrong. You keep omitting this detail, too.

      Everything you write comes directly from Fox News/Breitbart.

      1. Natacha – Trump does not have to have a reason to fire Comey, it is within his Constitutional prerogative. Both Rosenstein and the IG have said the Comey should have been fired. It will be almost impossible to make any case against Trump.

        1. Nutchacha’s new name on these forums is Irritable Bowel Syndrome on account of the diarrhea that continually flows from its orifices

  6. The victim in this Shakespearean Tragedy is America.

    As the most prodigious political scandal in American history, Obama has conducted a coup d’etat employing the DOJ/FBI/INTEL and the “deep state.”

    The final act will result in prison for the antagonists – Obama, Rosenstein, Mueller, Comey, McCabe, Strozk, Page, Kadzic, Yates, Baker, Bruce Ohr, Nellie Ohr, Steele, Simpson, Hillary, Huma, Lynch, Brennan, Clapper, Kerry, Stefan “The Walrus” Halper, Power, Farkas, Rice, Jarrett et al.

    P.S. Where in the world is Joseph Mifsud?

    1. Now it’s former President Obama’s fault? This crap you write makes you sound paranoid, if not outright psychotic. Trumpy Bear is the only one likely to go to prison, He can’t pardon himself for N.Y. State criminal offenses.

      1. Actually, it is. Obama had no particular respect for public service and the Department of Justice and the IRS acted as extensions of his political directorate to a degree that doesn’t have much precedent.

        People usually cite the Nixon Administration as culpable in this regard, but that’s not valid. There was a two-digit population on a list marked for such things as IRS audits. Not sure the IRS actually audited any of them. At the same time, the chief of the Criminal Division at the Department of Justice was a career officer (and registered Democrat) named Henry Peterson. He tells John Dean in 1971 that never in his tenure at the Department of Justice had an investigation been closed on White House orders and if that happened, ‘the lawyers in this division would walk out’.

        Partisan Democrats haven’t any ideas on how to restore political neutrality to these institutions and likely don’t want to, so they just lie and pretend the whole scandal was invented by Fox News.

  7. Rosenstein is NOT required to recuse himself under legal ethics rules. An attorney is required to recuse himself if his testimony will be used IN A TRIAL.

    ABA Rule 3.7 lays out the rules for lawyers as witnesses and bars a lawyer from acting “as advocate AT A TRIAL in which the lawyer is likely to be a necessary witness.”

    Rule 3.7 bars this dual function only at trial—not when a lawyer is involved in an investigation or even in the pretrial stages of a case. This rule might bar Rosenstein from serving as an attorney for the government in any criminal trial involving the president’s firing of Comey.

    But that is extremely unlikely since Rosenstein, the second-highest ranking official in the department, is unlikely to be a prosecutor at a trial of Trump (or anyone else).

    1. So Sessions did not need to recuse himself, either. Nor would most recusals ever need to take place…

      1. Sessions was directly involved. He WAS required to recuse himself. Stop watching Hannity and Carlson. It’ll rot your brain.

      2. Sessions needs to recuse himself because he worked on the campaign that is being investigated, and that is a conflict of interest under legal ethics.

        Rosenstein didn’t work on the campaign and he won’t preside over a trial of anything he witnessed.

        Their two situations are different.

        1. MarryAHispanic – Rosenstein wrote the memo authorizing the firing of Comey who is at the center of the obstruction of justice charge. Rosenstein is a witness and must recuse himself.

    2. You’ll need to take up this debate with one Alan M. Dershowitz, Professor of Law, Emeritus, Harvard Law School, who recently stated that after 25 years of teaching, he knows that Rosenstein should have recused himself long ago.

      1. You mean the guy who is whining that his friends are shunning him on the Vineyard??

  8. What caught my eye was that congress (elected officials) can ask appointed bureaucrats for information and the bureaucrats can simply say no. Looks like we have more than just 3 legs of government.

    1. No consequences.

      Remember all the lies told to Congress over the past few years? Like the IRS did not target conservatives, or the NSA did not spy on the American people?

  9. Rosenstein keeps telling us the media reports are all wrong. Maybe the answer to this riddle is far simpler – Trump is not under investigation for obstruction. It could be that Mueller simply made this determination without interviewing Rosenstein as a witness.

    1. Certainly possible. Mueller appears to be looking at far more consequential issues based on the composition of his legal team.

      1. If Mueller makes a case for conspiracy against Manafort, Kushner, Trump Jr., Stone, Caputo and who knows who all else, then the obstruction of justice case against Trump will have gained a sturdy pair of sea legs. Oh! I forgot. Cohen probably knows that Trump knew about the Trump Tower meeting before it happened. They say Cohen is shopping for a plea deal. But Mueller probably already knows that Trump knew about the Trump Tower meeting before it happened. So Cohen might have to offer something else that Mueller doesn’t already know–assuming that there is anything that Mueller doesn’t already know.

    1. It appears that way to me.

      If Dershowitz were 20 years younger, he might be in the running for one, too. But, now, he’ll have to settle for being shunned on the Vineyard.

      Everything Trump touches dies.

  10. What is the rational explanation that firing Comey was an effort by President Trump to obstruct an investigation? It’s as though someone was watching too many old westerns; take out the Chief and all the hostile Indians give up the fight. The same idiotic thought process seems to be used to push for impeaching President Trump. There was never going to be the chance the FBI was going to go away. Logically, firing Comey was only going to guarantee an investigation.

    1. Olly,….
      I don’t think that firing Comey, by itself, would have necessarily resulted in the appointment of a Special Counsel.
      If Trump had just given the reasons outlined in Rosenstein’s memo, and left it at that,there may not have been a special counsel.
      At that point, Comey was despised as much by the Democrats as the GOP. ( before he was “adopted” by the Democrats).
      I think Trump’s statements after he fired Comey…..”it was the Trump/ Russia thing” to Lester Holt, and then to the Russian diplomats, Trump was quoted as saying that Comey “was a nut job”, and that firing him “took the pressure off” of the investigation….those statements guaranteed that there’d be a Special Counsel appointed.
      There had already been calls for a SC, those demands grew stronger after Comey’s firing; as I watched Trump’s statements after the firing I was wondering what the hell he was thinking, now there’s no doubt that there’d be a SC.
      There’s no way of knowing for sure, but I think it’s questionable whether there’d be a SC if Trump had refrained from making those statements after he fired Comey.

      1. Olly,…
        I’d just add that I think the “obstruction” case would be tough to make against Trump; based on only the firing and Trump’s words afterward, I don’t think there’s enough there to make an obstruction charge stick.
        So I’d agree with you that there’s not a strong case for obstruction, if it’s based soley on the Comey firing and Trump putting his foot in his mouth afterward.

        1. The Chief Law Enforcement officer is not Meuller it is not even Sessions it is Trump. he can’t obstruct himself. Ipso facto as they say

          1. Trump cannot obstruct the legal process. That’s why Clinton was impeached.

            1. Retaliation against a law-enforcement officer with investigatory powers would be obstruction of justice, if Mueller produces evidence of an underlying crime the investigation of which Trump attempted to obstruct by firing Comey.

      2. Comey deserved to be fired, it was a risky choice but a good one. Thank Trump!

      3. Thanks Tom. My point is that President Trump was not and will never be able to fire his way out of oversight. Half of the country is looking for a reason to remove him from office. The MSM reflects the attitudes of that half. At least every Democrat + some Republicans in the Legislative branch want him gone. And then consider all of those within the Executive branch that are hostile to this President’s agenda.

        The desperation on the Left to find anything negative to complain about regarding this administration or Republicans in general is apparent in stories like this.

    2. Firing Comey was justifiable under a thousand different reasons none the least of which is the PREROGATIVE of the Chief Executive to do so. Get over it people! LOL

      1. And yet, there is at least one reason for which the firing of Comey would not have been justifiable; namely, the concealment of a crime that Comey had been investigating. The Chief Executive does not have the PREROGATIVE to conceal discovery of a crime by means of the retaliatory firing of the law-enforcement officer empowered to investigate that crime.

  11. Turley wrote, “The questions are obvious and remain largely unanswered. Who asked Rosenstein to write the memo? Why was the memo written? What was Rosenstein told before Comey was fired as to why Trump was unhappy with him? What were the circumstances and communications over the use of his memo by the White House? Most importantly, why was he so reportedly angry?”

    Surely Turley means to say only that he and the public do not yet know the answers to the obvious questions Turley posed above. Or is there something preventing Rosenstein from answering whatever obvious questions Mueller might crib from Turley’s public commentary? Do such answers have to be given under oath? Can’t Mueller and Rosenstein sit down together for a hearty lunch of Manhattan clam chowder while chewing the fat over this, that and the other thing? And who is it, exactly, who really wants to know the answers to Turley’s obvious questions? Presumably it would not be anyone else who already knows the answers to each and every last one of Turley’s obvious questions? And who might that be?

    1. Fine then, I’ll just have to answer my own damned question. Trump knows the answers to each and every last one of Turley’s obvious questions. It’s obvious that Trump knows the answers to Turley’s obvious questions.

      1. The Q&A sessions between L4D, Diane, Inga, Keefer, and Annie are interesting to observe.😏
        And entertaining.😃😄😀

        1. I’m glad to be of service, Gnash. Remember: Those were Turley’s questions before I got a hold of them. Turley claimed that those questions are both obvious and unanswered. But if you’ll notice, there are in fact answers to Turley’s obvious questions that have been reported in the press. Unfortunately, those readily available answers undercut Turley’s thesis about Rosenstein’s supposed conflict of interest.

          This is roughly analogous to Allan complaining that his questions have supposedly not been answered. Which is roughly analogous to Paul complaining that he’s still supposedly owed up to five citations. Which in turn, yet again, is roughly analogous to Congressional Republicans claiming the Rosenstein is withholding document production from them. All in all it’s a fairly stale routine by now. But as long as youze guys never get tired of it, I suppose that that sort of entertainment might be what really matters most of all. Or not. Go figure.

          1. The complaints from both Houses of Congress have been that the FBI and DOJ is dragging their feet on requests for documents.
            There have been additional complaints when DOJ and/or FBI have not responded in a timely matter for information not involving documents.
            Congress does not seem to have the same clout as the Special Counsel team when it comes to getting documents and other information from DOJ/FBI.
            They may run into the same problem with other Departments in government, but the most visible and long-standing complaints have been against DOJ.
            It may seem like “part of a stale routine” in that these are longstanding complaints.
            It’s possible that the involvement of U.S. Attorney John Huber will result in less conflict over this issue, but Huber’s activities don’t seem to get much coverage.

          2. L4D enables David Benson – I am owed eight citations and a source. The count went up today, David has been busy Making Stuff Up.

  12. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein was angry over his treatment by the Trump White House and wants Mueller to “vindicate” him.

    Gosh, I wonder who leaked that.

    It’s a reasonable inference the Mueller fan dance is Rosenstein’s baby and that both of them are advancing the interests of Justice Department lifers contra Republican elected officials. We’ve got four months until the midterms. If the Democratic Party of Rackets fails to take over the congressional committee architecture in November, Trump can select the apposite moment to purge the upper ranks of the Justice Department and put also Mueller and his crew of Democratic donors out on the curb. (The stonewalling Mueller and Wray have been engaged in is unconscionable). No one seems to know what Jefferson Sessions’ disposition toward all this is.

    1. TStD said, “Gosh, I wonder who leaked that. [Rosenstein was angry over his treatment by the Trump]”

      The people who reported Rosenstein’s anger also reported that McCabe made memos of his conversations with Rosenstein during the eight days between the firing of Comey and the appointment of Mueller and that McCabe gave those memos to Mueller along with a draft letter from Trump for Trump’s original reason for firing Comey that Rosenstein had given to McCabe. Thus, it’s a reasonable inference the Mueller already knows the answers to the obvious questions that Turley complains have not yet been answered.

  13. It might be interesting to find out where the attorneys hired by Mueller worked prior to going to work for Mueller.

    1. That’s all known. What else is known is that only a low-single-digit minority of the population at large make campaign contributions, but 30% of the attorneys Mueller hired do, with several of them donating thousands of dollars over the years. One of them made a glance at donating to a Republican. The rest went to Democrats. All purely co-incidental, I’m sure.

      1. If Mueller didn’t have a case to make, then Mueller, himself, would’ve closed up shop by now. And Rosenstein would’ve insisted upon it, too. Given that Mueller’s shop is still a going concern, it follows that Mueller has a case to make. And Rosenstein knows it. And Rosenstein is not the only one who knows it. Trump, Trump Jr., Kushner, Manafort, Stone, Caputo, Cohen and few others besides all know that Mueller has a case to make. Just ask Judge Ellis. He, too, is on the list of people who that Mueller has a case to make.

        1. L4D enables David Benson – one of the things that came up in the hearing and that Rosenstein lied about was that Mueller asked to have his mandate expanded and Rosenstein did. However, Rosenstein lied about it. It now appears we have no idea what the hell Mueller can investigate.

          1. Two federal judges have denied Manafort’s motion to unseal the grand jury evidence and testimony that led to the grand jury search warrants for Manafort’s “communications stuff.” To suggest that Rosenstein is lying because he won’t tell Congress what Mueller presented to the grand jury to get those search warrants on Manafort is to conflate secrecy with dishonesty. Perhaps Rosenstein should’ve told Congress that he would not violate the secrecy of grand jury proceedings. But that probably would not have shut them up, either.

            1. L4D enables David Benson – early days, early days. The Russians have the best case for upsetting the apple-cart.

            2. i wonder how many sealed indictments are out there which the Democrats dont know about and very much wont like. I bet one or more, time will tell. LOCK HER UP!

        2. If Mueller had a case to make, he would have made it by now.
          As long as guesses are being presented as factual, I’ll throw that in and pretend that I know how and when the Special Counsel investigation will end…if it ever does.
          The anger expressed by House members last week, especially by Rep. Gowdy, reflects the growing impatience of the public.

          1. Mueller’s case will be stronger with Manafort’s cooperation. Manafort is the hold up. And Judge Ellis knows it.

            1. We’re fortunate to have L4D’s insider knowledge of the internal workings of the Mueller investigation.
              She wouldn’t be able to present all of this information and conclusions absent that insider knowledge.
              The other benefit she also brings is telling us “what Turley meant to say”.
              We’d all be lost without her reviews and restatement of JT’s columns.

              1. Tom Nash – between the leaks to the NYT and L4D we here at the Turley blog have the inside track on the Mueller investigation.

            2. Manafort will not be pressured to “cooperate” ie PROVIDE FALSE WITNESS. manafort is creepy but rock solid. Keep holding your breath haters.

              1. Manafort’s wife got a $10 million loan from Oleg Deripaska. She is in legal jeopardy. Meanwhile, Mueller has amassed a record documentary evidence, communications and testimony from Rick Gates, George Papadopoulos and Michael Flynn that will prevent either or both Mr. and Ms. Manafort from giving any false testimony against Kushner, Trump Jr., Stone, Caputo, Cohen and Trump, himself, not to mention a whole host of other people in legal jeopardy.

          2. No, Tom, the anger expressed by Gowdy reflects the fear of Fox/Breitbart because they couldn’t intimidate Mueller and his team to go away or cut short the investigation. No amount of Hannity/Tucker whining is going to truncate this investigation.

            1. Its true, Mueller will plod on running down the leads methodically and then all the drooling anti Trumpers will be sorely disappointed when all that comes are some indictments for a bunch of money shenanigans and the Russia thing evaporates. Which it nearly has already!

            2. Re Natacha’s “Fox News” comment.

              -It goes well beyond that. People have generally been very patient with these 2 year old investigations.
              But Mueller’s support from the public is tenuous, and it is slipping.
              The length of time with no answers ( to the central questions re Russian “collusion” have not been addressed), and the indictments that are far afield of what was supposed to be an investigation of Russian involvement/ coordination in the 2016 campaign.
              Those factors, along with Trump, Giuliani, and others hammering Mueller, have taken a toll.
              While it may be comforting for you and same others to parrot the lame, tired “Fox/Faux News” meme like a broken record, there’s more to it than that.
              But hey, if it “works for you”, just keep thinking and saying “Fox News, Fox News”.

              1. “No answers”, but indictments, so this proves that Trumpy Bear is good to go? You don’t know anything about what this investigation has already uncovered, because unlike Trump’s Administration, Mueller’s team doesn’t leak. This isn’t “Perry Mason”. It takes time to delve into documents, to interrogate witnesses, serve subpoenas, etc.. Who are you or Fox News to decide for “people” how long it should take? Fox News harps constantly about Trump’s innocence, constantly arguing that the investigators are biased, hoping the Breitbart message it disseminates will eventually resonate. I wouldn’t believe Hannity if he said today is Tuesday.

                Russians did interfere in the 2016 election. There is no valid dispute to the contrary. Virtually every government agency agrees. Trump’s campaign had meetings with Russians for the proven reason to obtain dirt on HRC. That, too, is not subject to dispute. Digging into the details about Trump’s connections will take time, because there are many layers of documents and witnesses to connect, and witnesses are lawyered up. Cohen is on the verge of singing like a canary, and no amount of bitching by Gowdy, Hannity, Carlson or the snarky bottle blonde is going to change that. If Trumpy Bear has nothing to fear, then why doesn’t he just shut up and let the investigation take its course, instead of using surrogates like Hannity, Carlson and Giuliani to complain, claim that the DOJ and FBI are biased against him, and endlessly proclaim his innocence before the indictments are even issued? Trump had a bad reputation for honesty before he ever ran for President.

                1. Natacha,…
                  I’ll respond to a couple of things in your nonsensical comment.
                  You mentioned the indictments. I think that you claimed to be a lawyer.
                  You should understand that indictments based on activities going as far back as 2006, involving money laundering, tax evasion, lying to the FBI, etc. are not evidence of illegal coordination between Trump and the Russians.
                  This may be news to you, but there is an expectation that, after two years of investigations, the supposedly central question of “Russian Collusion” would have been answered.
                  Or at least there would be some kind of status report on what’s been learned, and where we’re at.
                  Certainly not answered for the public.
                  While there is a realization that questions can’t be answered overnight, and the public can’t be expected to be informed of every development in the investigations.
                  But this has lingered on FOR TWO FRIGGIN YEARS. Hypotheticalyl, if we were in the same boat two years from now, with a mute Special Council still failing to dole out information to the American people, are you going to be making the same weak excuses for “the investigation that will not die”?
                  As far as your comment that it’s not for me to decide for the public how long the investigation should take, of how the public should feel, it indicates that you are “advancing” to even dumber snd dumber statements.
                  Given your history, that is some achievement.
                  You may not realize this, but the public IS divided on the objectivity and pace and targets of the investigation.
                  When someone writes “In Mueller I Trust”, or nonstop glowong praise, that is not a universal opinion of the public.
                  The same is true of those who view Mueller as the Prince of Darkness or the Witchfinder General.
                  Neither position is because I’m deciding how the public should feel, or because I’m deciding an investigation timeline that the public follow.
                  Take a look at the comments here. There is a very broad range of opinions about the Special Counsel investigation.
                  Additionally, there is polling that shows that a strong minority, at least l, are growing skeptical of how the SP investigation is being, and has been, handled.
                  That isn’t “me deciding” for the public. It is an observation about public opinion.
                  I won’t bother to try to explain the differnce to you.
                  Stick with your “orange blob” and “Fatso” “arguments….you are far more experienced at proving you’re an embittered clown than any real analysis.

                2. Natacha – no one has investigated the Russian connections between Hillary and Putin, Fusion GPS, etc. Using supposed Russian sources for dirt on Trump, the 500k to Bill from the Russians, selling our uranium to the Russians. There is so much that has not been touched.

            3. couldn’t intimidate Mueller and his team to go away or cut short the investigation

              ‘Cut short’? The second anniversary of the start of the investigation passes in just four weeks. So far you’ve got a mess of process crimes, an indictment of a collection of Russian internet trolls that Mueller was not prepared to try and is now attempting to hand off on a collection of AUSAs, and this Manafort matter, about which a federal judge has stated in open court is a transparent effort to get the President. Of the notable special prosecutor investigations undertaken between 1971 and 2003, none secured any consequential indictments after the two-year mark and only one of the three reached an important plea agreement after that milestone had passed.

              Noncompliance and hide the ball on the part of Rosenstein and Wray is a tell that the Department of Justice has been up to no good.

              1. The Trump Tower meeting was first reported in the press on July 8th, 2017. The first search warrant on Manafort was issued on July 25th, 2017. The Congress did not grant immunity to Michael Flynn in exchange for his testimony. Mueller made a plea deal with Flynn in exchange for Flynn’s testimony. Your argument by analogy is extremely weak.

        3. If Mueller didn’t have a case to make, then Mueller, himself, would’ve closed up shop by now.


          1. Your laughter fails to kill me. Your laughter makes me stronger.

      2. Apropos to any conflict of interest Rosenstein may or may not have, what would be interesting is whether any of the attorneys hired by Mueller worked previously for Rosenstein.

  14. Rosenstein lied during the hearings and I am sure the 300,000 missing documents will show that. Go to for an analysis of Rod’s body language during the hearing. You can find out the exact points at which he lies and where he is dealing with the most stress. He also ignored Wray during the entire hearing, which was rather interesting. I think there is some internal friction there

  15. Rosenstein is the epitome of the contemptible, honor-challenged Washington insider: duplicitous, ethically conflicted and a bureaucratic empire builder unwilling to relinquish power or be subject to Congresional oversight. As we discussed the other day here, he’s a man without a chest. He should not be asked to recuse himself. He should be fired like McCabe.

    1. mespo – I think Rosenstein has given the President the rope to fire him.

    2. Rosenstein found out the hard way how to resist the whipsaw: Bend but don’t break. Rosenstein has been resisting the whipsaw for fourteen months already. That’s damned impressive work on Rosenstein’s part. To call Rosenstein a man without a chest belies ignorance of men of stout heart. To call Rosenstein The Hamlet of The Potomac is just-plain illiterate. Don’t be surprised if IG Horowitz has Rosenstein’s back the same way AG Sessions has already backed Rosenstein’s play. No more double-dipper’s benefits for Trump’s whipsaw crew. You want Rosenstein fired, tell Trump to get a chest to go along with his registered-trademark catchphrase.

      1. L4D enables David Benson – Horowitz can only do so much. Rosenstein lied to Congress and is looking at contempt and impeachment. He might not be convicted, but that would give Trump plenty of cover to fire him.

        1. Rosenstein is protecting the secrecy of grand jury proceedings. Congress should pin a medal to Rosenstein’s chest. But they won’t. Because, Ninny Na-Na Nunes.

          1. L4D enables David Benson – Rosenstein is in CYA mode. He signed one of the FISA warrants. You should have seen him dodge and weave, back and hoe, when he was cornered on that. He never did give a satisfactory answer and what he did answer was at least half lies.

          2. Yea they should pin a medal to him OK, right in his asshtabula!

      2. “Don’t be surprised if IG Horowitz has Rosenstein’s back”.
        OK, “don’t be surprised” if IG Horowitz is investigating Rosenstein.

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