No, Rosenstein Should Not Be Impeached

Rod_Rosenstein_Official_DAG_PortraitOver the course of the last year, I have been highly critical of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein for his selection of Robert Mueller as Special Counsel and his failure to recuse himself from the Russian investigation.  However, the most recent effort to impeach Rosenstein is unwarranted and unwise.  According to news reports on Friday, Reps. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., and Jim Jordan, R-Ohio are preparing articles of impeachment to subject in the coming weeks against Rosenstein.


Like many, I remain skeptical over the failure of the Justice Department to turn over material to Congress and I found the continued refusal of Peter Strzok  to answer basic questions on prior investigations to be troubling.  In fairness to Strzok, he appears to have been given direct orders from the Justice Department and FBI not to answer.  There are legitimate questions raised by those orders in obstructing Congress. Moreover, the use of classification authority to redact embarrassing information and the failure to make timely disclosures are all worthy matters for congressional action.  While Rosenstein insists that he does not do redactions, he also does not seem particularly concerned over the glaring abuses of redaction authority or the glacial pace of disclosure — let alone the most recent effort to silence Strzok.

I have previously testified that Congress needs to enforce its contempt authority. However, impeachment is not an alternative device to be used in such conflicts.  Rosenstein is wrong on some of these issues, but the department has turned over material.  His position on disclosures is not much different from the position of the department under President Barack Obama. Indeed, the department has turned over far more information under this Administration.

Moreover, Rosenstein was right to appoint a special counsel (he just picked the wrong individual for that position). He is also right to continue to support the Special Counsel and ensure that the Mueller investigation is allowed to continue unimpeded.  Finally, despite some of his bad choices, Rosenstein continues to conduct himself in a professional and apolitical fashion.

Given the recent indictment of Russian military intelligence officials, there is good work being done by Mueller and important crimes uncovered by his investigation.  To push for an impeachment at this time is wholly unconnected to both the impeachment standard and the realities of the investigation.  This is not a witch hunt.  As I discussed in a recent column, while we can discuss which witches were originally sought, there be witches in those woods.

Congress should hammer Rosenstein over the instructions given to Strzok not to answer questions and the continued withholding of material information from oversight committees. However, the talk of impeachment is as unwise as it is unfounded.







is the target of an impeachment effort being undertaken by conservatives in the U.S. House of Representatives, according to a report.

U.S. Reps. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., and Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, both members of the House Freedom Caucus, are said to be leading the effort and could submit an impeachment filing in the next few days, Politico news reports on Friday.

Rosenstein has been clashing with some House Republicans for months over requests for Department of Justice documents, the Washington Examiner reported. The deputy AG oversees Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into possible collusion between the 2016 Trump campaign and Russia.

House Republicans make their case for the deputy attorney general's recusal from the investigation.

On Thursday, the New York Times reported that the White House ordered that more members of Congress receive access to classified information about an FBI informant linked to the Russia probe, despite objections from U.S. intelligence and law enforcement officials.

It was Rosenstein who named Mueller to lead the Trump-Russia probe after Rosenstein’s boss, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, recused himself from the investigation because of Sessions’ own role in the Trump campaign.

Politico’s story on the possible impeachment filing against Rosenstein came on the same day that Rosenstein announced Mueller’s 12 indictments against Russian military intelligence officials on charges linked to the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

Criminal defense attorney David Bruno on what comes next.

Speculation that President Donald Trump might fire Rosenstein increased in April, after FBI agents conducted raids at the office and home of Michael Cohen, the president’s former personal attorney, the Hill reported.

76 thoughts on “No, Rosenstein Should Not Be Impeached”

  1. Someone left the recorder on in the common room of Bedlam. See below for the transcript.

    1. David Benson owes me nine citations (one from the OED) and the source of a quotation, after two months, and needs to cite all his work from now on. – leaving a recording on in the Common Room would violate even the English right to privacy. God knows they have little left.

  2. Obama weaponized the DOJ/FBI and Obergruppenfuhrer Mueller and Gruppenfuhrer Rosenstein are the “tip of the spear.” Hillary was supposed to win and keep the Obama coup d’etat secret. Hillary’s loss meant the truth would come out.

    Obama’s is thee most prodigious scandal in American political history.

    Impeach/prosecute the participants in the Obama coup d’etat in America including 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 et al.

    What did Christopher Wray know and when did he know it?

    If Wray didn’t know, he is criminally incompetent.

    If Wray did know, he is criminally corrupt.

    1. Can’t honestly disagree with you. This dangerous, destructive charade must be brought to an end. IF it takes impeachment or holding these subversives in contempt, I really don’t care. Like most Americans, I’m sick of it all. Mor importantly, I am justifiably scared that the Rule of Law hangs in the balance, perhaps even the republic itself.

      1. If impeachment is distasteful, Americans could always roll out those guillotines that the French employed – they surely establish a clean break with the past.

  3. My understanding is that any federal employee, from the lowest to the highest rank, can be reassigned, at the discretion of the government, so long as his/her pay is not impacted and the reassignment is not done for retaliatory or discriminatory reasons. Since the word “impeachment” suggests misfeasance or malfeasance, I would suggest that Trump or Sessions could simply reassign Rosenstein to a different position where his skills would be more useful to the government. Some reassignments, obviously, are perceived as punishment. For example, Peter Struck being reassigned from a top espionage agent, to working in HR, which is usually staffed by sullen black women. But Rosenstein could be reassigned to a senior attorney position, just somewhere else, away from the Mueller investigation.

    1. The smart money says that Rosenstein and Wray will be fired when the time is ripe, some time after the mid-terms. They’ve both earned that and more.

      1. I’m fine with them being fired; they’re both abysmal, but I’m thinking that it might cause less of a political uproar if there was a “reassignment,” rather than a firing or impeachment. Reassign them both to HR, where they could work alongside Peter S, lol.

        1. Do we know that reassignments would be a proper, acceptable, efficacious method of throttling these deep staters? If yes, then I guess I’m surprised Trump hasn’t done so already. What do the fed regs say about this? I just don’t know. As I recall, Strzok was demoted to personnel, but was permitted to retain all his previous authority, and did so. In other words, different job but same power/influence.

    2. Sounds like a nice, remedial approach and, if so, am all the more flummoxed as to why Trump hasn’t already reassigned them. In any event, do you know what fed regs would specifically apply? I’ve no idea. Thanks.

  4. There is so much more under the surface that you fail to address in your column. There are past indiscretion’s in both Mueller and Rosenstien’s past not to mention the connections to Comey, Rosentien’s wife and so on and so on. The fact that the American people voted President Trump into office because we are tired of politics as usual demands that Rosenstein, mueller, Strorkz et all should be thrown out of their unelected political positions replaced and probably indicted.

    1. Rosenstein’s wife works in the GC’s office at the National Institute of Health. I think she was a prosecutor at some point. I think they’ve had about 50+ man-years between them on the federal payroll. I doubt she’s that consequential in this matter.

      If you recall the ‘Obamacons’ phenomenon from 10 years ago, you’ll recall the behavior of some of these men seemed quite puzzling (Douglas Kmiec and Jeffrey Hart, in particular). A fellow I used to correspond with had this to say: “how many of these guys have liberal wives or girlfriends?” If Lisa Barsoonian is significant in these matters, it would be for some reason like that, I’d bet.

  5. while we can discuss which witches were originally sought, there be witches in those woods.

    The phrase witch hunt always alluded to an investigation based on false allegations; there was never a question of the definition of witch. What’s changed in 325 years? Witch hunt no longer has the same meaning because there is no operational definition of the term witch; at least in reference to politics.

    In this context, wouldn’t witch and enemy be interchangeable in the oath of office?

  6. Let’s assume, for the moment, that Rosenstein should not be impeached. That’s not exactly an endorsement that the guy is doing a good job.

  7. “failure to make timely disclosures are all worthy matters for congressional action.”

    This failure and more have been going on for too long. Congress has oversight ability so it should not be treated in this fashion whether run by Republicans or Democrats. Transparency is a necessity for government and what we have seen is withholding of documents to prevent embarrassment (and possibly worse) and not for national security reasons.

    I guess Professor Turley feels contempt of Congress is sufficient. Would Professor Turley also feel placing Rosenstein in jail a good option for Congress? When Congress’s term is over do they hold him in contempt again and jail him again?

    I wish Professor Turley would go further and compare both actions providing what he believes are the unintended consequences. Maybe the professor feels that contempt would suffice because it might cause a voluntary resignation. Who knows.

  8. Gowdy said there is not enough votes, in The Hill newsletter. Just another trick playing only to one person.

  9. Well, my first question is, how do you compel an official to do his duty?
    In the context of one Constitutionally appointed branch of government overseeing the acts of another, what tools are left if that official simply refuses to do what they are supposed to do by law?
    It would appear that Congress has few enforcement powers to actually strike at the root of said official’s authority to continued refusal of their job.
    Congress can issue contempt citations all day long, and the official can just ignore them, as did Eric Holder.

    At what point, and by what mechanism, can Congress, as an independent branch of government, physically enforce contemptable actions of those it has supervisory powers over? Particularly when the Justice Dept refuses to act on a Congressional finding of contempt.
    The only two methods I have heard of are impeachment, and some archaic, but still legally valid, direct Congressional orders of incarceration in their own Capitol gaols.
    What does Mr. Turley suggest as to enforcement, other than impeachment?

    1. “Well, my first question is, how do you compel an official to do his duty?”
      But who gets to decide exactly what that official’s duty is?

      1. Well, their duties are statutorily public record.
        The defending question is, are they doing their duty. Someone says they are not, they say they are.
        Resolving whether they are or not? Well that is what trials are usually for.
        Impeachment includes a trial before conviction.

    1. And who adjudicates the finding of disqualification, and then who enforces the disqualification?
      The problem is the same, the Justice Dept holds the monopolistic power of self-administrative corrective actions, and/or of filing/prosecuting things in court.

      1. So, do we need a separate Justice Department to oversee the Justice Department? And who would oversee that?

        1. Aha ! I have the answer. We hire the Swiss to come in as impartial investigators….. (just kidding) But seriously, who is left in this country who does not have strong and maybe even violent opinions one way or the other? Is Civil War 2.0 just around the corner?

          1. probably not, but the left wants us to think that so we lose our nerve.
            trust me, if CW2 kicks off, the cities will go up in flames and that’s where most of the libs are. the weaklings who populate the news editorial rooms (those which are left) and the professorships of academe in “critical studies” will probably be the first to go when the sans-culottes start lopping off heads

            1. Mr Kurtz, those you refer to will meet the same fate even if the ‘progressive’ Dimm fascists win & take US down. Those who overthrow a nation almost always take out the fellow traveling easy to manipulate Homer Simpsons who aided & abetted the takedown. The ‘new government’ takes out those who betrayed the previous government because they do not trust them. Especially when the ‘new’ govt doesn’t keep their promises & becomes a dictatorship & the useful idiot Homer Simpsons become pawns like the rest of those the ‘on the street’. Only some of the die hard traitors to the previous govt at the top who aided the overthrow are promoted when their ‘lower ranking soldiers’ are eliminated.

              Before easy to Manipulate Homer Simpsons start calling me any names, read the books–Strategy, by Cloward & Piven & Rules For Radicals by Saul Alinsky. Note who Saul dedicates HIS book to. Not good IMO.

              Also read The Creature From Jekyll Island, an expose on how the ‘Federal’ Reserve, albatross like, was hung around the neck of the USA by sneaky Dimms.

              I am convinced that there IS a plan, plot or whatever to take the USA down & force US into a North American Union & then hand US over to the New World Order as a vassal state to a one world government. That is one big reason the Dimms oppose any border control & have started a war against ICE. The Dimms know they can get the illegals to vote for them by paying them off with welfare. That’s also why Dimm fascists oppose voter ID & support giving drivers licensees to illegals.


            2. Ah…Yet another “sky is falling” pronouncement from one of our Keyboard Warriors. Pro tip: turn off Sci-Fi Network, there’s no dystopian underground girding loins for some sort of “battle in the streets.” Even if there were, neither you, nor your ilk would lift a finger, since your types don’t say anything to anyone in real life. On the bright side, while keyboard clowns are posting nonsense here, real people aren’t having to roll their eyes while you blather some irrelevancies to the mailman who just needed a signature. So, order up some more camo underwear and a big, square battery for your weather radio and go inspect your pup-tent.

              this is to “and I sent off for a close-quarters combat book, too” kurtzie

              1. Marky Mark Mark – you are one of our stalwart SJW keyboard warriors. You have SJW branded on your forehead. BTW, you are still not a pro. Stop giving pro tips. You are not authorized.

      1. The Judge can disqualify any counsel for conflicts of interest using their inherent power over counsel in litigation. Also the state bar can sanction a lawyer for conflicts of interest but that’s rarely done in the case of the prosecutor. Finally, all public officials are subject to a court issued writ of mandamus ordering them to perform a public or statutory duty. Those are the options I see.

        1. Mespo, Thanks but I am not sure I understand how any of these options have a significant impact. “The Judge”, which judge? What present litigation would Rosenstein be involved in? “state bar can sanction a lawyer ” I don’t see how that would have an impact except politically when a state bar is sanctioning the AG of the US. “to a court issued writ of mandamus”, which court and who brings the claim?

          The way I see it is we have three options, Congress, The Executive branch (Trump and Sessions) and perhaps a suit by an interested private party. Thank you for your options even though at present I don’t see a solution in your solutions. Not your fault rather the fault of a corrupt DOJ /FBI.

          1. The recourse begins with the judge of any trial of any defendant who can rule on prosecutorial misconduct and conflicts. The mandamus likewise starts in the district court level. Bar complaints go to the bar association.

              1. It’s the Defendant who can bring the motion to disqualify in the criminal context. He can also bring the on the petition for writ of mandamus as “plaintiff” in the separate proceeding.

                1. I was thinking of the defendant as the plaintiff in the new claim. Aside from the Russians what defendants want to and can make a claim disqualifying Rosenstein? Who has the resources to deal with such claims? It appears that unless Trump acts or Congress slaps Rosenstein in jail or impeaches him no one else can touch him.

                    1. Thanks, I read it. I don’t know how vicarious disqualification helps to rectify the problems created by Rosenstein’s not recusing himself. I assume that might occur at trial but we are dealing with circumstances where there are many reasons Rosenstein should not hold the position he presently holds. Yet he is there. He can recuse himself from any trial and wouldn’t likely be the one prosecuting the case.

                    2. “There’s no harm done to a defendant until charges are tried.”

                      That is what some say, but the individual can pay dearly even if a trial never occurs.

                    3. That is what some say, but the individual can pay dearly even if a trial never occurs.

                      The defendants in the Duke Lacrosse case would be a case in point.

            1. ethics cases on politicos take years to settle. look how long it took bill to lose his law license in arkansas. they say trump lied about that. he did not.

              prosecutors have been under fire for bogus prosecutions more in the past decade than they were in previous ones I would say and I have studied many specific cases of it

              this is all way over the head of state ethics counsels however

  10. Gosh, one would think Jordan might be better occupied trying to recall what a lot of people appear to have told him and he doesn’t “ recall”……….?…?

  11. Another column telling us we have to play nice with the lawyers, no matter that this lawyer threatened members of Congress, supervised a process of assiduous stonewalling of Congressional committees, and been the progenitor of the fraudulent Mueller investigation. Here’s a suggestion: have the Sergeant-at-Arms arrest him for contempt of congress and toss him in a dungeon in the basement of the Capitol.

    1. For one thing, most members of Congress are also lawyers. As for the “fraudulent” Mueller investigation, that is an assertion, not a conclusion.

      1. Nope, it’s a conclusion.

        1. He’s secured indictments of two sets of people he thought he’d never have to bring to trial. These are show indictments. He was poleaxed when one among the first set contested the charges. Then he tried for a continuance on the basis they were not properly served. Now, he’s making arrangement for that particular bloc of cases to be turned over to a quartet of AUSAs.

        2. He’s been in pursuit of Paul Manafort in regard to his business interests. Manafort only worked for Trump for a few months and the indictments concern matters which happened prior to 2015. They could have been dealt with by the U.S. Attorneys or the Criminal Division or the Tax Division (which had Manafort in their gunsights but hadn’t considered him a priority). Mueller taking the case makes little sense, except as an avenue to get Trump (something acknowledged by Judge Ellis in open court).

        3. The rest of his ‘convictions’ have been plea deals on process crimes, crimes of a sort that do not exist in many (or most) state penal codes. The plea deals do not delineate conspiracies of note for which the defendant will in the future provide evidence.

        4. While we’re at it, see Andrew McCarthy’s critique of the Manafort indictments. A lot of fan dancing there.

        1. Hey Spastic: Manafort ran Trump’s campaign for 5 entire months. You’re foggy on the facts when you ‘want’ to be.

          1. No, he ran his campaign from 19 May 2016 to 19 August 2016. He’d been hired in a staff position on 29 March 2016. They had a discrete and practical reason to hire him: they thought they needed a floor manager at the convention and this was work he’d done before.

            1. May to August is a significant span of time in the life of a presidential campaign.

              1. You do realize that the indictment of Manafort concerns tax charges dating back as far as 2006, work done for the Ukrainian government prior to 2015, conspiracy charges meant to end-run around the statute of limitations, money laundering charges contingent on other charges of a sort that are seldom prosecuted? None of this concerns work he did for Trump between March 2016 and September 2016.

              2. Peter,… The following 3 months, August to November, is an even more significant time period.
                The preceeding 3 month period ( to the May-to-August you cite) is Feb.-to-May, and would be at least as important that May-Aug.
                I guess I’m asking why, or if, you think that the May-Aug.time period was somehow more notable or significant than a few other of the 3 month time spans.

                1. The following 3 months, August to November, is an even more significant time period.

                  Especially given the Susan Rice stand-down order.

      2. I’m with Teaching Spastics. If not a conclusion, why was no broken law presented by Muleear & company at the START of the witch hunt? What we see is an investigation in search of a crime rather than a crime being stated IN ADVANCE that proof of is being sought?

        The fake Muleear ‘investigation’ is as credible as a $3 bill. Maybe it’s a $6?

        There is a nice term for citing a broken law as a reason for an investigation, but I forget what it is & don’t have time to look it up.


    2. a constitutional crisis is probably not too far off, but i would guess the shots will be first fired by the Deep State bureaucrats and not elected officials

  12. “His position on disclosures is not much different from the position of the department under President Barack Obama. Indeed, the department has turned over far more information under this Administration.”
    Is this an excuse to defy congress? He did it, so I can do it too???
    Has Turley’s been nipping at the bottle again.

    1. Yeah, that is the first thing that I thought of when I read that.
      Why is it that just because Obama’s administration did less of it, that it makes Rosenstein’s flouting of his obligations any more justified?
      When I read that kind of an apologist argument — “well they did it worse than this” — that I sense weakness in the fundamental argument.

  13. You don’t seem to understand what draining the swamp means. The muck clings to Rosenstein.

  14. Gosh, I’ll bet Rosenstein sleeps easier tonight knowing he has your support!

  15. The impeachment articles have been in the works for some time and were part of Rosenstein’s meltdown with Congressional staffers. He is not overseeing Mueller and has actually expanded Mueller’s probe with a secret memo. This would be enough for me to vote for impeachment. Mueller has blown about $20 million without supervision. He has a reputation for going after the wrong person and making bad hiring decisions. Rosenstein either needs to reign him in or be impeached.

    1. In this situation, what could conceivably count as “supervision”? If the supervision comes from those involved on the receiving end of the investigation, how could such an investigation ever come to any impartial conclusions.

      BTW, the correct phrase is “rein in” not “reign in.” Reins have to do with horses, reigns with monarchs. The correct metaphor for reining in has to do with using the reins to control a runaway horse.

      1. Jay S – you are correct. My bad. It is rein in, not reign in. However, reign in does kinda work with Mueller who is running a fiefdom. 😉

  16. Impeach/prosecute the participants in the Obama coup d’etat in America including 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 et al.

    What did Christopher Wray know and when did he know it? If Wray didn’t know, he is criminally incompetent. If Wray did know, he is criminally corrupt.

    Obama’s is thee most prodigious scandal in American political history.

    1. Well, George, the only actual coup d’etat that I see is coming from Trump and his Congressional sycophants, and the Russians, and probably also you.

      1. The term ‘coup d’etat’ does not mean what you fancy it means.

        1. Mueller fashions himself the master of the coup de main but he is more like a fart in a skillet

    1. Jamue – editing errors are par for the course or to be expected. 😉

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