Fourteen Months and Counting: Rob Rosenstein Should Recuse Himself From The Mueller Probe

Below is my column in The Hill newspaper on recent stories indicating that top Justice Department officials raised the recusal of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein back in June 2017.  I first raised Rosenstein’s recusal in June and August of that year when the Mueller investigation began based on his role in the firing of James Comey and I have repeatedly called for the recusal since then (here and here and here).  Unless Mueller has told Rosenstein that he does not consider obstruction to be a serious matter for criminal investigation in this context, it is difficult to see how Rosenstein can continue. Indeed, even if Mueller rejects obstruction theories, Rosenstein should not have continued as his superior in the investigation while that matter was explored in compliance with the mandate given Mueller.

Here is the column:

 

One of the most glaring irregularities in the special counsel investigation has been the conflicted ethical position of top officials at the Justice Department. President Trump has long borne a deep resentment over the recusal of Attorney General Jeff Sessions, which many of us viewed as a necessary ethical step. The problem was not the recusal of Sessions but the fact that it was not immediately followed by the recusal of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. The precarious ethical position of Rosenstein just became far more acute with a new report that he ignored demands within the Justice Department to remove himself in 2017.

The report alleges that a heated argument over his conflicts arose soon after the appointment of special counsel Robert Mueller within the Justice Department. Rosenstein rejected the demands of then acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe that his supervision of Mueller was a glaring conflict, while he demanded McCabe’s recusal on different conflicts. The confrontation of Rosenstein over his dubious ethical position is no surprise. In 2017, I argued that both Mueller and Rosenstein had serious conflicts in performing any role in a special counsel investigation.

Mueller had interviewed for James Comey’s job after the latter was fired as FBI director, and reportedly spoke directly with Trump in the aftermath of the firing. That makes him an obvious witness to the very matter that he is investigating. Mueller should not have been on the list of possible special counsels, let alone selected by Rosenstein. Yet, that glaring conflict is now being overlooked, given the national interest in having this investigation completed fully and independently.

Rosenstein is a different matter. From the appointment of Mueller, Rosenstein’s more serious conflict has undermined the investigation. Rosenstein is not just a witness to Mueller’s obstruction investigation, he is one of the key witnesses. Trump consulted Rosenstein before firing Comey, and Rosenstein wrote a memorandum effectively calling for his removal. Initially, the White House suggested that Comey was fired due to that memorandum, and Rosenstein reportedly was irate. The White House then had to walk back the statements after Rosenstein demanded a correction. That puts him at ground zero of the obstruction allegations.

Despite the fact that he is a key witness in Mueller’s investigation, Rosenstein has continued as Mueller’s boss, approving any expansions of his mandate and other issues. The investigation could have a pronounced impact on Rosenstein’s professional standing. Rosenstein has portrayed himself as above the fray, a bulwark against Trump’s reported desire to lay waste to the investigation. He is Mueller’s primary line of defense. Yet, Mueller has to question Rosenstein’s own conduct and subsequent accounts if he is to do a complete investigation of Comey’s firing. Rosenstein also is a key player in some of the secret FISA warrants targeting Trump’s campaign aides in the Russian investigation.

The new report reaffirms just how serious this ethical conflict is for Rosenstein. According to a source briefed on the matter, Rosenstein and McCabe mutually accused each other of insurmountable conflicts in a meeting with other Justice Department officials and, most notably, Mueller. Rosenstein raised a photo showing McCabe wearing a campaign shirt for his wife’s bid as a Democratic candidate for the Virginia state senate. Her campaign became controversial due to massive funding from Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe, who is a Clinton ally and Trump critic. McCabe was said to respond by raising Rosenstein’s obvious conflict as a witness in the events surrounding Comey’s firing.

It is important to note that McCabe’s conflict was indirect and a matter of perception. Justice Department officials are supposed to avoid even the appearance of a conflict, and McCabe was correctly removed on this and other grounds. Conversely, Rosenstein had a direct conflict as a witness overseeing an investigation of not only the president’s conduct but his own. What is most striking is that McCabe already had been warned by Justice Department ethicists about his potential conflicts and followed the recommended steps to mitigate any conflict. Rosenstein did comparably nothing on his direct conflict except make it worse.

Rosenstein’s past response to these objections, which he acknowledged to Congress are “serious” issues, is strikingly inappropriate. He threw the issue into the lap of his subordinate, Mueller, to ask for his recusal. In 2017, Rosenstein told the Senate Intelligence Committee, “I think that Director Mueller ought to review that and make a determination of whether or not he believes it is within the scope of his investigation.”

There are a host of problems with this approach, but let’s deal with just three. First, it is Rosenstein’s obligation to make this ethical decision for himself, regardless of any judgment or rationalization of a subordinate. As lawyers, we are not allowed to play an ethical Blanche DuBois, relying on the kindness of strangers, let alone subordinates, to avoid recusal.

Second, Rosenstein was tying his continued oversight of the special counsel investigation to how aggressively or broadly Mueller might want to pursue the allegations. That can create a conflict for Mueller. Rosenstein plays a critical role in the scope of that investigation. Indeed, Mueller may be influenced in tailoring the investigation to effectively safeguard his principle defender from recusal or scrutiny.

Finally, Rosenstein never mentioned that, in fact, high level Justice Department officials, including the acting FBI director, believed he did have a conflict, according to the new report this week. That level of conflict would leave most legal ethicists clutching the bar rules in a tight fetal position in their offices. However, it does not end there.

There have been reports that other Justice Department officials did not believe that Rosenstein was joking about wearing a wire to secretly tape Trump to get evidence for his removal. In addition to the prior sources contradicting Rosenstein, former FBI general counsel James Baker is now referenced as one of those who believed Rosenstein was serious, but that the idea was ruled out as implausible. That would stand in direct contradiction to what Rosenstein has reportedly maintained to Trump, as well as the public account put out by the Justice Department.

This leaves Rosenstein highly vulnerable to being fired for cause by the man that he and Mueller are investigating. Trump was expected to fire Rosenstein but, this week, met with him on Air Force One and said they now have a “very good relationship” that is a sudden change for a man Trump previously denounced as first advising him to fire Comey and then ordering a “witch hunt” to investigate him for following his advice.

Rosenstein is a key witness to the obstruction and other allegations being investigated by Mueller while he oversees Mueller and approves any expansion of his investigation. Mueller has been protected by Rosenstein from being fired and can continue to rely on Rosenstein so long as he does not request recusal or allow the investigation to get too close to Rosenstein. Trump is being investigated by Mueller, and by extension Rosenstein, but has information that could be used to fire Rosenstein.

Rosenstein has an obvious conflict now crosshatched into conflicts extending both vertically and horizontally in the government. Rosenstein has allowed himself to become the issue, to the detriment of the Justice Department and its investigation. As I said when Mueller was appointed last year, Rosenstein must recuse himself. He is now 15 months overdue.

Jonathan Turley is the Shapiro Professor of Public Interest Law at George Washington University. You can follow him on Twitter @JonathanTurley.

109 thoughts on “Fourteen Months and Counting: Rob Rosenstein Should Recuse Himself From The Mueller Probe”

  1. Turley: do they pay you a lot of money to color the facts to arrive at a foregone conclusion or just make things up? You said: “Rosenstein’s more serious conflict has undermined the investigation. Rosenstein is not just a witness to Mueller’s obstruction investigation, he is one of the key witnesses. Trump consulted Rosenstein before firing Comey, and Rosenstein wrote a memorandum effectively calling for his removal. Initially, the White House suggested that Comey was fired due to that memorandum, and Rosenstein reportedly was irate. The White House then had to walk back the statements after Rosenstein demanded a correction. That puts him at ground zero of the obstruction allegations.”

    1. Where is there any proof that Rosenstein undermined Mueller’s investigation? In what specific manner has the investigation been undermined? Just because Faux News claims this, that does not make it true. What did the Rosenstein memo say? 2. Why, exactly, is Rosenstein a “key” witness? To what extent did the fat, lying clown “consult” Rosenstein? Casually, in depth, and on what matters, exactly and in what detail, and how does this play into this discussion and result in the conclusion that the Mueller investigation is “undermined”? If you can’t answer these questions, you have no business claiming that Rosenstein is a “key” witness and that his failure to recuse has undermined the Mueller investigation. Without those details the bald claim that Rosenstein is a “key” witness and that he is thus conflicted is just puffery. Of course, the White House was lying when it claimed that it was because of a memo written by Rosenstein that Comey was fired, but that doesn’t change facts.

    Conflicts, if they exist at all, can be waived with full disclosure and consent from all involved. This is just more red meat to distract from the real political stories today, which include, inter alia: 1. Elizabeth Warren does have Native American heritage, as she claimed, consistent with her family’s oral history. So, Trump should apologize for his insulting and racist “Pocahontas” reference. Don’t hold your breath. 2. Just this morning, Trump denied saying that he would personally donate $1 million to a charity of Sen. Warren’s choice if she took a DNA test. The videotape doesn’t lie. He said it. More lies from a chronic, habitual liar. 3. Trump will absolutely NOT pull American representatives from that Saudi Arabia conference coming up, no matter what evidence is disclosed. Contrary to what he claims, the Turkish government affirmatively states they have provided proof to U.S. intelligence officials. He honestly doesn’t care that a U.S.-based journalist was tortured, murdered and dismembered. It’s all about the cash the Saudis will pay for U.S. military hardware.

    1. “just make stuff up”

      if you are a regular poster at least use your nom de plume and don’t be so chicken about it

  2. Regardless of whether or not Kavanaugh sexually abused Ford, regardless of whether or not he is lying about not blacking out, the primary shortcoming here is that he was pushed into the Supreme Court without a proper and extensive investigation. If it had taken another few weeks and all available witnesses and/or related persons were thoroughly reviewed, there still would have been time to install him if he so merited installation, before the risk of the Senate and/or Congress going Democrat. He would not have the doubt that he has to carry now. This was perverse and unAmerican power at its worst.

    This is also the case with Mueller and that investigation. This should take whatever time is needed and then the process Mueller used should be reviewed and investigated then for prejudice, not before. This nonsense of Turley’s where he said this then and that, is nothing more than a lawyer rubbing off, constantly.

    Perhaps if Trump and his tools were more open with the information needed and Mueller did not have to extract simple truths as if he were pulling teeth, this thing would have been over by now. The clearest perspective on this is that if the information was forthcoming and/or there was no wrong doing, in other words if there was complete cooperation with the investigation, it would have been over by now. Perhaps the fact that this has been going on for so long is due to the difficulty of getting a straight answer from the President and his minions. So far people have been found guilty and are going to jail. Some have given up fighting and some are still being dragged kicking and whining to account. Let’s see all the tax returns, all the documents, talk to all concerned under oath; what’s wrong with that?

    To remove either Rosenstein or Mueller now would be terrible for Trump tactically as it would point to the fact already known and reinforce that he has stuff to hide; perhaps Trump is guilty; of what America has a right to know, regardless of how it responds. However, given the tragic state of affairs of the power politics of this oligarchy we think is a representative and responsible democracy, Trump manipulating the procedure to protect himself would be par for the course.

      1. Kurtz

        GOP Senators to Dr. Ford: “We understand how difficult this is for you and applaud your courage coming here to discuss your accusation that Brett Kavanaugh allegedly sexually abused you, thirty + years ago.”

        GOP Senators to Judge Kavanaugh: “We apologize for having to put you through this, you and your family. This Democrat manufactured witch hunt is nothing but shameful. Please bear with it.” “Now, Judge Kavanaugh, on your honor, before god, did you sexually abuse Dr. Ford 30 + years ago?” “Nope.” “Well that’s good enough for me, and my apologies for this atrocity.”

        Out of two dozen people who wished to come forth and be included in the additional FBI investigation, the investigation that every Democrat Senator, the ABA, and many others asked for, all but Flake dismissed as ‘not going to happen’, the FBI talked to 5 of them, neither Ford nor Kavanaugh, not Kavanaugh’s old college room mate about his drinking habits, etc. We are still several weeks out from the elections. Every potential witness could have easily been interviewed by now. The GOP and Trump went through the motions. It was a foregone conclusion. Then Trump went after Ford. Sounds a lot like China; ‘First the execution and then the trial.’

        Like I said, it’s not about the sexual abuse or blacking out so much as about the lack of proper procedure. Shameful. However, ya’ll can see it when the other side does it, right?

        1. issac – the potential witnesses were third hand at best. A friend of a friend of my brother told my sister told Becky, etc. That is not a witness. Rameriz was not credible, she could not get anyone to back her up. And the Avenatti client is a set up. She went to 10 gang bangs but never said anything? Never tried to rescue the girls? Never said get the hell out of here. She kept going back. And then we find out she likes group sex. Hmmmmmm.

          1. Paul

            What about his college room mate, the guy whose testimony would contradict Kavanaugh’s almost diametrically. If that guy had been included in the investigation, Kavanaugh would have been seen as the arrogant, above the law cuz he is the law, type; just like Trump and most other politicians who are sourced from the law. If you really feel that the extended FBI investigation, designed by Trump, of five days, was not biased; then there is no hope for you. Call a spade a spade. It was a power move design by the party in power for their guy. Regardless of whether or not Obama did this or that of the same sort; this is what it was. Regardless of whether or not Kavanaugh should or should not be on the SCOTUS, this is what it was.

            1. “What about his college room mate, the guy whose testimony would contradict Kavanaugh’s almost diametrically.”

              Issac, what testimony? That he believes Ramirez who was not credible, whose witnesses do not support her, and who originally was unable to identify Kavanaugh? Even the New Yorker dismissed this claim. What testimony are you talking about? You are proving yourself less credible every time you post.

            2. issac – I had various college roommates, some good, some bad. None I would call for a character witness.

              1. Common amongst the wingnut wackjobs, gullible rubes, dupes, klan wannabees, pocket-traitors and grifters on the make, you also cannot distinguish relevance from whimsy and happenstance. You–are not, will not, and won’t ever be nominated for a lifetime seat on the United States Supreme Court. Ergo, your heartwarming, anecdotal tale–while possibly interesting to someone, somewhere, sometime, has absolutely nothing to do with the subject of Isaac’s post, and is therefore irrelevant–yet again. So sorry for your cognitive decline.

                this is to “ya, but he’s an old white guy so he’s all good” paulie-georgie

        2. I’ll sum it up for you: Christine Ford is an unethical liar whose story and testimony falls apart under the slightest scrutiny. What is truly shameful is that she would come forward after 40 years with such a flimsy, unverifiable, and unbelievable accusation like this. What she did to Brett Kavanaugh is absolutely unethical in my view. And the disservice she did to true victims of sexual assault absolutely disgusts me. Make no mistake about it: Christine Ford is no hero. And she’s no victim, either. She’s a cunning, calculating operator with a political agenda.

          1. She lied about when the party was. Then she changed her story to suit her timeline. She lied about who was at the party. Then she changed her story again. And then she changed it again. And again. She lied about why she told her therapist she wanted another front door in their house. She lied about when the renovation to their house took place. She lied about never having coached anyone on how to get through a polygraph test. She lied about numerous details. To sum it up: She is a liar with a political agenda. Period. God help you, man, if some woman ever comes forward to launch a phony accusation and vendetta against you some day.

        3. ABA endorsed Kav. before the phony charges. That’s all they should have said. but ABA are a bunch of liberals so they jumped at the chance to cancel their endorsement. a pathetic dying organization

          anyhow the procedure was amply sufficient. you just are part of the delaying crew. or the ones cheering them.

      2. Mr. Kurtz: it is ethically wrong for a judge, and I mean ANY judge to engage in partisan political rhetoric. Kavanaugh angrily did so in front of the entire world. He would be subject to removal from even a small claims court for his unfounded outburst that questioning him about his conduct in high school, in the face of credible serious charges, was orchestrated by the Clintons and Democrats as a political hit job. His position was, essentially, that Dr. Ford should be branded a liar and that he should be above even being questioned. even about references to excess drinking and sexual promiscuity, which he placed in his yearbook. When a credible witness such as Dr. Ford comes forward, a Judiciary Committee has 2 choices: 1. Brand her a liar and ignore her complaints, which wouldn’t have sat well even with Republican women; or 2. Investigate thoroughly, leaving no reasonable stone unturned, and taking the testimony of all witnesses with relevant information. Neither was done. A half-assed, limited “investigation”, with a predetermined outcome was done, so that Flake and Collins could say they did their due diligence. This was to push through Kavanaugh so that he could be the deciding vote to quash the subpoenas for Trump’s tax returns and other papers, to avoid having him deposed, and to keep him in office, rolling back consumer and environmental protections and massive tax cuts for the ultra-wealthy. Talk about a political hit job. American got boofed, and will keep getting boofed for years to come.

        1. Dr. Ford lied numerous times. She changed her story numerous times. So that makes her a liar. Because if you put both her and her story under scrutiny, all of it falls apart.

        2. Sir or Madam:

          in saying that it is ” it is ethically wrong for a judge, and I mean ANY judge to engage in partisan political rhetoric” —

          you are conveniently ignoring that judges around the country CAN AND DO EXACTLY THAT IN DEMOCRATIC ELECTIONS every cycle.

          the fed judges are appointees. they don’t need to. the ones responsible to voters, have to communicate with them.

          Democracy: good only when Democrats win

          1. The county and city judgeships are non-partisan. In my experience the judgeships are rarely contested.

    1. Not everyone agrees that “baby talk” Chrissy Ford was credible. She was not credible. And under scrutiny, her story falls apart.

      Ford says she remembers clearly that another girl, her good friend Leland, was with her at the party where Kavanaugh allegedly assaulted her. That friend, Leland, does not remember any such party, or hearing about any such traumatic assault.

      And here’s the kicker: the friend Ford said was with her at the party says she has never even met Kavanaugh – she doesn’t even know him!

      Not one person has come forward to say they were the one who drove Chrissy Ford home from the party she abruptly fled after she was allegedly assaulted by Kavanaugh. And then Ford remembers very clearly that she had only one beer? And yet the best friend she says was with her at the party admits she does not even know Brett Kavanaugh! This is huge. And yet you call her story “credible” and assume Kavanaugh is lying and guilty? Why? Based on what?

      The FBI was so credible and thorough during their investigation of Clinton, right? But they were not thorough in their investigation of Kavanaugh? The FBI cleared Kav numerous times to have access to Top Secret information including the Nuclear Codes. But you believe now that the FBI was in the bag for Trump? Is that what you’re saying? Please.

      Why don’t you ask Ford what she’ll be doing with her cool million dollar GoFundMe account and her hero status with the Dems?

      1. Possibly she walked home.

        At that age I thought nothing of the 3 mile walk, each way, to the public library.

        1. At that age I thought nothing of the 3 mile walk, each way, to the public library.

          Christine Blasey isn’t the only one lying.

      2. But, but, but, your favorite President said she was credible. Was he lying? What about her polygraph? As to Leland saying she doesn’t remember, that does not refute what Dr. Ford said, so stop trying to spin this into a lie. Kavanaugh was never investigated by the FBI previously as to his conduct in high school, because it never came up, so it couldn’t have “cleared” him. Just another Faux News spin. A full FBI investigation would have gotten to the bottom of who was telling the truth. If Kavanaugh wasn’t guilty, then he should not only have wanted a full investigation, he should have demanded it. That tells me more than the spins put out there by Faux News. Little Bartie wanted so badly to be called a “Justice of the SCOTUS” that he lied repeatedly under oath. He’s never going to be legitimate or respected, and it’s his own fault. His outrageous and intemperate political outburst would be disqualifying for a Justice of the Peace, much less a Justice of the SCOTUS. He has earned his infamy.

        As to why I and most other Americans believed Bart lied, we don’t need to even consider Dr. Ford’s testimony. Do you know what the references to “the 5 Fs” meant back then? I do. How about “boofed”? That has never been a synonym for farting, either. How about the numerous other code words and phrases describing sexual promiscuity and heavy drinking, the meaning of which he denied, under oath? He needn’t have lied about the words he wrote for his yearbook page. He could have simply said he was young and the words he wrote were stupid because he was young and bragged about sex and drinking like lots of high school boys do, and that would have been the end of it, but he didn’t. He lied. We simply cannot have people on the SCOTUS who are willing to lie to get the nomination. We simply cannot have someone on the SCOTUS who makes angry, intemperate accusations of a “political hit job” without any proof, but we are not in normal times, and Kavanaugh was not nominated for his wisdom or insightful jurisprudence. He was nominated to tilt the balance of the Court, and especially to help Trump avoid producing documents or being compelled to testify. Now he could be subject to blackmail if a polaroid or video of him drunk and out of control shows up.

        1. “Georgetown Prep alumni have come forward corroborating Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s claim that two phrases in his high school yearbook were not sexual references.

          Four of Kavanaugh’s high school classmates explained in a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee that ‘Devil’s Triangle’ was a drinking game the group came up with while at Georgetown Prep.

          The letter further explained the rules of the game:

          ‘Devil’s Triangle’ was a drinking game we came up with in high school. It was a variation on the game ‘Quarters’. When we played ‘Devil’s Triangle’, four people sat at a table. On the table, three small glasses of beer were arranged next to one another to form a triangle. Each of the four participants took turns being the ‘shooter.’ The shooter attempted to bounce a quarter into one of the glasses. If the quarter landed in one of the glasses, the person at the table sitting nearest to that glass had to drink the beer.

          The letter also stated that they were not aware at the time that the name had any other meanings.”

          1. There was also a well known journalist who tweeted a comment that also corroborates Kav’s statement about the “FFFFF” reference in the yearbook.

            This journalst said that he grew up across the street from Kavanaugh and he knew the friend he was referring to who spoke certain words using the “FFFFF” stuttering sound. This journalist said the boy did not stutter, but spoke like the “FFFFF” only for certain words.

            In other words. they were teenage boys being teenage boys.

            I can’t find the tweet at the moment, but it’s out there. And you would recognize the name of the journalist who is no right winger.

            1. TBob, you could provide a video and proof from countless numbers of people that Kavanaugh is innocent but Natacha wouldn’t believe it. You could change Kavanaugh’s beliefs to what Natacha believes and she will believe everything you said before.

              She drank some bad Cool Aid and the damage is irreversible.

        2. There is far more actual verifiable evidence that your girl Chrissy Ford is the liar, not Justice Kavanaugh. Put that in your pipe and smoke it. You need to take a break from whatever Faux Newz spin you listen to. You are sadly and pathetically misinformed and ill-informed. But that’s not surprising.

          You are the Great Natacha, are you not? (that’s what your greatest fan Marky Mark calls you, anyway) 😉

        3. “One of the men who signed the letter also spoke to TheDCNF on Thursday.

          “Devil’s triangle was really a variation of the game of quarters,” Georgetown Prep alumnus Paul Murray told TheDCNF. “So, it involves three glasses and typically was played with four people, so basically everyone had a glass that was assigned to them and you shot a quarter and if it went in you had to drink.”

          A copy of the Georgetown Prep yearbook also shows another signee, Bernard McCarthy, claimed to be the one who named the game.

          Shot: Bernard McCarthy’s early 80’s Georgetown Prep yearbook post claiming credit for inventing the “Devil’s Triangle.”

          Chaser: Bernard McCarthy’s new letter to the Judiciary Committee explaining that the “Devil’s Triangle” was…a drinking game. pic.twitter.com/GIwewEXczI

          — Guy Benson (@guypbenson) October 4, 2018

          A 1983 Georgetown Prep, Thomas L. Kane, told TheDCNF that he was “a close friend” of Kavanaugh and corroborated Murray’s explanation.

          The Senate Judiciary Committee also received a second letter signed by two former Boston College students who knew Kavanaugh through a mutual friend, Georgetown Prep alumnus Matthew Quinn, who signed the first letter sent to the committee.

          The two men who wrote the second letter contended that, while in college, Quinn taught them the rules for the ‘Devil’s Triangle,’ which was named for the shape of the glasses.

          Murray told TheDCNF that a friend said that a number of alumni were playing Devil’s Triangle at a Boston College football game tailgate last week.”

      3. TBob,…
        As you stated, Ms. Keyser flatly denied knowing Kavanaugh, or any knowledge of the gathering/ party that Ford described.
        It was reported that Ms. Keyser was subsequently contacted by a friend of/ advocate for Dr. Ford.
        So there was a the subsequent “but I believe her” statement from Ms. Keyser, evidently prompted by the damage-control recommendations coming from Dr. Ford’s camp.
        Those who are complaining about an insufficient investigation of Ford’s allegations might see further investigations by House Committees next year.
        There is a strong possibility that the Democrats will win control of the House, and if the majority party wants to continue to beat a dead horse, maybe they’ll pursue this.
        That’s one of the interesting possibilties to watch for. That in turn would open up the investigation into witness manipulation/coaching, etc. and other aspects of this farce that I’m sure a Democratic House majority would want to thoroughly investigate.😉😒
        I think there will be a calculation made on whether they can possibly benefit by doublely down on this issue, or whether pursuing it would blow up in their faces.

        1. It would blow up in their faces because nothing that comes to light would work in the Dems favor. And I’ll make a prediction. The Democrats will not win back the House. Or the Senate. And we will hear the gnashing of teeth and wailing far worse than in 2016. And then we will have 2 more years of screaming and losing their frickin minds by the likes of the Great Natacha and Marky Mark. Just watch. It will be so delicious. 🙂

      4. Methink the t-hott bobbie doth protest too much. What, you think constant repetition makes your shameful screed any more truthful? I know that’s what your hero hannity does, but he’s similarly considered a repetitive buffoon by all rational people. So sorry for your incomprehension.

        this is to “I used to do the same thing he did, so what’s the diff?” t-hott bobbie

        1. Marky Mark, I was posting in response to the Great Natacha (as you call her) spewing her garbage. She said Kavanaugh lied under oath about the meanings and phrases from his yearbook. I presented her with evidence to the contrary. Even provided the name of the boy whose yearbook page shows that he was the one who invented the drinking game “Devils Triangle.”

          But still, you and Natacha continue to believe that Kavanaugh lied while your hero Chrissy Ford is a credible teller of Truth. (She’s not.)

          Here’s what Natacha said about Kavanaugh’s testimony:

          “He needn’t have lied about the words he wrote for his yearbook page. He could have simply said he was young and the words he wrote were stupid because he was young and bragged about sex and drinking like lots of high school boys do, and that would have been the end of it, but he didn’t. He lied.”

          And guess what? That what Kavanaugh did. And it would have been the end of it if the nutjobs like you and Nutchacha hadn’t gone off on some kind of freak show freakout over nothing.

          So Marky Mark, here’s some truth for Nutchacha and you to chew on. But you can’t just read the words. You have to imagine the great Jack Nicholson shouting it, right in your face…

          You can’t handle the truth. 🙂

          1. Natacha is a person with emotional problems and intellectual deficits. Nothing she says has any value. Ditto Marky, who is either an adolescent or an astonishing arrested development case.

          2. PS….correction….where I use the name Natacha, replace it with “Anonymous”…b/c we don’t know for certain that they are one in the same. But hey, when Marky Mark himself says Anonymous sounds like the Great Natacha, well then…gasp…we agree on something. 😉

        2. Marky Mark, one last comment….did you see the news that Justice Kavanaugh hired a team of all women clerks? And he even brings some diversity to his team: One of them is an African American woman. Ever wonder why the great RBG never bothered to seek out and hire a more diverse team of clerks over her decades on the court? Yeah, me too.

    2. Isaac,…
      The allegation against Kavanaugh first surfaced in late July.
      Sen. Feinstein, the ranking member of the Judiciary Committee, knew of that allegation since late July.
      It was only after the confirmation hearings were completed, and Kavanaugh was headed for almost certain confirmation, that this Hail Mary pass to sink Kavanaugh was pulled out of the grab bag.
      I don’t think anything short of a Mueller-style Special Counsel investigation would have satified many of those opposed to Kavanaugh.
      Without some sort of corroboration of Ford’s story, an accusation about an alleged event in 1982 (or 1984, or 1985, depending on which version she “remembered”) doesn’t give investigators anything to work with.
      It’s like chasing shadows. You could expand the list of those you think should be interviewed into the 100s, stretch an investigation ( and the confirmation vote) out for months, and still end up with the same complaints about a “rushed” investigation or a “whitewash”.
      After sitting on the allegation for almost two months, Feinstein and others now want to complain about a “rushed investigation”?
      If you total up the sworn statements submitted by those who might even possibly have something to contribute as “witnesses”, you are probably looking at dozens of players.
      And you and others evidently expect the FBI to cross-examine each of those who have already submitted statements?
      The refusal to comply with the request from Sen. Grassley for the therapist’s notes is another complication.
      It appears from Grassley’s Oct. 5 letter that neither the FBI nor the Senate Judiciary Committe had access to those records.
      Do you expect them to only consider the parts of those records that Ford selectively submitted to the Washington Post in an investigation?
      Under the circumstances, Feinstein was lucky to have delayed the confirmation vote for as long as she did.
      The timing and fliminess of the allegations should have precluded the delays that actually did occur.

  3. EVERYONE IN TRUMP’S ORBIT HAS CONFLICTS

    No one can serve as a senior official in this administration without getting drawn into conflicts with either Trump or the rules of proper procedure. Trump himself has little regard for regular order. Therefore senior officials have to navigate a narrow no-man’s land between pleasing Donald Trump and observing established guidelines.

    Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross now faces a legal deposition concerning his attempt to insert a so-called ‘citizenship question’ in questionnaires for the 2020 Census. The U.S. Census Bureau falls under the jurisdiction of Ross’ Commerce Department. Ross ordered that questionnaires ask recipients if they are U.S. Citizens.

    Trump supporters may believe that the ‘Citizenship Question’ is entirely appropriate. But the concept of a census is to get accurate population counts. If vast numbers of Hispanics evade participation in the 2020 Census, then several states and cities could be grossly undercounted. The result would be a census whose numbers are widely disputed. Such a result would lead to endless litigation; rendering the census a totally worthless effort.

    Commerce Secretary Ross initially claimed that the Citizenship Question was not in any way motivated by politics. But it now appears that Ross was following orders from the White House. In other words the Citizenship question ‘was’, in fact, motivated by politics. Which illustrates the premise of this comment: senior officials in this administration invariably become conflicted by Trump’s disregard for order.

    1. Peter Hill – I find it to be a legitimate question. We really do need to know how many illegal aliens are in the country and where they are.

      1. They aren’t going to answer, Paul. Instead cities like L.A. Phoenix, Houston, New York and Chicago will wind up with ‘official populations’ much smaller than their real populations.

          1. Paul, the concept of a census count is unrelated to voting. It has nothing to do with who is and isn’t eligible to vote.

            The concept of a census count is to determine how many people inhabit a jurisdiction. That helps planners strategize for a wide range of needs. Police & Fire departments, Mass Transit, Trash Disposal and Social Service agencies all depend on accurate populations counts.

            Without accurate population counts cities like Los Angeles could be greatly short-changed with regards to government funding. And that’s precisely what Republicans seek: ‘cities greatly underfunded’. It’s part of a stupid, malicious plot to punish anyone in regions that don’t vote Republican.

            But the truth is that undocumented citizens are not unique to Blue States. Texas and Arizona have large populations of said people. And Paul, I believe you’re in Arizona. A Trumper like ‘you’ has no interest in seeing his state’s population undercounted for political purposes. How dumb can one get??

              1. Allan – I would posit that an illegal alien is not a “free person” as designated by the Constitution. Just as a tourist is not a “free person”. Since they are continually open to being deported, they are not “free.”

            1. Peter Hill – we were under represented in the last Census. They owe us two Representatives already. How many more will they owe us under the new system?

              1. Paul, Arizona should get as many representatives as it deserves.

                On the other hand, one might ask if Phoenix should be as big as it is. With Climate Change clearly playing out, the government should really encourage migration back to the Northeast and Midwest.

                1. Peter Hill – what Phoenix did under Mayor Margaret Hance, was to expand the borders of the City of Phoenix. Several cities and towns did this, except Tempe, who suddenly found themselves land-locked. Everyone else has space to grow. I lived in Phoenix when it was competing with San Diego over who was bigger. Now there is no contest. Eat our dust, San Diego. We love San Deigans, the rivalry is very friendly. 😉

                  1. Paul that’s funny. Lately I’ve been working with someone who has a condo on San Diego Harbor. And he was telling me how people from Phoenix flock their in the summer.

                    1. Peter Hill – L.A. is a madhouse, but SD is kicked back, more like Valley of the Sun, we are both in the desert. It is a nice, calm place to visit and destress for a week. And they have things like Balboa Park, which, if you are there for a week, each of the places is open for free, at least once. That does not include The Globe Theatre (which has three theatres) one of which is outside backing up to the lion cages of the world-famous San Diego Zoo. This allows the lions to roar at during the performance at non-specific times. I saw Moliere’s The Miser there and the lions just added to the fun. 😉 My sister saw King Lear on that stage and she said the lions really added to the production. The Globe should have paid for their food during the production, she said.

  4. 25 comments so far. 13 from Loony Late for Something. Turley should seriously consider raising her rent for running her blog on his site.

    1. FFS – we should be getting close to another 1 million mark and she wants to remain the numero uno commenter. 😉 Hence, all the garbage posts.

      1. I was number seven last time and number five the time before that. I’m confident that I will be number nine next time and possibly not even in the top ten. As for the time after the next time, it’s conceivable that L4D might retake the lead. But the competition will be stiff. I predict the imminent return of a great many lefty loons, as you all call us, beginning somewhere between Nov. 7th, 2018, and roughly Jan. 20th, 2019, as Mueller and his crew start bringing indictments against key members of the Trump campaign on charges of Conspiracy to Defraud the United States. My money is on Field Marshal Natacha for Numero Uno once the chickens come home to roost. Won’t that be fun for Pablito and Jitterbug Jitterbug Madre?

        1. L4Yoga enables David Benson, R. Lien and Marky Mark Mark – unless Natacha gets to take the award for her sock-puppets. I do not see it. However, you have been posting at a rather mad pace lately.

  5. Rosey says his ethics expert exonerated him. In today’s Alice in Wonderland world, that apparently counts for something. Where are the federal judges supposedly overseeing the grand jury of Mueller? They can’t see this farce. Bureaucrats mostly, I suppose.

    1. The written answers will be in the short-answer essay form. They will also put Trump’s lawyers on the hook for subornation of perjury in ways that would not have been the case had they allowed Trump to sit for a spoken-language, face-to-face interview with Mueller and his crew. Plus, there will be follow up questions–unless Trump’s lawyers resign en masse or refuse to submit Trump’s written answers to Mueller’s shop. Either or those last two options will be a major “tell”.

      1. Yawn. Trade war with China, maybe hot war, Brexit chaos, Saudi mischief, hurricanes, huge geopolitical risk, and you clowns keep on parsing these minute speculations. SAD!

  6. Turley wrote, “Second, Rosenstein was tying his continued oversight of the special counsel investigation to how aggressively or broadly Mueller might want to pursue the allegations. That can create a conflict for Mueller. Rosenstein plays a critical role in the scope of that investigation. Indeed, Mueller may be influenced in tailoring the investigation to effectively safeguard his principle defender from recusal or scrutiny.”

    [Sarcasm Alert]

    It’s so unfair! Trump doesn’t get to make it all about obstruction of justice. It’s so unfair. Mueller gets to make it all about conspiracy to defraud the United States. It’s so unfair. If it’s not about obstruction of justice, then Trump can’t fire Rosenstein without–you know–obstructing justice. It’s so unfair. If it’s all about conspiracy to defraud the United States, then Trump can’t use the pardon power without–you know–obstructing justice. It’s so unfair. If Mueller can’t be influenced in tailoring the investigation effectively to safeguard the interests of The POTUS, Trump, whom Mueller is investigating, then Trump has no legitimate excuse to fire Rosenstein so that Trump can get someone else who will either fire Mueller or influence Mueller in tailoring the investigation effectively to safeguard the interests of The POTUS, Trump. It’s so unfair.

  7. Turley wrote, “Unless Mueller has told Rosenstein that he does not consider obstruction to be a serious matter for criminal investigation in this context, it is difficult to see how Rosenstein can continue.”

    Turley also wrote, “Trump is being investigated by Mueller, and by extension Rosenstein, but has information that could be used to fire Rosenstein.”

    Notice the ambiguity in Turley’s second sentence cited above: Who has information that could be used to fire Rosenstein? Mueller? Or Trump? The answer to that question is critical to untangling the argument in Turley’s first sentence cited above. The implication is that, if Mueller already knows that he will bring a case for obstruction of justice against Trump, then Trump could fire Rosenstein for refusing to recuse himself. That, in turn, presupposes that Trump does not yet have the information Trump needs to fire Rosenstein; namely, whether or not Mueller intends to bring an obstruction of justice case against Trump. And that, in turn, yet again, goes directly to Turley’s argument about Rosenstein’s supposed conflict of interest.

    Turley’s lacuna [blind-spot] on Mueller’s case in chief–conspiracy to defraud the United States–is thereby revealed as the very thing that causes Turley’s argument about Rosenstein to remain twisted beyond all recognition. And here’s why: If Mueller brings a case of conspiracy to defraud the United States against Trump, then the firing of James Comey will hardly be the only reason for Mueller also to bring an obstruction of justice case against Trump. Conversely, if Mueller does not bring a case of conspiracy to defraud the United States against Trump, then there will be no remaining basis whatsoever for Mueller to bring an obstruction of justice case against Trump, instead. And that is how everyone should know by now, at least, that Mueller’s case-in chief against Trump has been conspiracy to defraud the United States from the moment Rosenstein appointed Mueller Special Counsel.

    On the odd chance that anyone still doesn’t believe it, consider the questions for which Trump and his lawyers are currently cobbling together written answers. They are all questions related to a case of conspiracy to defraud the United States. None of them are questions related to a case of obstruction of justice. Time to wake up, snap out of it and start paying attention to what’s really going on around here. Tick tock tick tock tick tock tick tock tick tock tick tock . . . whimper.

  8. If Republicans manage to hold the Senate, Trump should have a free hand to assemble a roster of new appointees and clean out the bad actors in the Department of Justice. If we’re fortunate Rosenstein, Mueller and his collection of Democratic Party donors, Christopher Wray, Wm. Priestap, and Bruce Ohr will be out on the curb in the next five months; the documents about which the Department has been stonewalling will be declassified and released via executive order; and pardons issued to the collection of people out of whom Mueller extorted guilty pleas to process crimes.

    Ideally, Trump would have legislation on deck to scarify the federal criminal code and to sort federal law enforcement between about eight departments and service corps. Included in that endeavour would be the dissolution of the FBI and it’s replacement with a half-dozen smaller agencies.

      1. Excerpted from the article linked above:

        The questions will focus solely on alleged collusion, not on the many times Trump may have obstructed justice during the investigation. That means no questions about the firing of former FBI Director James Comey . . .

      2. Trump in his own words, also excerpted from the article linked above:

        “Well, it seems ridiculous that I would have to do it when everybody says there’s no collusion, but I’ll do what is necessary to get it over with,” Trump said.

        Trump’s claim would be more relevant if everybody told him there was no conspiracy to defraud the United States.

    1. TTP: there could never be any “good actors” in any Trump Administration. That’s because he is fundamentally flawed and unfit for office due to emotional immaturity and need for personal aggrandizement. He wanted to be POTUS strictly for attention, power and perceived glory. He doesn’t understand that the head of the FBI and Justice Departments are not his personal private investigators or attorneys. They are not there to keep him in office and to punish his opponents, which he defines as anyone who doesn’t put him and his needs first. They don’t exist to help him evade taxes and to prevent having him and his family prosecuted for their crimes. Take a look at how many people have been fired or left on their own. The numbers are historic. Turley speaks of conflicts: what about the head of the EPA being against the very mission of that agency? Information about climate change was removed from the EPA’s website, because people in coal country voted for the rodeo clown, so we don’t want information about how burning coal pollutes air and water. How about the FDA’s Scientific Panel being disbanded? We don’t want any neutral scientists helping to decide what drugs and devises should be approved as safe for consumers. What about gutting the Consumer Protection Agency’s mission to help protect people from predatory loan and other money lending practices? The list goes on and on.

  9. Why don’t we throw the whole fascist trump crime family and their cohorts in GitMo to rot? Rosenstein can’t recuse because he knows he is the only protection the truth has. Impeach, imprison the fascist. Keep GitMo open for those that really belong there.

    1. Trump’s lawyers are about to find out the hard way just how many lies Trump has been telling them the whole way through. It will be a miracle if any of Trump’s lawyers actually submit Trump’s written answers to Mueller’s questions about conspiracy to defraud the United States. OTOH, Trump’s lawyers have an ethical obligation to defend their client to the best of their abilities. OTOH, Trump’s lawyers are not allowed to suborn perjury from their client. That leaves Trump’s lawyers with two options: resign or refuse to submit Trump’s written-answer perjuries to Mueller’s questions.

        1. I am certain that our expert on claiming “logical fallacies”, who employs logical fallacies herself (like the false dichotomy logical fallacy she just used), has an entire bag of logical fallacy labels she’ll trot out when she finds it expedient.

          1. Tom Nash said, “there may be other options not as obvious.”

            Such as Trump claiming executive privilege over his own recollections???

            Instead of answering “I don’t recall,” Trump answers, “I remember everything perfectly, but it’s all privileged.”

        2. OTOH, Trump could tell the truth. (Stranger things have happened.)
          OTOH, Trump could assert his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.
          OTOOH, Trump could answer “I don’t recall” to each and every last one of Mueller’s questions.
          OTOOOH, Mueller could already have testimony from almost any number of witnesses to impeach any or all of Trump’s answers–including, “I don’t recall”.

          1. L4B evidently forgot about the “thiamine deficiency/ I don’t recall” defense.
            How could “almost any number of witnesses impeach” Trump’s “I don’t recall, I had a thiamine deficiency😧” defense?
            After previously going on and on about “thiamine deficiencies” to “force” one of her theories to work, how could L4B now overlook the obvious thiamine deficiency defense?😔

            1. Trump claims to be a teetotaler. Never had a drop to drink. Consequently, Trump never had a hangover nor a brownout nor a blackout. Whatever memory impairment afflicts Trump can not to be due to excessive alcohol consumption. Unless Trump is lying about being a teetotaler, as well.

              Meanwhile, Trump has been given a written-answer, open-book, take-home test with private tutors checking his work before it is submitted. This necessarily means that Trump could take however much time he needs to refresh his memory by consulting almost any number of people or documents that might be relevant to the open-book test questions. Therefore, any answers of “I don’t recall” from Trump would be evasive or worse.

              Finally, Mueller has had two grand juries hearing boatloads of testimony from members of the Trump campaign, the Trump Transition Team, the Trump organization and the Trump administration. The White House is wont to ballyhoo the number of documents they’ve turned over to Mueller’s shop. The WH is also wont to complain about Mueller having obtained records from the Trump Transition Team. Mueller has also obtained beaucoup documents from Gates, Manafort, Andrew Miller and who knows who all else.

              Thusly, when Trump answers “I don’t recall” to Mueller’s questions, Mueller will have no trouble “refreshing Trump’s memory” the hard way.

              1. There are other causes of thiamine deficiencies; the fact that Trump does not drink does not mean that he could not be deficient in thaimine.
                L4B of all people should knows this, after repeatedly bringing up the “thiamine deficiency blackout” theory to suggest that Kavanaugh, as well as Mark Judge, could not remember assaulting Ford.
                This thiamine deficiency blackout theory would presumably have to include Ford’s friend Ms. Keyser as well, since she has no memory of the alleged gathering, and no memory of ever even meeting Kavanaugh.
                Since L4B stretched the limits of the thaimine deficiency bit to suggest that Kavanaugh was a drunk who blacked out, I thought I’d put a variation of her theory to work in another scenario ( i.e., the “I don’t remember” Trump defense).
                As fond as she was of that theory in the case of the Kavanaugh-Ford issue, I thought she’d appreciate the application😉 of that theory in the Mueller-Trump questioning issue.

                1. If you’ll recall, Kavanaugh never denied ever having experienced a blackout. Instead, Kavanaugh denied ever having “passed out”–as in losing consciousness–as a result of excessive consumption of alcohol. One can have an en bloc blackout without losing consciousness. Meanwhile, Mark Judge wrote a book about how frequently he experienced a “hangover” when a student at Georgetown Prep. Thiamine deficiency is the responsible causal agency for “hangover” as a result of excessive alcohol consumption. People who report en bloc blackout, or fragmentary brownout, routinely report having had a hangover in conjunction with their blackout or brownout. Had anyone bothered to ask Kavanaugh whether, or how often, he had experienced a hangover while a student at Georgetown Prep, the thiamine-deficiency theory of Kavanaugh’s en bloc blackout would have been harder to deny with lawyer talk about never having lost consciousness as a result of excessive consumption of alcohol.

                  P. S. If Trump is taking medication that lists temporary memory impairment as a side effect, then Trump could stop taking that medicine long enough to answer Mueller’s questions with something more responsive than “I don’t recall”.

                  1. L4Yoga enables David Benson, R. Lien and Marky Mark Mark – you know so little about this issue that you should be locked in a closet for the safety of everyone involved. Have you ever made love to the porcelain god? How many times in high school or college did you drink to the point of passing out? I want to hear some personal experience here.

              2. L4Yoga enables David Benson, R. Lien and Marky Mark Mark – I think Trump should be handled the same way as Hillary, not put under oath and handled with kid gloves. The report written two months in advance.

                1. Giuliani has already written a counter-report to Mueller’s final report. Unfortunately for Trump, Giuliani doesn’t get to write Mueller’s final report. And Mueller won’t write his own final report until Trump returns written answers to Mueller’s questions. And Mueller will not accept Giuliani’s counter-report as a substitute for Trump’s written answers to Mueller’s questions. And Giuliani will almost certainly have to do a complete and total rewrite on his counter-report once Rudy takes a gander at Trump’s written answers to Mueller’s questions. And the results of Giuliani’s complete and total rewrite of his counter-report might easily become no counter-report at all.

          2. Yes, Trump could “pull a Hillary” and answer “I don’t recall” –just as she did during her FBI interview. She also used her concussion as an excuse for not remembering or understanding classification markings or briefings/trainings she was given re classifed material handling.

            Hillary didn’t “lie” – she just couldn’t “recall” in response to some 40 FBI questions. And then hours later she was flying on Air Force One with President Obama to a campaign rally where Obama rallied on her behalf. Sure thing Hillary. Sure thing.

            1. The comment marked “Anonymous” responding to L4B’s thiamine deficiency comment was mine, but it was label Anonymous.- Tom Nash

      1. L4Yoga enables David Benson, R. Lien and Marky Mark Mark – I have seen Trump cross-examined before. He can handle himself. His problem is that he gets off topic. With the written questions he and his lawyers can stay on topic.

      2. well they just dismissed most of Stormy’s case against him so whatever you say Ms./Mr “Late” …. werent you clowns telling us how that would “Take him down!” a couple months ago? LOLZ

          1. Allan says that a coin toss can be right. Allan neglects to mention about what, exactly, a coin toss might be right. Most likely because the coin is still up in the air; such that, Allan has not yet any idea whatsoever about what the coin toss might someday be right. Poor Allan. Maybe if you increase the number and depth of the crow’s feet around your eyelids whilst you fervently pray for the coin toss to be right, you might yet get your wish, Allan. Or not. Poor Allan.

            1. As I stated a coin toss has better odds of being right than Diane. Moreover, even the lowest valued coin has some worth.

            2. i don’t get that remark, late, but don’t bother explaining. i will just assume you are smarter than me and i am too obtuse, being a Trumper and all that.

              1. TBob,
                – When someone mentions the accuracy of coin toss in comparison to something else, it is generally understood by most people to mean that the odds of correctly calling heads or tails are 50/50.
                L4B decided to pretend that the coin is somehow magically suspended “up in the air” for an an indeterminate period of time to muddle the 50/50 comparison.
                “Muddying the waters” is what she does, as one of her favorite games.
                She likes to take a relatively straightforward comment by others, recycle that statement, then twist it like a pretzel to the point where she’s satisfied with the degree of distortion.

              2. TBOB,..
                You were wise to tell her “don’t bother explaining”.
                That might save us from one of her sidetrips involving thousands of words and hours of “explanations”.😧

  10. Why don’t we just throw the whole Obama Coup D’etat Gang in prison and “move on?”

    To wit,

    Sessions, Rosenstein, Mueller/Team, Comey, McCabe, Strozk, Page, Kadzic, Yates, Baker, Bruce Ohr, Nellie Ohr, Priestap, Kortan, Campbell, Steele, Simpson, Joseph Mifsud*, Stefan “The Walrus” Halper, Kerry, Hillary, Huma, Brennan, Clapper, Farkas, Power, Lynch, Rice, Jarrett, Obama et al.

    * Joseph Mifsud cannot be located, unfortunately.

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