Rosenstein Slams McCabe, Obstruction Theories, and “1000 Former Prosecutors”

Screen Shot 2020-06-03 at 11.31.11 AMYesterday, we did our first live blogging on a hearing with former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.  There was a lot of broken china after the hearing was over. Indeed, the most interesting aspect was that some of the greatest damage for the Democratic narrative occurred during ill-considered questions from Sen. Mazie Hirono (D., HI) who elicited a series of answers supporting the Trump Administration and the purpose of further hearings.  Rosenstein ultimately supported the need for further investigations into FBI misconduct, supported the Durham investigation, categorically dismissed claims that Trump committed obstruction of justice, and most importantly stated that he would not have signed off on the continued surveillance under the FISA for Carter Page if he knew the truth about claims of Russian collusion.  That was just a few of the highlights.  He also dismissed objections from former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe and the “1000 prosecutors” who were so widely cited as claiming that there was clear criminal conduct by Trump.

The most important moment came at the beginning of Rosenstein’s testimony when he acknowledged that there were serious flaws and misconduct involved in the Russian investigation and that, if he knew then what he knows now, he would have put a stop to it, including refusing to sign off on the continued of the FISA surveillance on Page.

He also repeated said in contradiction to the Democratic senators that he believed that there was a need for further investigation and that much more needs to be known about what occurred, including the source of “disinformation” in the Steele dossier and whether Steele was used by Russian intelligence and other sources for nefarious purposes.

On the investigation of U.S. Attorney John Durham, Rosenstein repeatedly endorsed the need to look into the entire Russian investigation and added “Attorney General Barr is trusting US attorney Durham to do that. I think that’s a reasonable decision.”

Rosenstein also acknowledged that we still need to know more about the disinformation and that an investigation is warranted on the Steele dossier and other related issues:

John Cornyn: (01:00:50)
Mr. Rosenstein, it strikes me that Mr. Putin must be extraordinarily pleased with how this all played itself out. Not only was Hillary Clinton and her campaign disparaged, not only was President Trump and his campaign disparaged and put through what can only be described as hell for the last three-and-a-half years of an investigation, when in fact the source of some of the information that was used not only to secure a FISA warrant but to conduct a counterintelligence investigation, may in fact have been part of a Russian disinformation campaign. Does that concern you?

Rod Rosenstein: (01:01:33)
It concerns me very much, Senator. I’m in a bit of a disadvantage. As you know, I was in the job for only two years. I’ve been gone now for about 13 months, so I don’t have access to any information that’s been generated through the Durham investigation. I do not know what Attorney General Barr has discovered with regard to that, but I think it’s important, senators, for us to keep in mind that it is established, I believe, that Russia’s efforts included disparaging Hillary Clinton, as you said, that that doesn’t mean Russia is on the other candidate side. Russia is on Russia’s side. I think we should be just as concerned if there’s evidence that they were disparaging or attacking, trying to undermine President Trump as we were about their activities with regard to Secretary Clinton. I don’t know the answer to it, but I am concerned about it.

Rod Rosenstein: (01:02:45)
If I could just follow up on that. Senator, whether it’s Russian disinformation or other disinformation, I think the FBI needs to figure out where did it come from, why was it submitted and were any crimes committed. I think that’s an appropriate area of investigation. I just don’t know what the evidence reflects.

The questioning by Hirono was the Matinee moment. Hirono raised widely cited reports that Rosenstein thought Trump was so unstable that he considered wearing a wire and the removal of Trump under the 25th Amendment.  Rosenstein expressly and unequivocably denied those stories. He then supported Attorney General Barr in the determining that nothing in the Mueller report supported a criminal charge of obstruction, a view widely reported by legal experts on networks like CNN and MSNBC.

Hirono asked “did Attorney General Barr accurately present your view regarding the obstruction of justice … offense?” Rosenstein replied “Senator, I do not … believe that the evidence collected by the Special Counsel warrants prosecution of the president, that is correct.”

Thus, it was not just Barr but Rosenstein, who has been heralded by Democrats, who rejected the obstruction claim.

Hirono again interrupted him but Rosenstein persisted:

“I’m sorry, senator, that’s what I tried to answer the first time. The answer is yes, I do not believe that the president committed a crime that warrants prosecution. That’s the issue that we review as prosecutors, but-“

That is when Hirono cited the “1000 prosecutors” who signed a letter contradicting that conclusion. Many of those individuals supported other rejected claims of crimes.  Rosenstein body slammed the prosecutors and the use of such letters as some type of authoritative source. As Hirono tried to stop him, Rosenstein added that “no one” supported that view. Here is the exchange:

Rod Rosenstein: (02:29:06)
Well, senator, we have a lot more than 1,000 former DOJ prosecutors, and I don’t know whether all those people read the entire report or were familiar with all the evidence, but I was, and I believe Attorney General Barr has already explained his conclusion. Senator, I think it’s very important when we complete investigations, we reach conclusions, and the department either determines a case merits prosecution or it does not, and we determined that that case does not merit prosecution. Now, people are free to express contrary opinions, and because the report is probably-

Senator Hirono: (02:29:33)
I think I have to repeat myself again. I’ve read the Mueller report. They did not say that there was not enough evidence with regard to obstruction of justice.

Rod Rosenstein: (02:29:43)
[crosstalk 02:29:43]-

Senator Hirono: (02:29:43)
They [inaudible 02:29:43], and I disagree with Mueller. I don’t know why he didn’t come to the conclusion that there was actually enough evidence on the obstruction of justice issues but that they could not-

Mr. Chairman: (02:29:53)

Senator Hirono: (02:29:54)
… they could not indict the president. That part is really clear.

Mr. Chairman: (02:29:57)
Thank you. Thank you very much.

Rod Rosenstein: (02:29:58)
I think, senator-

Senator Hirono: (02:29:58)
Thank you.

Rod Rosenstein: (02:29:59)
… if I may explain-

Mr. Chairman: (02:29:59)
Thank you.

Rod Rosenstein: (02:29:59)
… Mr. Chairman.

Mr. Chairman: (02:30:00)
No. That’s good. That’s-

Rod Rosenstein: (02:30:01)
I think that’s unfair, senator, because the investigation was concluded. It was appropriately reviewed. No one recommended in favor prosecution, the Attorney General and I determined the prosecution was not warranted, and that is-

Rosenstein also reaffirmed his view that McCabe was not “candid” with him while trying to avoid a direct allegation of lying.

Rod Rosenstein: (26:58)
Well, I believed, Senator, that Mr. McCabe was not fully candid with me. He certainly wasn’t forthcoming. In particular, Senator, with regard to Mr. Comey’s memorandum of his interviews with the President and with regard to the FBI’s suspicions about the President, Mr. McCabe did not reveal those to me for at least a week after he became Acting Director despite the fact that we had repeated conversations focusing on this investigation. And for whatever reasons, Mr. McCabe was not forthcoming with me about that. He has subsequently said publicly in public comments he’s made about the investigation that his team had been leading up to certain important decisions for some time. From my perspective, Senator, they’d been conducting this investigation for, I believe, approximately nine months.

There was also this statement:

Senator Mike Lee: (01:19:27)
Thank you. Now, you indicated moments ago that Mr. McCabe did not lie to you, but you also acknowledged that he was not fully candid. What’s the difference?

Rod Rosenstein: (01:19:37)
Well, lying is when you ask somebody a direct question, you get a false answer. Candor is when you are forthcoming with information that somebody needs to know, and I believe, Senator, that Mr. McCabe should have recognized that when I became acting Attorney General, I needed to know about Mr. Comey’s memos. He didn’t understand that, and he did not tell that to me until a couple of hours before they showed up in the New York Times.

Senator Mike Lee: (01:20:04)
So what and when did he tell you about the Comey memos, and when should he have done that? And also, he waited for at least a week before telling you about some of the intel-related concerns? Weren’t you his boss?

Rod Rosenstein: (01:20:19)

Senator Mike Lee: (01:20:20)
And so he had an obligation to tell you.

Rod Rosenstein: (01:20:23)
I don’t know if he had a legal obligation, Senator, but my philosophy as a manager was that you have a responsibility to tell the boss things that you know they need to know.

Chairman Lindsey Graham then read an attack from McCabe and asked for a response. Rosenstein noted the McCabe did not reveal the information until just before an New York Times story hit.

“Lindsey Graham: (03:05:38)
“Mr. Rosenstein’s claim to have been misled by me or anyone from the FBI regarding our concerns about President Trump and the Trump campaign’s interactions with Russia are completely false. Mr. Rosenstein approved of and suggested ways to enhance our investigation of the president. Further, I personally brief Mr. Rosenstein on Jim Comey’s memos, describing his interactions with the president mere days after Mr. Rosenstein wrote the memo firing Jim Comey. Mr. Rosenstein’s testimony is completely at odds with the factual record, looks to be yet another sad attempt by the president and his men to rewrite the history of their actions in 2017. They have found in Mr. Rosenstein, then and now, a willing accessory in that effort.”

Lindsey Graham: (03:06:31)
Would you like to respond?

Rod Rosenstein: (03:06:32)
Yes. Thank you, Senator. I think one thing you need to appreciate, Senator, is that I had a very strong team working with me at the Department of Justice. I had some of the finest lawyers that I’ve ever met working with me at the Department of Justice. It was a team including Trump appointees, it included career people, I’m sure there were Republicans and Democrats and that’s why I’m confident, Senator, in what I did because I spoke with my team, not Mr. McCabe, I didn’t rely on Mr. McCabe, I spoke with my team about the actions that I was taking to make sure that they were appropriate. I did not say that Mr. McCabe misled me. Those were not my words, I think he’s responding to somebody’s question.

Rod Rosenstein: (03:07:10)
What I said was, he did not reveal the Comey memos to me for a week and that is true. And he revealed them to me only a couple of hours before they showed up in the New York Times. And he did not reveal to me that he was having internal deliberations with his team about whether to target very high profile people for investigation. And his position is he didn’t have to do that until after he had signed off on it. And that may be true under the rules as they were written at the time. But my view, Senator, was that’s the kind of thing that I needed to know. And so I haven’t accused him of making misstatements to me, I’ve simply said that he wasn’t fully forthcoming. And I think that’s accurate and I’m confident, Senator, that the folks who work with me will back me up on that.”

McCabe’s attack of course ignores that career investigators and attorneys recommended his firing for repeatedly lying to them. The Inspector General referred his case for possible criminal charges. In a glaring contradiction to the Flynn case, McCabe was never charged.

Here is the full transcript: Rosenstein testimony

59 thoughts on “Rosenstein Slams McCabe, Obstruction Theories, and “1000 Former Prosecutors””

  1. Reminder that Rosenstein is a Republican appointed by Trump. Mueller is also a Republican. Barr is a Trump loving Republican. The Republican Senators asking questions to get Rosenstein to agree with them are Republicans. Comey was a Republican, the current FBI director as well. So forgive me if I do not take Republicans agreeing with Republicans about how terrible all this is to the Republican President very seriously.

    Now, when Bill Clinton was investigated, he has the far right Republican Ken Starr looking into his case. There was no investigate the investigators after he was kept in office by the Senate.

    1. You’ve just given yourself a complete education on the character and insidious nature of a RINO.

      Oh, and it is usual and customary for investigations to go poorly for the guilty and well for the innocent.

      Enjoy your PhD.

    2. You’re all sorts of wrong – Rosenstein is a hillary clijnton fanboy – his wife is their top lawyer.
      DOJ chooses FBI heads list – so Trump is stuck with their CYA garbage.

      1. You’re all sorts of wrong – Rosenstein is a hillary clijnton fanboy – his wife is their top lawyer.
        DOJ chooses FBI heads list – so Trump is stuck with their CYA garbage.
        nevertheless, it can’t be denied that Rosenstein and Mueller were working to help Trump get reelected.

        That will be the end result and that is how it was planned from the start. What do you suppose Trump, Mueller and Rosenstein discussed in their secret meeting the day before it was announced that Mueller would be named Special Counsel?
        The idea always was to make it look like Trump was doing mortal combat with a powerful deep state opponent and in the end Trump would triumph.

        Its called Kayfabe.

    3. I note none of your other republicans get the “trump loving” moniker.
      Rosenstein is a hillary lover.
      Mueller is a cover up criminal from 911 – cover all the gov stooges who blew it.

      “Barr is a Trump loving Republican.”
      Barr, what Barr results in remains to be seen, but so far Barr is a pushover for the coup cabal.

      We heard the same crap about Mueller and Rosenstein, the 2 coup cabal plotters and main black chess pieces. One launches the plot to attack for 2+ years, the other takes the roost in name only and hands it over to the most corrupt republican hating tribesman in DC they could find, Weissman.

      Stick it where you’re clueless. In your brain.

  2. There’s no “contradiction” with McCabe. Top Dems can lie, like Sec. Clinton lied and lied about her server, like Obama lied about keeping your doctors, like McCabe lied, and Comey lied; and Rosenstein is lying here (speaking words that are untrue which he knows are untrue. Tho he’s pretty sure there is no proof showing they are untrue, they are still lies.)

    But any Rep who is targeted will be fully indicted, and tried, for lying. Sometimes even when they’re not lying, because the Dem Deep State is full of criminals. Folk who illegally abuse their power and obstruct justice.

    Rosenstein knew the Steele Dossier was bogus, and knew the FISA warrants were crap, and signed off on the last of the four, even AFTER Nunes publicized the truth.

  3. We saw recently that Christopher Wray just learned that there might be something wrong in the FBI and he has ordered an investigation to see what it might be.

    I am sure it will be thorough and set everything just right.

    I can picture him going desk to desk and office to office. “Everything good here?” “Just fine boss!”

          1. Olly– By gosh, you are right. Or maybe a search for who ate the ice cream like Captain Queeg’s search in The Caine Mutiny.

              1. Paul- That’s right, strawberries! I misremembered. Must have been thinking of ice cream. Thanks.

          1. “bythebook says:June 4, 2020 at 9:50 PM
            To pacify the Liar in Chief.”

            No idea to whom you’re responding or what was said, and it’s a pain…to try to trace things back to the original comment, book.

            1. In answer to Young asking why Wray was investigating, since the IG just did this and produced a detailed report.

        1. Wray is investigating patriots who don’t comport well with the Communist, Deep Deep State, One World Government’s Future.

          Wray is letting the bad guys get away.

          It’s gonna be tough for “Deputy John” Durham to take down Christopher “Son of Mr. Deep Deep State” Wray – he’s a “model” functionary.

          Pancho and Lefty

          “All the Federales say, they could’ve had him any day
          They only let him go so long, out of kindness I suppose

          “A few gray Federales say, they could’ve had him any day
          They only let him go so long, out of kindness I suppose”

      1. IGs ask the criminals if they are guilty, there’s no swearing and no consequences, so that report is the whitewash, as IG reports always are, not that it doesn’t contain proof of hundreds of felonies, it does.

        That’s not it’s goal. It’s goal is to coddle everyone and believe all the lies, so that it can recommend how to lie better in the future and change the plots and mechanisms so that a cover up is more adequate and not detected post hence.

        1. Shakdi,
          FISC is also supposed to be a layer of security to prevent abuse. And yet it was defrauded in one major case on multiple occasions. Where was Horrowitz in 2016, 2017? The IG’s appear to function like a reporter being sent into an area after a tornado hit, instead of like the tornado chasers.

  4. George…all those names you mentioned would look wonderful in orange jumpsuits herded down Pennsylvania Ave as President Trump heads toward the White House to begin his second term as our President…and as those criminals head toward federal prison and historically recorded shame on their names forever.

  5. OT:

    General James Mattis, General John Allen, General Mark Milley et al. are “MILITARY.” President Dwight Eisenhower admonished America regarding the power and proclivities of the “MILITARY/INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX.” America understands and grasps fully, Generals, that you are of the Military/Industrial, Deep Deep State, One-World, Global Communist Complex. While it may serve you, at some point, to establish your patriotism, which is dubious, to the U.S. Constitution, you never need to demonstrate to America that which you actually are – the military/industrial complex. America knows, Generals. America knows. America has its eyes on you, Generals.

    1. OT:

      “Mr. Johnson, tear down this wall.”

      Reparations – African-Americans should righteously receive $4 trillion in reparations, right after Americans receive a check for the $22 trillion spent on the “War on Poverty” since 1965 and the entire communist American welfare state is demolished. Oh, and “Poverty” won, by the way.

      1. Yes, I want my $88,000.00 portion of the 22 trillion, and all the illegals deported.

        Formerly it was just ordered by the POTUS, as was the law.

        Then we got dumbed down and destroyed by Ted Kennedy hart-cellar act.

        That piece of legislation will bring our nations destruction. We see it coming. It’s getting stronger, and no chanting that diversity is strength will change that.

  6. The Obama Coup D’etat in America is the most egregious abuse of power and the most prodigious criminal act in American political history.

    The co-conspirators are:

    Bill Taylor, Eric Ciaramella, Rosenstein, Mueller/Team, Andrew Weissmann, Comey,
    Christopher Wray, McCabe, Strozk, Page, Laycock, Kadzic, Yates, Baker, Bruce Ohr,
    Nellie Ohr, Priestap, Kortan, Campbell, Sir Richard Dearlove, Steele, Simpson,
    Joseph Mifsud, Alexander Downer, Stefan “The Walrus” Halper, Azra Turk, Kerry,
    Hillary, Huma, Mills, Brennan, Gina Haspel, Clapper, Lerner, Farkas, Power, Lynch,
    Rice, Jarrett, Holder, Brazile, Sessions (patsy), Nadler, Schiff, Pelosi, Obama,
    James E. Boasberg et al.

  7. How does Turley have the time to write articles when he has to be so busy working getting people out of jail who admitted they were guilty?

    1. How many people confessed guilt to the Nazis or ISIS?

      How many of Reichsmarschall Weissmann’s “Enron” convictions against innocent people and corporate interests were summarily thrown out on appeal?

      Thank you for taking the time to display your extraordinarily superior intellect.

  8. FBI needs to quit surveilling and harassing lawful candidates and get to work on law enforcement.

    They should earn their pay and do their job and root out the terrorist riot organizers of ANTIFA

    and whomever is funding them. and confiscate the asset from which flow income to the antifa organizers to conduct their “training” in violence and riot

    If the Democratic party wants to preserve the right of peaceful protesters to freely assemble and redress grievances, as all people of goodwill should desire, then those who abuse freedom to commit crime and violence must be investigated, detained, tried, and incarcerated, or taken out of commission by summary actions, if those means are unavailable.

    this is the basic job of government: preserve law and order

    1. Kurtz, I agree completely. I just have my doubts that the FBI is up to the job. Even if they did great work there would always be the lingering suspicion that they are hiding something, protecting some loathesome creature, or preparing to perpetrate more crimes. They are like the Praetorian Guard in the time of Constantine, too strong and too often proven to be disloyal. He abolished them and Rome was safer for it. Abolish the FBI. It is our Praetorian Guard and it is inherently too dangerous to continue in its present form.

      1. Yes, of course. Then there can be a special police and investigative force loyal only to the President.


        1. “Then there can be a special police and investigative force loyal only to the President.”

          Obama had one. The FBI.

  9. I’m remembering Alexander Haig taunting George Bush (“Were you in the cockpit, or in an economy ride in the back of the plane?”).

    Rosenstein’s too practiced at bureaucratic maneuver and lawyerly legerdemain to say anything anyone can use to nail him. He’s not lying, though you have to have a keen mind in reading what he says to spot where he may be misleading you. Leave that to lawyers. The rest of us don’t have the training and experience.

    Let’s posit Rosenstein’s testimony tells us his assessment of what he has to do to limit his exposure to legal liability and career damage. Which in turn tells you his sense of who can be pinned with the blame. Which in turns tells you who is dirty enough to leave footprints. It’s McCabe.

    The best thing about Hirono is that she hasn’t as much ‘g’ as upChuck Schumer, so the crooked wench makes mistakes which can be turned against the Democratic Party of Crime.

  10. Muller received a conflict of interest waiver? Third scope memo? Nobody knew Carter Page went to Annapolis and worked in intelligence while in the Navy? Horrowitz report stated the CIA informed them in SEPTEMBER 2016!!!! Names of his brilliant incompetent staff? To paraphrase. Not only improper bias or behaviour but THE VERY APPEARANCE of POSSIBLE BIAS !!!!! Was there even one non partisan or conflicted lawyer on Miller’s team? (seriously conflicted Muller as in operation Hammer etc). I didn’t learn anything from the Senate that wasn’t known before!!!

  11. Rosenstein is lying big time. He is going to skate. They all are. There may be the odd indictment. Convictions? Not going to happen. Sickening.

  12. The public has been lead to believe that science works by counting experts. The public can be sold if 1000 lawyers agree it must be so. They’re experts, y’know. The facts don’t matter.

  13. I think the last statement you make in your article. That McCabe has not been charged for his offenses. It is probably more likely McCabe (and the other corrupt people) have not been charged YET. Probably Durham and perhaps others are gathering evidence to charge him (and others) once they have enough evidence to thoroughly convict him.

  14. What do numbers signify?

    If they are

    They are automatically suspect.

    The million man march was far less

    100,000 cops counted replacing the heavy cut in federal agencies such as DEA which had to be replaced

    10,000 and one thousand just means it’s a throw away and meaningless

    Then check the source. If No Source or from untrustworthy sources such as WaPo or NYT coupled with those easy to grasp numbers it’s another DNC propaganda piece.

    Automatically the numbers signify the the truth of the Universal Empty Field Law aka Socialists.

  15. So Rosenstein acted out what the Mueller report said: that indicting a sitting president was off the table from the beginning.

    And that makes your job easier, Professor. Sign of a a solid gamesman. Only make the bets that have a good (in this case, certain) chance of succeeding. And being the Trump administration spokeman that you are, my god, pat yourself on the back…, there’s not been a much tougher job anywhere, gotta give you that.

    Not a fan of what you’re doing…, but that doesn’t matter. I am a fan of someone who can strategically push a bowling ball through a straw every single weekday, three blog posts at a time. Hey, I was a basketball coach who for 15 years coached undermanned teams to a whole bunch of victories and a couple championships while playing for several others. Respect. Anyone who can do so much, with so little, deserves a tip of the cap.

    Kinda wish you’d lose the, “I’ve spoken in the past strongly against (fill in the blank)….” schtick before spending the entire post decimating the position you’re supposedly for though. Part of the set up, I guess. The fact I don’t buy it doesn’t mean Trump’s 35 percenters on this blog don’t.

    Solid work.

  16. Some pretty interesting drama there. While Prof. Turley could do this on his own, it would be beneficial to team up with Michael Connelly and create a Hieronymous Bosch-type lawyer to delve into the recent FBI and DOJ shenanigans. You would not have to invent too much.

  17. We all, sadly anticipate that nothing will come of the mounds of evidence against an entire crew of political miscreants simply because the leviathan otherwise known as the bureaucracy, is too big to fail. I say burn it to the ground and start anew.

    1. Unfortunately Alma, our system is only as strong as the weakest link in it…the People. And those people are trying to burn it to the ground.

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