Something happened on Monday.
According to a leaked document obtained by Axios, a memo prepared by Jeff Sessions showed that Rod Rosenstein was “on his way out the door” on Monday. Even more importantly, Rosenstein was to be replaced with …you know it, a Mueller critic, who would then be in charge of the investigation, in effect, Robert Mueller’s boss. The revelations come from a document leaked to Axios, as reported by Rawstory.
The statement itself is very straightforward as to what was to happen:
“Rod Rosenstein has served the Department of Justice with dedication and skill for 28 years. His contributions are many and significant. We all appreciate his service and sincerely wish him well.”
“Matt Whitaker, my Chief of Staff for the last year, will instill confidence and uphold the integrity of the Department as the second highest law enforcement officer in the Nation. Finally, I am confident that Noel Francisco will oversee the special counsel with a commitment to justice as Acting Attorney General for this matter. As I have said before, the American people deserve an expeditious resolution of this investigation consistent with the rule of law.”
Where to begin? First, I am a little familiar with “the rule of law,” and I do know that there is no right to, nor expectation of, an “expeditious” anything. Indeed, if the rule of law ensures anything, it is that law enforcement can take whatever time it needs to ensure their investigation is secure and based on facts that either demonstrate no crime took place or that a crime must be prosecuted. “Speed” has no role regarding pressure on law enforcement.
Well, that and the American people deserve an investigation that is complete, period. No one who isn’t a Trump lackey believes that there needs to be an end date, or limited period, like a basketball game, by which the investigation must be done. No, we want an investigation that Mueller, one of the best prosecutors in the world, states; “We have investigated the matter fully and stand by our findings.” That is it, that’s what we “deserve.”
So, what happened, why is Rosenstein still on the job?
The decision got punted down the road until Thursday, possibly to take the measure of the political fallout of such a move. On Thursday, Trump is to sit down with Rosenstein and discuss the matter. Good luck there, Rod.
But it is not his fault. Jesus Christ as a Special Agent, Rosenstein was so obviously joking around. There is no chance, none, that he seriously entertained the idea of wearing a wire to speak with Trump, and it is just so obvious that the New York Times should be shamed into a week-long timeout. Mother Times has been invaluable on many issues, but on this one, they got played by the Trump fanatics and lost their damn minds.
That is not my reporting, that is the reporting of just about every friggin news organization that is not the New York Times!
So, what happens Thursday? Likely, Trump fires Rosenstein. Again, a giant “thanks” to the Times. But, it is critical that the final decision be that Rosenstein is fired. If Rosenstein steps down on his own, Trump can move any official that has been cleared by the Senate for another job into the Deputy A.G. position, any of them. But, if Rosenstein holds his ground and forces Trump to fire him, then the new appointee must be approved by the Senate, and such approval might take place after November when there is a question as to who even controls the Senate.
I give Rosenstein a 10% chance of surviving his meeting with Trump still in his job. That being said, even a Trump friendly man like Noel Francisco cannot completely protect Trump. No, Mueller is a little too wily to allow that to happen. Undoubtedly, Mueller has sealed indictments ready to be opened if an announcement comes down impacting his investigation (because firing Mueller would not automatically stop the investigation). Additionally, have no doubt that Mueller has spread information regarding his findings throughout various U.S. Attorney’s offices in several different districts, allowing independent U.S. Attorneys to prosecute the matter.
These “time bombs” are surely in place, and Trump supporters in the White House and even at DOJ surely know. Therefore, there certainly would be some risk in unilaterally firing Mueller, or attempting to halt the investigation.
It could be why Rosenstein lived through Monday to fight another three days. Thursday will be “interesting” to say the least. Trump is going to pump Rosenstein for all kinds of information, holding his job over his head as “incentive” to talk. Man, if I were Rosenstein, I would sing like a bird, telling Trump all kinds of stuff related to the investigation, literally anything he asks. Except, everything I told him would be “sorta true” but worded such that Trump concludes the exact opposite of what I said. It can be done rather easily, and I am not even in the same galaxy as Rosenstein when it comes to legal manipulation and Jedi mind tricks.
So, stay tuned, it will be interesting, but certainly not definitive.