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Twelve points to keep in mind on the NYT’s Rosenstein ‘wear a wire’ and invoke 25th Amendment story

Twelve points to keep in mind on the NYT’s Rosenstein ‘wear a wire’ and invoke 25th Amendment story

As the old joke has it, “close doesn’t count, except in horseshoes and hand grenades,” so we can take it for granted that President Trump was certainly the main target, damaging his credibility and prospects for remaining in office, but Rod Rosenstein no doubt has been hit by shrapnel.  

We are only getting started on figuring out what this really means, but here are ten points to keep in mind,

1. The New York Times is comfortable exposing deep state resistance to Trump.

The idea that members of the federal bureaucracy are deliberately sabotaging and working to oust a duly elected president of the United States has been dismissed as a conspiracy theory by all sorts of mainstream media outlets and purported fact-checkers. But first with its publication of an anonymously-written op-ed, and now with this story, the Times is eager to admit the resistance and celebrate it, presumably because it thinks the end is nearing for the Trump presidency.

2. Memos written by Andrew McCabe and Lisa Page were at least part of the basis for the report.

Given the fact that McCabe has been fired and has been referred by the DOJ’s Inspector General for criminal prosecution, there may be self-protection motives in releasing them to the leading journalistic opponent of Trump’s presidency.

3. Rod Rosenstein’s denials are lawyerly and self-contradictory

Rosenstein’s first denial:

"I will not further comment on a story based on anonymous sources who are obviously biased against the department and are advancing their own personal agenda. But let me be clear about this: Based on my personal dealings with the president, there is no basis to invoke the 25th Amendment.”

This actually does not deny the specifics of the report. Later in the day, Rosenstein contradicted the first sentence of his statement and issued a second denial that also does not directly contradict what was reported:

 "I never pursued or authorized recording the President and any suggestion that I have ever advocated for the removal of the President is absolutely false."

4. NBC News – of all Trump-hating sources – claimed it was sarcasm, based on an anonymous source

Could Rosenstein have been the source?

5. One of the NYT reporters doubled down and says it was not sarcasm:

Mediaite:

Speaking to CNN’s Jake Tapper on Friday, Goldman — one of the two reporters who wrote the Times bombshell — said as far as he was concerned, it was not a flippant remark.

“You know, my understanding of what happened is that this wasn’t a flippant remark,” Goldman said. “And he was, in fact, very serious. And the circumstances in which it was described to me are different now than what’s being put out I guess by the government.”

6. The report probably was a set-up to provoke Rosenstein’s firing, to be used as a basis for impeachment for obstruction of justice

As the official who appointed Robert Mueller and supervises his investigation, Rosenstein is the key player in the investigation, able to rein it in or give it unlimited scope in subject, budget, and time.

Last night at a rally in Springfield, MO, President Trump obliquely hinted that there may more people – presumably including Rosenstein, leaving their jobs:

President Trump hinted Friday that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein may not be working at the Department of Justice much longer.

During a campaign rally in Springfield, Missouri, Trump suggested that about “95 percent” of people at the Department of Justice and the FBI supported him, “but you’ve got some real bad ones,” pointing out that at the FBI “they’re all gone.”

“But there’s a lingering stench and we’re going to get rid of that too,” Trump proclaimed.

But one way to avoid a firing that could lead to impeachment would be for Rosenstein to resign, as some are already urging him to do.

7. Rosenstein is also the key figure in the process of releasing the unredacted FISA warrant and text messages that President Trump has demanded be given to the public in unredacted form.

President Trump’s demand comes after extended stonewalling, based on the contention that sources and methods and other key aspects of our intelligence operations would be exposed and harmed.  Devin Nunes, chair of the House Intelligence Committee who has seen the unredacted documents, denies this, and attributes the delay and redactions to self-preservation on the part of officials who would be embarrassed. Retired FBI agent Mark Wauck and Sundance of Conservative Treehouse believe that the leak was timed to pressure Rosenstein to continue the stonewall.

8. Trump suddenly reversed himself and urges caution, citing “key allies” and “perceived negative impact on the Russia Probe:

Sundance points out that the meeting with the DoJ almost certainly means a meeting with Rosenstein. Was Trump warning Rosenstein that the Mueller probe is illegitimate and will be exposed, or did Rosenstein say something to Trump that caused him to modify his insistence on immediate disclosure? I have no idea.

The “key allies” lobbying against release almost certainly are the U.K. and Australia, both of which would be embarrassed by the roles of their diplomats and intelligence agencies, which are implicated in the Steele dossier and the set-up of George Papadopoulos. Did they threaten to release information in their possession that could embarrass Trump?  We have no way of knowing. Nor do we know who in the governments of the key allies lobbied Trump, but it is a reasonable speculation that the heads of government of both countries personally called President Trump.

President Trump touched on this last night, speaking to Sean Hannity just before his Missouri rally:

9. McCabe and Page memos leaked to the NYT apparently were withheld from IG Horowitz

Sundance picked up the implication:

The bigger revelation here is how someone, some unknown FBI officials, kept the McCabe  memos from congress and subsequently from a previous internal INSD investigation of McCabe.

According to the New York Times the memos were given to Special Counsel Robert Mueller, and a copy kept inside the FBI.  This friendly custody process ultimately kept those memos from Inspector General Michael Horowitz who wrote an entire 2018 IG report on McCabe without having that 2017 documentary evidence for citation.

10. Rosenstein considered another Trump-hating person, aside from Mueller, as special counsel

Daniel Chaitin in the Washington Examiner:

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein reportedly considered appointing an ex-Justice Department official who worked as a lawyer for Clinton ally Sidney Blumenthal to be the special counsel in charge of the Russia investigation.

The New York Times published a bombshell report Friday focused largely on talk of secretly recording Trump and invoking the 25th Amendment to the Constitution to oust the president. In a statement, Rosenstein dismissed the story as being "inaccurate and factually incorrect."

Buried deep within the report, centered on the fallout in the days after President Trump fired FBI Director James Comey in May 2017, three sources said Rosenstein thought about appointing James Cole to the role later given to Robert Mueller, himself a former FBI director.

11. The NYT Report comes on the heels of Dem half of Gang of Eight letter asking Rosenstein to obstruct release of declassified unreacted documents

In this Sept. 18 letter from the 4 Democrats briefed on intelligence matters as half of of the “Gang of Eight” members of Congress, Nancy Pelosi, Adam Schiff, Chuck Schumer and Mark Warner, a startling admission was confessed to:

One June 27, 2018, we wrote again to memorialize the verbal assurance you provided us that DoJ and FBI would not provide the White House or any of the President's attorneys with access to sensitive information briefed to a small group of designated Members [emphasis added]

Mark Wauck explains:

In effect the "request" by the Gang of Eight Democrats amounts to a demand that Wray and Rosenstein openly choose sides. In place of the "slow walk" strategy of documentary release that has so frustrated Congressional Republican, Wray and Rosenstein are being "requested" to openly side with the minority party by defying a Presidential order. There is a carrot and a stick attached to this request. The stick, of course, is that if the much ballyhooed "Blue Wave" makes landfall in the US and Wray and Rosenstein haven't cooperated with the current minority, then the full fury of the new Democrat majority would be unleashed against them. The carrot is the fact that neither Wray nor Rosenstein are in good graces with President Trump. Presumably that new Democrate majority would protect Wray and Rosenstein from an enraged President Trump–if they've cooperated. By revealing publicly the fact that Wray and Rosenstein may have been colluding with the Democrats in an attempt to thwart what President Trump sees as a "crowning achievement" of his presidency–cleaning up the corruption of the FBI–the Democrats are clearly attempting to muscle Wray and Rosenstein into open opposition to Trump. They have shown their gratitude to them by placing them directly in the path of a bus named Donald J. Trump.

12. Trump now trusts IG to report before election and release unredacted documents that DoJ has been stonewalling

In the Presidential tweets seen above, Trump says that “the Inspector General has been asked to review these documents on an expedited basis. I believe he will move quickly on this (and hopefully other things which he is looking at).

Given the leisurely pace at which the IG reports have appeared, why does Trump believe that speedy release will result? Has he spoken with IG Horowitz?

In any event, Trump added “I can always declassify if it proves necessary.” This seems to be a prod directed at Horowitz.

The New York Times lobbed a hand grenade yesterday, with its story claiming:

The deputy attorney general, Rod J. Rosenstein, suggested last year that he secretly record President Trump in the White House to expose the chaos consuming the administration, and he discussed recruiting cabinet members to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove Mr. Trump from office for being unfit.

As the old joke has it, “close doesn’t count, except in horseshoes and hand grenades,” so we can take it for granted that President Trump was certainly the main target, damaging his credibility and prospects for remaining in office, but Rod Rosenstein no doubt has been hit by shrapnel.  

We are only getting started on figuring out what this really means, but here are ten points to keep in mind,

1. The New York Times is comfortable exposing deep state resistance to Trump.

The idea that members of the federal bureaucracy are deliberately sabotaging and working to oust a duly elected president of the United States has been dismissed as a conspiracy theory by all sorts of mainstream media outlets and purported fact-checkers. But first with its publication of an anonymously-written op-ed, and now with this story, the Times is eager to admit the resistance and celebrate it, presumably because it thinks the end is nearing for the Trump presidency.

2. Memos written by Andrew McCabe and Lisa Page were at least part of the basis for the report.

Given the fact that McCabe has been fired and has been referred by the DOJ’s Inspector General for criminal prosecution, there may be self-protection motives in releasing them to the leading journalistic opponent of Trump’s presidency.

3. Rod Rosenstein’s denials are lawyerly and self-contradictory

Rosenstein’s first denial:

"I will not further comment on a story based on anonymous sources who are obviously biased against the department and are advancing their own personal agenda. But let me be clear about this: Based on my personal dealings with the president, there is no basis to invoke the 25th Amendment.”

This actually does not deny the specifics of the report. Later in the day, Rosenstein contradicted the first sentence of his statement and issued a second denial that also does not directly contradict what was reported:

 "I never pursued or authorized recording the President and any suggestion that I have ever advocated for the removal of the President is absolutely false."

4. NBC News – of all Trump-hating sources – claimed it was sarcasm, based on an anonymous source

Could Rosenstein have been the source?

5. One of the NYT reporters doubled down and says it was not sarcasm:

Mediaite:

Speaking to CNN’s Jake Tapper on Friday, Goldman — one of the two reporters who wrote the Times bombshell — said as far as he was concerned, it was not a flippant remark.

“You know, my understanding of what happened is that this wasn’t a flippant remark,” Goldman said. “And he was, in fact, very serious. And the circumstances in which it was described to me are different now than what’s being put out I guess by the government.”

6. The report probably was a set-up to provoke Rosenstein’s firing, to be used as a basis for impeachment for obstruction of justice

As the official who appointed Robert Mueller and supervises his investigation, Rosenstein is the key player in the investigation, able to rein it in or give it unlimited scope in subject, budget, and time.

Last night at a rally in Springfield, MO, President Trump obliquely hinted that there may more people – presumably including Rosenstein, leaving their jobs:

President Trump hinted Friday that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein may not be working at the Department of Justice much longer.

During a campaign rally in Springfield, Missouri, Trump suggested that about “95 percent” of people at the Department of Justice and the FBI supported him, “but you’ve got some real bad ones,” pointing out that at the FBI “they’re all gone.”

“But there’s a lingering stench and we’re going to get rid of that too,” Trump proclaimed.

But one way to avoid a firing that could lead to impeachment would be for Rosenstein to resign, as some are already urging him to do.

7. Rosenstein is also the key figure in the process of releasing the unredacted FISA warrant and text messages that President Trump has demanded be given to the public in unredacted form.

President Trump’s demand comes after extended stonewalling, based on the contention that sources and methods and other key aspects of our intelligence operations would be exposed and harmed.  Devin Nunes, chair of the House Intelligence Committee who has seen the unredacted documents, denies this, and attributes the delay and redactions to self-preservation on the part of officials who would be embarrassed. Retired FBI agent Mark Wauck and Sundance of Conservative Treehouse believe that the leak was timed to pressure Rosenstein to continue the stonewall.

8. Trump suddenly reversed himself and urges caution, citing “key allies” and “perceived negative impact on the Russia Probe:

Sundance points out that the meeting with the DoJ almost certainly means a meeting with Rosenstein. Was Trump warning Rosenstein that the Mueller probe is illegitimate and will be exposed, or did Rosenstein say something to Trump that caused him to modify his insistence on immediate disclosure? I have no idea.

The “key allies” lobbying against release almost certainly are the U.K. and Australia, both of which would be embarrassed by the roles of their diplomats and intelligence agencies, which are implicated in the Steele dossier and the set-up of George Papadopoulos. Did they threaten to release information in their possession that could embarrass Trump?  We have no way of knowing. Nor do we know who in the governments of the key allies lobbied Trump, but it is a reasonable speculation that the heads of government of both countries personally called President Trump.

President Trump touched on this last night, speaking to Sean Hannity just before his Missouri rally:

9. McCabe and Page memos leaked to the NYT apparently were withheld from IG Horowitz

Sundance picked up the implication:

The bigger revelation here is how someone, some unknown FBI officials, kept the McCabe  memos from congress and subsequently from a previous internal INSD investigation of McCabe.

According to the New York Times the memos were given to Special Counsel Robert Mueller, and a copy kept inside the FBI.  This friendly custody process ultimately kept those memos from Inspector General Michael Horowitz who wrote an entire 2018 IG report on McCabe without having that 2017 documentary evidence for citation.

10. Rosenstein considered another Trump-hating person, aside from Mueller, as special counsel

Daniel Chaitin in the Washington Examiner:

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein reportedly considered appointing an ex-Justice Department official who worked as a lawyer for Clinton ally Sidney Blumenthal to be the special counsel in charge of the Russia investigation.

The New York Times published a bombshell report Friday focused largely on talk of secretly recording Trump and invoking the 25th Amendment to the Constitution to oust the president. In a statement, Rosenstein dismissed the story as being "inaccurate and factually incorrect."

Buried deep within the report, centered on the fallout in the days after President Trump fired FBI Director James Comey in May 2017, three sources said Rosenstein thought about appointing James Cole to the role later given to Robert Mueller, himself a former FBI director.

11. The NYT Report comes on the heels of Dem half of Gang of Eight letter asking Rosenstein to obstruct release of declassified unreacted documents

In this Sept. 18 letter from the 4 Democrats briefed on intelligence matters as half of of the “Gang of Eight” members of Congress, Nancy Pelosi, Adam Schiff, Chuck Schumer and Mark Warner, a startling admission was confessed to:

One June 27, 2018, we wrote again to memorialize the verbal assurance you provided us that DoJ and FBI would not provide the White House or any of the President's attorneys with access to sensitive information briefed to a small group of designated Members [emphasis added]

Mark Wauck explains:

In effect the "request" by the Gang of Eight Democrats amounts to a demand that Wray and Rosenstein openly choose sides. In place of the "slow walk" strategy of documentary release that has so frustrated Congressional Republican, Wray and Rosenstein are being "requested" to openly side with the minority party by defying a Presidential order. There is a carrot and a stick attached to this request. The stick, of course, is that if the much ballyhooed "Blue Wave" makes landfall in the US and Wray and Rosenstein haven't cooperated with the current minority, then the full fury of the new Democrat majority would be unleashed against them. The carrot is the fact that neither Wray nor Rosenstein are in good graces with President Trump. Presumably that new Democrate majority would protect Wray and Rosenstein from an enraged President Trump–if they've cooperated. By revealing publicly the fact that Wray and Rosenstein may have been colluding with the Democrats in an attempt to thwart what President Trump sees as a "crowning achievement" of his presidency–cleaning up the corruption of the FBI–the Democrats are clearly attempting to muscle Wray and Rosenstein into open opposition to Trump. They have shown their gratitude to them by placing them directly in the path of a bus named Donald J. Trump.

12. Trump now trusts IG to report before election and release unredacted documents that DoJ has been stonewalling

In the Presidential tweets seen above, Trump says that “the Inspector General has been asked to review these documents on an expedited basis. I believe he will move quickly on this (and hopefully other things which he is looking at).

Given the leisurely pace at which the IG reports have appeared, why does Trump believe that speedy release will result? Has he spoken with IG Horowitz?

In any event, Trump added “I can always declassify if it proves necessary.” This seems to be a prod directed at Horowitz.

Published at Sat, 22 Sep 2018 05:00:00 +0000