But what's the point in all this? I believe that, following so closely on the letter of the infamous Sub-Gang of Four "requesting" Rosenstein and FBI Director Wray (as well as DNI Coats) to clear any declassifications with them before disclosing any of the material to the President, this story is designed to place even more pressure on Rosenstein--as the person most centrally involved in and in control of the declassification process. As I elaborated in Dems Throw Wray And Rosenstein Under The Bus:
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 Republicans, 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 Democrat 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.This new story will certainly increase the pressure on Rosenstein. After all, it has to increase the likelihood that Trump will fire Rosenstein after the midterm election. Rosenstein would therefore have a choice: stick with Trump and get fired, or side with the Dems by attempting to thwart the declassification order--and gain the everlasting gratitude of Democrats. Which might last for 15 minutes.
What is clear is that, even in the midst of the struggle over the Judge Kavanaugh nomination, the Democrats have other things on their mind--bigger things, incredible as that might seem, with the Kavanaugh nomination currently receiving 24/7 coverage. It's increasingly clear that the Democrats view the declassification order as a dagger pointed at their heart, so one can only imagine what they fear will come out. The desperation the Democrats are feeling at the prospect of declassification can hardly be overestimated.
Interestingly, some of my other bits of speculation appear to have already been confirmed. We are hearing today via Trump tweet that "key Allies’ called to ask not to release.” That would be Britain and Australia, and my bet is that Britain has the most to lose from declassification. Yes, the Downer episode would be embarrassing for Australia, but consider Britain's case. What do you think Adm. Mike Rogers, head of NSA, whispered in Trump's ear when Rogers made his secret trip to Trump Tower right after the election? Whatever it was, within hours Trump had ordered his transition HQ moved from Trump Tower to New Jersey. My educated guess is that the information that Rogers provided--which so enraged Brennan and Clapper that they demanded that Obama immediately fire Rogers--wasn't about a relatively trivial matter like the Carter Page FISA. I think it had to do with overhears of the Trump campaign at Trump Tower being routed through Britain's GCHQ so they could be sent back to the US as intelligence provided by a "friendly foreign power", thus avoiding FISA requirements. And so Comey could semi-truthfully say that Trump had not been wiretapped.
Sundance points out what I was at pains to stress, which is how deeply these declassified documents may impact the Deep State, shining light on its hidden operations. Again, via presidential tweet, Rosenstein has agreed to "release them but stated that so doing may have a perceived negative impact on the Russia probe. I highly recommend of a close reading of all of sundance's commentary at the link (above).
Sundance jumps on that last phrase:
note the word “perceived negative impact”. The full sunlight (full release) would undermine the legitimacy of Robert Mueller. DOJ doesn’t want to undermine the fraudulent Mueller investigation. Rosenstein is now admitting to the President, that Muellers probe is illegitimate.Which brings us back to John Solomon's question: Why did we ever need a Special Counsel? These declassified documents will provide the answer: We never did. It's all been a hoax: The Russia Hoax. It was a Deep State op against the duly elected President, funded through the Hillary campaign and affiliates of the Democrat Party (prominently including close associates of Diane Feinstein, just by the way, such as her former chief of staff Daniel Jones).
ADDENDUM: It could be argued that the primary purpose of both releases of information implicating Wray, but especially Rosenstein, in anti-Trump activities--even conspiracies--has been to instigate controversial firings by Trump before the midterm elections, to raise a public outcry and gin up the support of the Democrat base. While that could be part of the equation, I tend to discount it. The result would be, in effect, be self defeating--the result would be that whoever took the place of Rosenstein, even on an acting basis, would surely promptly comply with the order. If I'm correct that the Democrats view the declassification order as an existential threat, that would be the last thing they would want.
MORE: As I read the story, it appears that Rosenstein discussed these matters (wiring up against the Prez, invoking the 25th Amendment) with, of all people, Andrew McCabe--currently awaiting indictment. Talk about being a bad judge of character!
UPDATE: NBC News is reporting that the discussion took place in Andrew McCabe's office, with Lisa Page and Scott Schools (Associate Deputy AG) present. According to NBC, Rosenstein's remark was sarcastic: "Well, what do you want me to do, Andy, wear a wire?" OTOH, you have to ask yourself, in what sort of a conversation does the Deputy AG of the United States "joke" with the acting Director of the FBI about wearing a wire against the POTUS? At the very least these very high DoJ officials were discussing how to control the POTUS, how to deflect him--something of that sort, at the least. Apparently McCabe's post meeting memo state that Rosenstein raised the 25th Amendment, but Page's notes don't reflect that. Take it for what it's worth. The important point is that Deep State actors are scared witless at the prospect of declassification and are seeking to pressure Rosenstein. Thus far it seems not to be working.
UPDATE: I get the feeling this will take a lot of updates. The latest is that the NYT reporters are sticking to their version of events. They state that Page's notes memorialized a different meeting (but the same day) than the one that McCabe recorded in his memo. They also claim that the subject of wearing a wire came up in the other meeting on that same day. Be all that as it may, the bottom line remains the same for me: Deep State actors are scared witless at the prospect of declassification and are seeking to pressure Rosenstein.
UPDATE: Rosenstein, in a comment following on his no-further-comment comment, is now making a categorical denial, per Valerie Jarret's daughter: “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.” Meanwhile Rep. Jim Jordan wants Rosenstein to provide all the McCabe memos--memos that McCabe said today were copied to the Mueller team as well as retained by the FBI. Jordan: "Mr. Rosenstein, give Congress the McCabe memos that we asked for in July and all the other documents we’ve requested so we can all judge for ourselves." And sundance notes that it appears that the McCabe memos were also withheld from OIG. Back to you Mr. Rosenstein.
UPDATE: Greg Jarret has an excellent analysis of all of the above: Rod Rosenstein's coup attempt to depose Trump should not go unpunished. Jarret makes the important point that, by withholding the McCabe memos from Congress--memos which memorialize among other things McCabe's recollection that Rosenstein was plotting against Trump--Rosenstein was effectively covering up for his own misconduct, conceivably obstructing justice. There's more, and the whole article is worth a close read. Overall, what these events tend to confirm are two major points:
1. Rosenstein was essentially a Deep State plant, whose role was to control and if possible undermine Trump.
2. The appointment of Mueller as Special Counsel was probably never truly about Russia--although the Russia Hoax was the pretext. The real reason was that Trump's firing of Comey presented the threat of Trump freeing himself from the web of Deep State operatives that surrounded him. The goal of the Special Counsel has nothing to do with Russia--that's all a hoax and has long been known to be a hoax. The goal is thwart Trump by enmeshing him in endless damage control. That has been a signal failure thus far, and Trump appears to be on the verge of turning the tables in a definitive way. Thus the panic among Democrats.
Here's the money quote. Jarret explains that Mueller may have visited Trump's office under the pretext of interviewing for a return to his Director position, but with the real purpose of gathering 'evidence' against Trump. Then Jarret adds:
Mueller may have been there to gather evidence against Trump during his interview with the president. It was one of the three reasons why Mueller should have recused himself. Yet, he refused to do so.
Importantly, the entire special counsel investigation should be promptly terminated. This illegitimate probe has been tainted by corruption from the outset, and this is just the latest in a mountain of damning evidence.
Rosenstein has been in charge of the Mueller probe. Yet, it is clear that he harbors an extreme bias against Trump. How can anyone now view the investigation as fair, objective and neutral? It is not. It never has been.
From the moment Trump was sworn in as president, saboteurs at the FBI and Justice Department have worked furiously to undue the election results and frame Trump for “colluding” with Russia to win the 2016 presidential election.UPDATE: I'm going to continue to update this blog for now, as new bits of information continue to surface. This morning Thomas Lifson, Twelve points to keep in mind on the NYT’s Rosenstein ‘wear a wire’ and invoke 25th Amendment story, cites a stunning story from the Washington Examiner: Rod Rosenstein considered lawyer to Clinton ally Sidney Blumenthal for special counsel, report says. Here's the key passage:
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.
Cole served as a deputy attorney general from late 2010 to early 2015 — during the Obama years — and was Rosenstein’s supervisor at the DOJ in the early 1990s while he was prosecuting public corruption cases.
Cole also represented Blumenthal during the Benghazi investigations that looked into the 2012 attack at a U.S. complex in Benghazi, Libya, that resulted in the deaths of four Americans. A former employee of the Clinton Foundation, Blumenthal shares a controversial history with Hillary Clinton, whom he informally advised on Libya while she was secretary of state.The story goes on to detail alleged connections of Blumenthal to the Russia Hoax.
While it's true that Rosenstein did not, in fact, appoint Cole, the mere fact that he would even consider such an appointment is stunning. To my mind this report solidifies the idea that Rosenstein is a a creature of the Deep State who was placed in a position to wreak maximum havoc for the new Trump administration. It raises once again the question--who actually appointed Rosenstein? I continue to believe that the Rosenstein appointment resulted from a deal Sessions made with key Establishment players, to accept a Deputy AG chosen by the Deep State in order to ensure his retirement gig as AG.