At my confirmation hearing in March 2017, a Republican Senator asked me to make a commitment. He said: “You’re going to be in charge of this [Russia] investigation. I want you to look me in the eye and tell me that you’ll do it right, that you’ll take it to its conclusion and you’ll report [your results] to the American people.”
I did pledge to do it right and take it to the appropriate conclusion. I did not promise to report all results to the public, because grand jury investigations are ex parte proceedings. It is not our job to render conclusive factual findings. We just decide whether it is appropriate to file criminal charges.
Some critical decisions about the Russia investigation were made before I got there. The previous Administration chose not to publicize the full story about Russian computer hackers and social media trolls, and how they relate to a broader strategy to undermine America. The FBI disclosed classified evidence about the investigation to ranking legislators and their staffers. Someone selectively leaked details to the news media. The FBI Director announced at a congressional hearing that there was a counterintelligence investigation that might result in criminal charges. Then the former FBI Director alleged that the President pressured him to close the investigation, and the President denied that the conversation occurred.
So that happened.
It sounds to me like Rosenstein is offering a justification for the Team Mueller mess of the last two years, suggesting that he had no alternative than to act as he did, take the course of action that he did. That he really meant to do the right thing all along, but, well, stuff happens.
While I don't buy those excuses for a moment, it's about what you'd expect at this point from a guy who finds himself more or less in the same boat with the FBI and Team Mueller after a 2-3 year deep dive into all things Trump has come up absolutely empty--and a new sheriff is in town and promising a real investigation. Hey, it wasn't me! It was that guy Comey that I trusted! How was I to know that Mueller would run totally amok with Hillary partisans as his sidekicks? How was I to rein it in once it got started? Sure I pledged to do it right, but, but, ... I didn't count on this amount of SHTF!
I just hope his cooperation will be worth any deal that he gets.
If a Special Counsel was needed because the public might not trust the DOJ/FBI's investigation to be fair and non-partisan, then Rosenstein's management of the Special Counsel was ludicrous. He appointed a former FBI Director, who proceeded to staff his investigation with DOJ/FBI personnel who all were Trump-haters.ReplyDelete
How was the Republican portion of the public supposed to be satisfied that Mueller and his crew would conduct this "investigation" in a more fair and non-partisan manner than DOJ/FBI itself would conduct an investigation normally?
I think that neither Rosenstein nor Mueller gave a rat's ass about whether the investigation would be accepted as fair and non-partisan. Both men were motivated primarily to whitewash DOJ/FBI and to cause trouble for President Trump.
I want Congressional Republicans to ask Rosenstein and Mueller about Mueller's cell phone being left in Trump's office. Let's begin the public hearings of both men with that subject.
President Trump was supposed to fire Rosenstein and/or Mueller, and then impeachment proceedings were supposed to begin, and then a group of Republican leaders was supposed to go to the White House and ask President Trump to resign.
Rosenstein gave up on that conspiracy first, and ultimately Mueller gave up too. Mueller still is trying, however, to use an obstruction-of-justice gambit to harass President Trump. Rosenstein is not going along with that gambit.
I think the big question that many still have is, just how badly do Republicans--especially those in the Senate--really want the full truth to come out? The full truth is bound to hurt the entire Establishment.Delete
That's a very good question. McCain's gone. So are Trump haters Flake and Corker, but there may be others lurking in the Senate. Watching Rosenstein at Barr's press conference convinced me that Barr is squeezing him, even while praising him. As for the Senator who made Rosenstein promise to appoint a special counsel, that was Schumer. Schumer did the same when Comey was up for confirmation as Deputy AG in 2003.Delete
One incident that has to give pause is when Feinstein unilaterally released Glenn Simpson's testimony with no consequences--an obvious ploy to allow other witnesses to prepare their lies. Of course, Feinstein is in this up to her neck, through her staffer Dan Jones. But the failure of any action against her by the GOP ...Delete
I understand the politics in a still closely divided Senate is tough, but there should be consequences for flaunting rules.
... the full story about Russian computer hackers and social media trolls and how they relate to a broader strategy to undermine America.ReplyDelete
Apparently, there was not even one person in the DOJ/FBI leadership who dared to laugh aloud at that hysterical nonsense. Not one person exercised any healthy skepticism or critical thinking.
High-ranking DOJ/FBI officials are paid generously to exercise good judgement and make careful decisions. Nevertheless, every one of them was duped and acted recklessly.
To this day, Rosenstein still is blabbering about social media trolls and how they relate to a broader strategy to undermine America. If he had more sense, he would stop making a public fool of himself with this hysterical paranoia.
Why are we supposed to believe, for example, that the Internet Research Agency does any of its activities on orders from the Kremlin? That is an "assessment", based on no real evidence at all.
During 2016, were troll farms in the USA doing their Internet activities on orders from the White House?
The US Intelligence Community has to maintain its public certainty that the Kremlin was using Facebook advertisements in a grand strategy to undermine US Democracy, because all the US Intelligence Community's stupid decisions and actions in this affair were based on that unchallenged presumption.
"High-ranking DOJ/FBI officials are paid generously to exercise good judgement and make careful decisions. Nevertheless, every one of them was duped and acted recklessly."
Here's an alternate theory:
High-ranking DOJ/FBI officials are paid generously to be yes-men and toe the establishment line. Accordingly, every one of them, having been carefully preselected for advancement, acted as was expected of them.
Back in the day we had a saying: The only thing required for administrative advancement is a willingness to relocate.
I hope that's not too cynical for you.
Like Mike, the critical tell was the staffing of the Mueller team- given that, there was no doubt what Mueller's goal was- it was removal of Trump from office right from the start. I think Rosenstein was willing to go along with it right up until last Summer when McCabe threw him under the bus by revealing that Rosenstein had offered to wear a wire. After that point, Rosenstein was trapped- he couldn't be the guy who recommended Trump be indicted for obstruction, but he couldn't step down either without allowing Francisco take over his position- the last hope was getting Trump to fire Rosenstein, but that also failed (and isn't possible that the McCabe outing was to induce just that outcome to support the obstruction angle- getting Rosenstein fired by Trump). However, by increasing the margin in the Senate, Trump was able to outmaneuver the plotters- he fired Sessions instead- a move that couldn't be construed as obstruction because Sessions was already recused.ReplyDelete
I agree. RR reacted emotionally and foolishly to the Comey firing and, having done that, found himself in the soup. A lot of people now are giving credit to Trump's lawyers, which is fair enough. OTOH, Trump has to get credit for the successful counter strategy, too--he switched lawyers until he had an effective and complementary team he trusted, he followed their advice intelligently, and he worked hard both with Congress and campaigning.Delete
All the evidence and the associated behaviors of the key participants fits a particular theory of the crime. Specifically, senior officials within the Obama Administration began weaponizing the Federal bureaucracy as early as 2010 (remember the IRS scandal) and this pattern of criminal activity escalated over the ensuing term of his presidency. This criminal enterprise grew to include the covert spying on US citizens, reporters, and Congress; and ultimately morphed into political opposition research that occurred during both the 2012 and 2016 presidential campaigns. The Clinton's parleyed their SoS status and used the Clinton Foundation to enrich themselves by selling influence (see Uranium One as but one example).ReplyDelete
There is a huge amount of criminal activity (including sedition and treason) hiding in the weeds. The stakes couldn't be higher, and the culprits likely include the former president and heavy hitters within both houses of Congress. These people will not go down without a fight, and this next phase of investigation could well become lawfare on the scale of WWII.
I totally agree. I recently saw an article that went over all this, and now I can't recall whether I linked it, or where. The point was that the scale of this corruption is mind bogglingly enormous. Barr speaks of "getting my arms around" the Russia Hoax, but we know now that the Russia Hoax is only one part of the big picture. And it's not as if the criminals have simply run away--they're still fighting in the trenches.Delete
The two weakest links in "The Resistance" are Rod Rosenstein and Lisa Page. One or both of those two might decide to squeal.ReplyDelete
They both unquestionably have a lot at stake, but others do, too. These are mostly all family and professional people whose lives could be utterly trashed if they're held to account. Pientka, from what I've heard, opened up to OIG quite a long time ago--they've been keeping him under wraps. James Baker is another, Priestap as well. You could tell with Priestap, for example, that while the House interviewers really wanted to know about his travels they didn't push it. He must've been talking to investigators from early on and the House guys knew that. You can see that with a number of people in their interviews.Delete
Lisa Page's life has been tragic ever since the text messages were released and exposed both the adultery and complicity in the FISA corruption. She has young children and these revelations have been devastating to her marriage and home life. Her only opportunity for redemption is to come clean and assist in repairing the damage done by the systemic corruption of the Obama Administration. If she can recover her faith, she will find forgiveness and renewal.ReplyDelete
As to the canary role most likely to produce significant leverage, John Carlin is the best candidate. He resigned shortly after the original FISA application was submitted and knows full well how much legal exposure he and others have taken on. If he sings, the dominoes will start falling very fast.
I suspect there will be no shortage of canaries at the FBI. As for John Carlin, he may be on the outside, looking in. Carlin was Ass't Director, NSD, but his deputy, Stu Evans, who handled FISA applications, is said to be cooperating closely with OIG. Evans apparently had qualms about the FBI FISA applications all along:Delete
"In Oct. 2016, Lisa Page, an FBI lawyer at the time, suggested Stuart Evans, the DOJ official who handles FISA applications, was concerned about the “possible bias” of an informant used to obtain the warrants."
Sundance has an entry title "Chaff and Countermeasures - The DC Outrage Taps...." For the life of me, I can't figure out what he is talking about.
If I understand him correctly, he intimates that Senator Grassley isn't interested in getting to the truth of the matter. I don't have that impression, at all.
Any thoughts on the article?
Joe, I toyed with the idea of doing what would amount to a response to that piece, but decided not to--I didn't want to appear like Maher characterized Schiff: like a "stalker."Delete
For starters, his distinction between "official" and "non-official" simply makes no sense in the context. The idea that certain allegations will distract from the main point is absurd--it's all important. The idea that Grassley is doing so as a Deep State operative is, I think, no more than paranoia.
Every now and then it seems to me that sundance's sources lead him into never, never land. I hate to say that, because of the excellent work he has done and continues to do.
I'm glad that you said it first. I feel the same way.Delete