Sunday, October 4, 2020

SWC Takes On The $64K Question

And, like the rest of us, admits it's a total head scratcher:

Mark Philip


Replying to @shipwreckedcrew

Who the f*ck was advising Trump on DOJ appointments before Barr showed up?



I have always wondered who "championed" RR as DAG.  Makes very little sense to me.  He was Maryland US Attorney, and had no DOJ time that I can find.  Very unusual, especially with a DOJ outsider like Sessions as AG.

There is no rational explanation other than he was a "stealth" resistance guy, likely put in place by some Bush DOJ NeverTrumpers who wanted him to just keep everyone else away from the Trump-Russia investigation.

Admittedly, Rosenstein was, at the time of his DAG appointment, the nation's longest serving US Attorney. He's also a smart lawyer--on paper. But paper smarts don't tell you about character and judgment. So imagine a guy with that background offering, as one of his first significant decisions as Deputy AG, to wear a wire against the POTUS on behalf of a total nutter like Andy McCabe.

The only way to figure that is that he thought he was doing the bidding of some very powerful DC actors. Someone told him, Rod, your job is to appoint Mueller and step out of the way.

When all is said and done, this question will be one of the really big ones in the entire Russia Hoax, because without RR in place it really goes nowhere. And if he's actually looking deeply at the merits of it all--as was his duty--it goes nowhere in a very big hurry and in a very big way.

Fortunately, Mitch McConnell got his act together, Bill Barr stepped in and told RR--Rod, time to go back to Maryland.


  1. I blame Jared Kushner. He allowed personal pique to block Chris Christie.Can you imagine the indictments if Christie had been in charge.Can you imagine Mike Flynn as NSA?

    1. Possibly. I remember reading that he was well regarded by GOPers--but the why of that would appear to be a bit of a mystery, too.

      Re Christie, you're probably right that Kushner blocked it. Christie may not be Bill Barr, but would have been one helluva lot better than Sessions. For starters, wouldn't have recused. And I doubt he would have taken RR as DAG.

  2. According to Trump, it was Sessions. I do not think Sessions has denied.


  3. Of course, Rosey, Sessions and Trump himself know the answer to this question.

    Until Durham does (or does not) bring indictments (or otherwise tell us what he knows), I guess we'll just pass the time in speculation.

    I suspect Barr, too, knows the answer. Let's not forget that Barr gave Rosey a hearty sendoff when he left the DoJ. Isn't it likely Rosey came clean to Barr?

  4. This is a question where we see, "Never ascribe to malice that which can be explained by incompetence," butt heads squarely with, "There is no such thing as an accident in politics."

    1. Interestingly, on Bartiromo this morning Devin Nunes (I think it was could have been another of her guests) went off on Senator Mark Warner for protecting Comey, who is now 'throwing FBI line agents under the bus' to protect himself.

      I suspect Warner and the SSCI's actions when fully disclosed will also prove the truth of "There is no such thing as an accident in politics."

    2. 'throwing FBI line agents under the bus' to protect himself

      What goes around comes around.

    3. What does a coven of cannibals call the guy who's late to dinner? Dessert! ;-)

    4. "the SSCI's actions when fully disclosed", *if* fully disclosed in time to matter.

    5. "Never ascribe to malice" vs. "no such thing as an accident in politics."
      The complexity of the modern environment makes me believe, that many problems can be explained by, not so much Incompetence, as by most players being in over their heads.
      Political Players have to make so many (often subtle) judgements, that we should expect some % of these to go awry.
      In, say, a Closed System like chess, they is no such thing as an accident.
      But, politics is clearly not a Closed System, so there is such a thing as an accident, even if hindsight can fault Players, for failing to heed what (in retrospect) "should've been obvious".

    6. Politics is about people, and judging them is always a tough chore, even somewhat in retrospect, surely in ordinary, let alone in volatile, situations.

      My sense is, historians still debate how, say, Hitler & Stalin, judged such potentially hot potatoes as Strasser, Röhm, Ribbentrop, Trotsky, Yagoda, & Khrushchev.

    7. And, how everyone was blindsided by Hess.

  5. I just finished watching the first of two parts of Showtime's docudrama The Comey Rule, which is based on James Comey's book.

    I have enjoyed it a lot, despite many objectionable moments. The story is captivating and well filmed. The actors look like the actual people. The actor Jeff Daniels plays Comey sympathetically.

    Mark, you ought to ask a friend who has cable television to let you watch it. I am sure you will get a kick out of it.

    1. My favorite part was the end when Comey was testifying before a Senate committee and says he can't remember anything, and claims to have no knowledge of many widely known facts pertaining to Crossfire Hurricane. Then the hearing is interrupted by an urgent call from Hollywood saying they need to get the crockudrama in the can before the election in order to have any hope of misleading enough voters to defeat Trump.


  6. I am sure Trump understands Very clearly the “personnel is policy” issue and the amount of damage that has been done to him as a result. His accomplishments
    economically have been Mnuchin, Navarro and Lighthizer and Kushner and Pompeo(?) on the Middle East and internationally. His guys have gotten a tremendous amount done. I am very hopeful he gets a clean shot with some of “his guys” in other areas of govt. in a second term. Needs a more supportive Senate as well to get “his guys”.

  7. Sessions got the AG job due to being an early supporter of Trump.

    Session I’m sure had a huge say on who his #2 would be.

    The question is who pushed it to Sessions?

    Sessions seems to have been surrounded by Obama loyal people. They were the ones that got him to recuse. Perhaps they also pushed Rosenstein as a non partisan appointee, to avoid any perceived politicization of the DOJ. Similar to the reasons that Sessions recused himself from any Russia related items. Or perhaps Rosenstein’s appointment was part of the deal of Sessions confirmation in the Senate.

    I agree, looking in hindsight, Rosenstein was a deliberate plant to protect the Russian collusion narrative.

    1. I've always maintained that Sessions made a deal with Schumer to recuse in order to assure a fairly smooth confirmation. Perhaps RR was part of the package.

    2. The question for Sessions remains the same as it has been since the day he recused: Are you a functioning DS player; or are you so incredibly stupid that you could swim in an open sewer for 20 years and have no clue?

      I go with the former. I think he had nursed a sense of entitlement to AG since it was denied him in '86 and would cut a deal with the Devil himself to have that hurt placated. It wasn't that he was particularly out to sabotage Trump, but it is difficult for most humans to resist the rationalization of quenching a burning grievance when a fire hose is dangled before them, especially a long nurtured grievance.
      Tom S.

  8. Maybe Mueller himself pushed to have Rosenstein appointed. They knew each other well enough for RR to call him in the early morning after Comey was fired. And if not Mueller, his close friend Weissman headed the criminal fraud division at Justice, and could have recommended Rosenstein. RR was a known commodity to Mueller because, allegedly, he had headed the Baltimore task force which spied on Sharyl Atkisson, and which included Mueller's pal Shawn Henry (later of Crowdstrike fame). In any event, RR knew his job was to appoint a special counsel. Schumer had let him know that during his confirmation hearings (as Schumer had let DAG-nominee Comey know that in 2003).

    1. If you read Rosenstein’s Wiki page, you will find numerous connections to Mueller starting here:

      After graduating from Penn, Rosenstein attended Harvard Law School where he was an editor of the Harvard Law Review. While at Harvard, Rosenstein landed an internship with then acting United States Attorney for the District of Massachusetts Robert Mueller.

      That was not to be the first connection.

  9. Sessions was there for the block. Pres. Trump had a sense of loyalty to him because of the steam an early commitment legitimacized the Trump campaign. He gave him the option to pick his position and he picked Secy State. Only hesitation I have for Sessions being a traitor from the start is that speechwriter Stephen Miller was part of his staff and is an integral part of the administration. Dimm Sens put up such a fight during Sessions confirmation and then Rosenstein got through with like 97 votes. Definitely a scam from the start.

  10. When Steve Hilton’s program was new on FNC Sunday Night he had a weekly segment he called Swamp Watch. One time, a gent named Johnny DeStefano was highlighted; a John Boehner staffer who had insinuated himself into the Trump Administration as Trump’s 1st Director of the White House Personnel Policy Office. It was his responsibility to nominate and vet personnel. Hilton was, understandably, very down on him.

    As for RR, I was recently watching a Clinton scandal documentary from way back in the day there is footage of RR working the gov’t side even then. Maybe he was on Starr’s staff? May need to dig some. But as for RRs selection as DAG, Trump is on record saying he left that entirely up to Sessions. He explained he wanted his Cabinet officials to be empowered to appoint there own people. In the case of DOJ, that was an unwise move.

  11. IIRC Rosenstein, while Maryland US Attorney, handled the case involving the Russians trying to bribe/kickback their way into controlling the shipping of uranium ore in the US. That's the case where a lobbyist, Douglas Campbell, was approached by the Russians to get involved, -- he went to the FBI and told them, and they used him as a confidential undercover asset to collect the evidence they needed to nail the Russians for the crimes they were committing. He did so for several years, as I recall, but then Rosenstein apparently ignored much of the evidence, charged only the Russians when there were many US persons accepting bribes, and later the confidential source was threatened with legal action if he spoke about it. He was a client of Joe DiGenova and his wife.

    Prosecutors (Rosenstein's office) never used his testimony at trial.

    Campbell claimed the Russians told him about how political influence in the US was being bought by the Russian firm.