October 12, 2018

Hurricane Michael showed up precisely on time this week (I saw him myself, and witnessed his devastation), but someone else failed to appear as scheduled.

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.

Wouldn’t it be great if Rosenstein had been the one who kept his appointment and Michael had been the one who didn't?

But Rosenstein’s testimony before Congress won’t be happening, at least without a subpoena.  He was supposed to come in and answer questions about allegations that he spoke seriously about wearing a wire to secretly record Trump and then rally Cabinet members to invoke the 25th Amendment and remove the President from office.  James Baker, speaking in a closed-door meeting with congressional committees last week, made it clear that the conversations about this plan seemed absolutely serious, not “joking” as Rosenstein has claimed.  Baker’s colleagues, then-deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe (who is still being investigated by the U.S. attorney’s office) and his legal assistant Lisa Page, had both told told him they took Rosenstein seriously.

This is a stunning allegation, one that Rosenstein surely would want to set straight, unless it’s true.  Rosenstein had reportedly been expected on Thursday, but no longer.  Come on –- formal testimony under oath, with every word transcribed?  He didn’t agree to that!  He’d assumed this was just a casual get-together over coffee, with perhaps a few notes taken but no verbatim record and certainly no swearing in.

An aide for the committee told the Washington Examiner that a date had never “officially” been set, as details were still being worked out.   But it was certainly the understanding of Rep. Matt Gaetz that the interview would be Thursday; he flew to Washington from Florida just for the occasion.  “Chairman Goodlatte has been playing hide-and-seek with some of us on the interview scheduling for several weeks now,” he tweeted.  “You’d think that after the former FBI top lawyer said the current deputy attorney general was serious about overthrowing the President that we might issue a subpoena...hold a hearing...conduct oversight...actually do our job.  That would be a refreshing change for Congress.”

So far, Rosenstein has only issued a statement denying the allegations, which were first reported in The New York Times:  “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.”

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Okay, now let’s hear that under oath.  With follow-up questions.

North Carolina Rep. Mark Meadows, who leads the House Freedom Caucus, responded firmly.  “The choice before [the Justice Department] is clear:  show up, answer questions, and be a part of the solution; or refuse transparency and continue being part of the cover up,” he said in a statement.  “At this point, if the deputy attorney general will not show up voluntarily, it is abundantly clear we need to subpoena him.  Failure to compel testimony would amount to a dereliction of duty on the part of Congress.”

Likewise, Arizona Rep. Andy Biggs accused Rosenstein of stonewalling and called for a subpoena.  “His obstinance should not be rewarded with more delays,” he said.

“He owes us answers,” said the equally frustrated Devin Nunes, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, on Wednesday.  “He’s not coming tomorrow, which I think should be very telling...He needs to testify under oath.”

But Trump seemed easygoing about the whole thing.  (This was a change in tone from his reaction to the news last week, in which he referred to the “lingering stench” at the FBI and Justice Department.)  “I’m a little surprised that Rod wouldn’t do it,” he said on FOX & Friends Wednesday.  Trump didn’t put himself in the middle of the dispute but did say he and Rosenstein discussed the allegations during their in-flight meeting on Air Force One.  “He mentioned certain things to me that you know are very positive about that event,” Trump said.  “I would imagine you would want to put that down.  And, frankly, whether you were under oath or not shouldn’t matter.  But he mentioned things to me that I think it would be fine for him to testify.”

Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani underplayed it as well, noting to FOX News that Rosenstein had told Trump his comments were “sarcastic.”  He said Trump didn’t think Rosenstein had gone so far as to plot to invoke the 25th Amendment.

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Curious.  We’ve got a significant discrepancy between Rosenstein’s story and the one told by James Baker under oath.  If there was a fly on the wall listening to the conversation between Trump and Rosenstein aboard Air Force One, I sure wish the Senate Judiciary Committee would find that fly and subpoena him.  On the other hand, Trump’s cavalier reaction supports my previously expressed theory that the President already knows plenty about all this and is satisfied that it will come out, so he’s going to sit back (at least till after the midterm elections), pop some popcorn and watch the show. 

There does appear to be animosity between Rosenstein and McCabe, with the Washington Post reporting Wednesday that in a meeting with Trump in May of 2017, right before Mueller was appointed, each called for the other to recuse himself from the Russia probe.  (My thought:  they were both right!)  One reason they’re taking Baker’s testimony seriously is that it’s from the days right after Trump had fired Comey, when tensions ran high and they thought Trump’s motivation was to obstruct justice.  Never mind that Trump has most emphatically NOT done that, but has instead taken his attorneys’ advice to heart and stepped back to let everything play out.

Baker reportedly testified that the idea was quickly dismissed as implausible and never pursued, according to one source for CNN (for what that’s worth).  That same source said another person in the room besides McCabe and Page heard Rosenstein’s remarks:  then-associate deputy Attorney General Scott Schools.  That’s a new name to those of us following this story; Schools has not yet spoken with Capitol Hill investigators, but it may be assumed that his name will come up again.  As for Page, she reportedly wasn’t asked about this during her testimony earlier this year; questions mostly focused on James Comey, Peter Strzok and McCabe at that time.

Some other potentially explosive interviews have been in the works, both involving the “opposition research” company hired by the DNC and lawyers for Hillary to “find” whatever they could use to smear candidate (and, later, President) Donald Trump.  Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson was scheduled to testify this coming Tuesday after being subpoenaed by the House Judiciary Committee, but has refused to cooperate in a letter sent by his attorney, which says he will "instead invoke his constitutional rights not to testify under the 1st and 5th Amendments of the Constitution.”  The stated reasoning is laughably bogus; take a look if you care to.

Again, wouldn’t it have been nice for Glenn Simpson to show up as scheduled and for Hurricane Michael to have not?

Fusion GPS contractor Nellie Ohr, wife of then-DOJ top official Bruce Ohr, is scheduled to appear next Friday.   At this writing, as far as I can tell, the interview with Ohr is still on, but who knows what will happen between now and then?




In more unintentional humor, Sen. Chuck Schumer has issued a statement on Rosenstein.  “This story must not be used as a pretext for the corrupt purpose of firing deputy Attorney General Rosenstein in order to install an official who will allow the President to interfere with the special counsel’s investigation,” he said.  “Generals Kelly, Mattis, and numerous other White House and cabinet officials have been reported to say critical things of the President without being fired.”  Wow, where to start?  How about this:  Did any of THOSE officials perhaps discuss a plan to unseat the President and then refuse to talk to Congress about it?  I don’t think so.


Of course, Schumer would like nothing better than for the President to fire Rosenstein.  And Trump knows it.  No wonder he’s acting like he simply doesn’t care.  He’ll deal with all of this in due time.



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Comments 1-8 of 8

  • Ray Berkey

    10/13/2018 10:58 AM

    Maybe, just maybe Rosenstein has been turned? Great reporting. I agree though, waiting in the background sounds to me to be very wise Mr. President.

  • James Hoefer

    10/13/2018 10:52 AM

    (Although I thought this up myself, credit for inspiration goes to Jerry Siegel, Joe Shuster, DC Comics, et. al.) This should be made part of the Republican platform: Republicans want "Truth, Justice, and the American Way" Democrats say, "No Truth, No Justice, No Way, Americans"

  • Anita Mae Barker

    10/12/2018 09:34 PM

    You 're right. The president will deal with all of it and set them back on their heels. They don't give him the credit for being smarter than they are.


    10/12/2018 01:27 PM

    Most likely our President is trying to avoid an all out ruckus before the midterms. Alienating any moderates/no-party-affiliation at this time may cost us votes. After the mid-terms I think we can expect some major action on draining the swamp.

  • Amelia Little

    10/12/2018 11:59 AM

    Again, who amongst us mere mortals would get to say, "Nah, I'm not going to testify, attend a hearing. My conditions include there has to be a subpeona." And, of course, when that comes through, get to come up with all kinds of delays, make demands of conditions to be met (which are patently absurd and should be thrown back in the face) which, are likely NOT to be met, and, IF met--shame on the fools that would say, "oh, gee, no problem." Which of any Republicans--congressmen or heads of departments or other high up officials--would get to do this? Well, no one, because the democrats would ignore anything like this from a conservative, and plow their way through their agenda. BTW, aren't we still waiting on SUBPOENAED documents from the FBI and DOJ? REALLY? Someone needs to get the ball on the road and force them to comply. Again, just like they made early morning raids on Manafort and Cohen and any place they might have documents for computers or discs, etc--raid the FBI and DOJ offices (ALL OF THEM) and the homes and any other place where these top dogs might have stashed documents, etc, and don't forget even some of the lesser people in those offices who might have been given stuff for safe-keeping. Get rid of the whine about national security, because the documents in question aren't of a national security issue--our national security has already been hit by the actions of these "stellar" government officials. And, anything of national security in this instance most likely was already on hilary's unsecured hard drives. Get the materials before they have had the chance to pull a hilary and destroy them.

    Awww, so the democrats are upset that they caved into something the Republicans/President Trump wanted. Gee, now they know how conservatives have felt over the years when the Republicans capitulated to Democrat demands, time after time after time. Maybe these people need to find their pacifiers and go to their safe spaces and be petted by therapists, snuggle up to whatever therapy animal (or reptile or fowl) they choose.

    When I open my FB page these days, there is a big box where fb wants me to contribute to their coffers supposedly for hurricane relief. Are they nuts? I wouldn't trust them to actually make sure the money got to any relief fund. They don't even say what relief organization they would be contributing (cough cough) to. Samaritan's Purse? Red Cross? Any other major, known, established organization? Of course not.

    I guess I wasn't so far off saying the left should grill Justice Kavanaugh's mother to see if he ever pulled a 2 year old's tantrum and sassed her, saying "NO!" And, if they wanna go back from the day of birth of any conservative politician, they need to do the same for the democrats and we're talking the women, too---but, really, what a freaking, stupid waste of time, and let's hope saner heads prevail. Surely our tax dollars would be better spent on rational issues.

    And, yes, the metoo garbage HAS adversely affected women and set womens' movement back years. There are more than one report where organizations are reluctant to have women in high positions, for fear of accusations of sexual harassment. It's sad that there are women (even some I know in RL) who think sexual harassment includes a guy giving her a compliment. It's beyond insane. I didn't read hilary's (idiotic, I am sure) explanation of why slick willie's accusers shouldn't have been believed, and the difference between those accusations and the accusations of all the other women in the US of A (and probably the world.) If she thinks she is taking a stand for women, she is absolutely mistaken.

    Thanks for the newsletter, keep up the good work!!!

  • Michael G Langley, MD

    10/12/2018 11:37 AM

    I would think that the more the culprits refuse to testify, the more likely they are to trigger a real investigation. But, Congress could impeach them!? With the evidence mounting, I would think that pleading the 5th is not going to save them. One can only hope. A miracle could happen, too!

  • Stephen Russell

    10/12/2018 11:31 AM

    Subopena these fools, wake up Mr President your being played by Rosenstien & allies

  • William Schlumpf

    10/12/2018 09:47 AM

    Schumer, the Democrats and their accomplices in media would like nothing other than for Trump to fire Rosenstein so they can use it as an issue to sway weak minds. Schumer's ploys to goad Trump are obvoius. I think Trump sees through it and will wait until after the election to send Rosenstein packing (unless there is something going on behind the scenes that only Rosenstein and Trump are aware of). Momentum is favorable for Republicans now that democratic dirty tricks have not only failed but backfired. Only a few weeks to go and Trump can really clean house. Patience. Democrats are self destructing. Let's enjoy the show!