South Carolina Sen. Lindsay Graham, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, has been saying for months that he would hold hearings on the “Trump/Russia” investigation and FISA abuse by the FBI. I know, I know –- more hearings, lots of oratory, lots of lawyerly evasion, maybe little to come of it all. On the other hand, it might actually be pretty darn productive; the first witness scheduled is former deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.
Rosenstein released a statement saying how “grateful” he is to Sen. Graham for the “opportunity” to testify. I'm not kidding; he actually said that. Personally, I’m “grateful” for the “opportunity” to see this guy squirm under oath before the committee. What he has previously said under oath sounds utterly ridiculous in light of what we now know about the Carter Page FISA warrant, so this might really be amusing. I might even write up my own list of “just for fun” questions for Mr. Rosenstein.
"During my three decades of service in law enforcement,” his statement reads in part, “I learned firsthand that most local, state and federal law enforcement officers deserve the high confidence people place in them, but that even the best law enforcement officers sometimes make mistakes and that some engage in willful misconduct.” Well, he would know! Also, I’d want him to define the word “best.”
Recall that Rosenstein signed off on the last renewal of the FISA warrant against Carter Page, well after it was known they'd turned up no real evidence. He also wrote the “scope” memo (first and second versions) for Robert Mueller’s special counsel team, tasking Mueller in August of 2017 with investigating allegations against Carter Page (innocent), Michael Flynn (innocent), George Papadopoulos (innocent) and Paul Manafort (innocent of anything having anything to do with the campaign).
There’s yet a third Mueller “scope” memo that hasn’t been declassified yet; Rosenstein wrote it in October of 2017, long after they knew the "Trump-Russia" evidence was fiction.
No doubt Rosenstein will be asked about reports that he talked with other agents about wearing a wire into the Oval Office as part of a plan to use the 25th Amendment to get Trump removed from office. Sources told NBC NEWS that he was only “joking” about recording the President. Maybe he’ll regale us with a few more hilarious jokes while he’s under oath in Senate chambers.
Mark your calendars; the Senate’s “Oversight of the Crossfire Hurricane Investigation: Day 1” will be June 3.
Speaking of the Mueller investigation, John Dowd, President Trump’s lead attorney during that time, spoke out on Tuesday in an interview with Gregg Jarrett, saying the special counsel engineered a perjury trap for the President in the exact same way that James Comey’s FBI set a trap for then-National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.
"Mueller’s scheme was the same one captured in the FBI set-up notes pertaining to Flynn,” Dowd told Jarrett. “They knew they had nothing, but using their official power they created and perpetuated the fraud of an investigation.”
Dowd said that his transparency with the special counsel team was turned against the President and that Trump’s legal counsel was “misled.” According to Dowd, they deliberately exploited what they knew to be untrue and discredited information (I assume he meant the Steele “dossier,” which was still kicking around after being debunked as fiction).
Stunningly, Mueller ADMITTED during a meeting with the President’s lawyers on March 5, 2018, that there was no evidence of Trump-Russia “collusion” to influence the 2016 election. But remember how they still tried to push Trump to testify? Dowd said he thought they had a “trusting” relationship with Mueller, “based on his word and handshake.” (Are you kidding me?) The special counsel had received “everything” they asked for, “including the most intimate notes of conversations.” Dowd didn’t see how there could be a “whisper” of obstruction under these circumstances.
As Mueller kept pushing for Trump to testify, Dowd realized it was a perjury trap, as this was the only thing they could possibly get. “Robert Mueller --- ‘D.C.’s great man’ --- completely and deliberately misled us in order to set up a perjury/false statement trap for POTUS," Dowd said. "It was a monstrous lie and scheme to defraud.”
This isn’t just Dowd's word; he came to the interview supplied with documents and letters supporting his accusations. Jay Sekulow, another of Trump’s lawyers, confirmed some of his accounts as well. As Jarrett says of the documents, “They paint a vivid picture of a special counsel determined to damage the President with an investigation bereft of any credible evidence.”
I hope you’ll read Jarrett’s piece in full; it goes into more detail about what Mueller was up to, particularly in trying to “get” Trump on obstruction simply for firing FBI Director James Comey. (No one has ever more richly deserved to be fired than Comey.) Mueller even said that Trump’s criticism of the special counsel might be construed as obstruction. Trump wasn’t even supposed to say anything in his own defense.
Quoting Jarrett: “Dowd felt that Mueller and his subordinates were now living in an alternate universe where their version of the law bore no resemblance to statutes, Supreme Court decisions, and accepted constitutional law.”
I hope John Durham has been talking with Dowd in his investigation of the “Russia” case. Sounds as if Dowd could tell him a thing or two about how that was really conducted. He told Jarrett he wants them all to be held to account for their corruption and dishonesty and their phony three-year investigation. NONE of them should walk, he said. “They knew there was nothing to investigate. People subverted the system of justice...It’s staggering. The lies were monstrous. It was all pretense and fraud.”
Finally, in breaking news announced Wednesday by the Justice Department, Attorney General Bill Barr has tapped Western Texas U.S. Attorney John Bash to look specifically into the issue of unmasking, as a support to the investigation being conducted by Durham.
Unmasking, when done for an appropriate reason, is not illegal, but it's a big deal, and there are many questions about why so many unmaskings took place, especially during Obama’s second term. Of course, there’s also the rapt attention that was being paid to Mike Flynn’s phone calls.
Incidentally, U.S. Attorney Jeff Jensen, who was assigned by Barr to review the Flynn case, told Barr that based on what we now know, he doesn’t believe that ANY ONE of the 93 U.S. attorneys in the country would have continued to prosecute Flynn. So the mystery deepens as to why Judge Emmet Sullivan so bizarrely insists on doing it.