Reader Philip Crane, after seeing my Thursday commentary about the move in Congress to impeach deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, had this to say:
“Governor...landing a man on Mars this week would be more probable than this action --- it’s not going to work. He needs to be FIRED by the President, along with all the other conspirators. They must be tried for treason or sedition...whatever.”
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Although the word “treason” should be used judiciously, I agree wholeheartedly on the “Mars” part. Sure enough, the resolution was tabled and, since Congress recesses this Friday, it won’t be taken up for at least five weeks (if then --- a lot can happen in five weeks). For now, Rosenstein isn’t budging from his official perch, as inappropriate and fraught with conflict it might be.
People who wince at the very thought of impeaching Rosenstein seem to me to be FROM Mars. Yes, there’s good reason the bar is set very high; impeachment is supposed to be reserved for “high crimes and misdemeanors.” I should mention I’m not a lawyer (many of whom will disagree with me here), but what about OBSTRUCTION OF JUSTICE? “Obstruction” must be a very serious crime, because I hear the President’s enemies talking about impeaching him for it all the time, even with no evidence at all. Disregarding subpoenas and withholding evidence, as the Department of Justice has absolutely done, is surely obstruction.
Come to think of it, though, Hillary disregarded subpoenas and withheld evidence and she didn’t face any charges at all. Perhaps former FBI Director James Comey, if he hadn’t been canned, would do the same for Rosenstein as he did for Hillary and argue he didn’t INTEND to ignore those subpoenas. Case dismissed!
Congressional investigators have been denied evidence that may very well be exculpatory for President Trump and others caught in the “Crossfire Hurricane,” and perhaps damning for his accusers. Falsifying a document that requests permission to spy on an American citizen and signing off on the application (which we know Rosenstein and others did) --- wouldn’t that be criminal? Again, I’m no lawyer, but it seems to me that it would be.
As I’ve said, impeaching seems to be the only card left to play. A contempt of Congress charge means nothing --- just ask Eric Holder, who suffered no consequence and probably still considers it a badge of honor. Jeff Sessions won’t fire him because he recused himself from anything concerning Russia. Trump would love to fire him but has no doubt been advised by his lawyers to stay out of it rather than risk charges of obstruction. (See, the bar has been set much lower for impeachment of a President!) Somebody tell me: if no one will impeach or fire Rosenstein, and Sessions can’t do the job, how do we go back to having a real attorney general again?
Meanwhile, the special counsel has announced it’s expanding its investigation to include (I am not kidding) President Trump’s TWEETS. He’s going through the President’s Twitter feed to determine if Trump tried to “intimidate key figures in the Russia probe, like Jeff Sessions and James Comey, something that could amount to obstruction of justice charges.” Legal experts speculate that Mueller’s looking for “a larger pattern of behavior.”
Good lord, has it come to this? At least it proves my point that Trump’s lawyers have good reason to advise him to stay uninvolved and certainly not to fire anyone. You can bet they’d like to take his phone away from him, too, and maybe whack it with a hammer for good measure, just to keep him from using it. Hammer time!
Hey, why not? Hillary’s aides took a hammer to HER phone --- destroying evidence --- and nothing happened to them, or to her.
Finally, here’s another comment from reader Tom Willis, this one more positive: “Yes, Trump could issue demands and start firing people. Is he ‘playing them’? The more they redact and it’s found subsequently that redactions have nothing to do with national security, then the DOJ and FBI look more untrustworthy and incompetent. I also suggest that it moves people away from the DOJ and FBI camp into the Trump camp.”
I tend to agree. And the news that Mueller is stooping so low as to investigate Trump’s tweets (which lawyer Jonathan Turley called “the evidentiary dregs”) won’t be going over well with any thinking person. It strikes us as weak, unconvincing and desperate, because it is.