In breaking news, the Senate Homeland Security Committee has voted to authorize subpoenas for what looks to be all the major Obama-era officials who played roles in the “Russia hoax.” (I take that back; didn’t see Obama or Biden on the list. But Sidney Blumenthal is there.) The time really has come to bring this incredible abuse of investigative power to the forefront.
For now, it’s been interesting to look at a few takes on Wednesday’s Rod Rosenstein testimony. Dan Bongino, in his Thursday podcast, agreed with me that it was a total debacle, that the former deputy attorney general “humiliated himself.”
Like me, Bongino knew he was watching a “slithering snake” try to slip out of taking real responsibility for signing a warrant application full of false information. In fact, he highlighted the same piece of testimony that I did yesterday. Rosenstein: “I approved the submission of it, and four federal judges signed off on it too, Senator [Josh Hawley of Missouri], because, like me, they believed the information had been verified and was accurate.” [NOTE: The FISA judges HAD no personal responsibility for verifying the information contained in the application; they were working with what was given to them by HIM.] It’s fun to see how this plays out in print:
Hawley: “Did they have a duty to verify the information?”
Rosensnake--I mean, "stein": “No, the agents had a duty to verify the information.”
Hawley: “So you did NOT have a duty to verify the information? It was your name on the application.”
Rosenstein: “Well, I had a duty to make sure it had been verified.”
Hawley: “Did you rubber-stamp it?”
Rosenstein: “Senator, the attorney general or the deputy general---”
Hawley: “Just answer my question---”
Hawley: “You said to Sen. Cruz that you didn’t rubber-stamp it. You also testified today that you didn’t read it---”
Rosenstein: “No, I didn’t say---”
Hawley: “So, I’m curious, would you like us to have your testimony read back to you? You said I can’t say that I read it, I don’t think I read every page. I mean---”
Rosenstein: “Yes, I did say that. Yes.”
Hawley: “Okay, so you didn’t rubber-stamp it but you didn’t read it.”
Rosenstein: (smiling) “Senator, I have to explain the process.”
Hawley: “Oh, I think we’re familiar with the process; the OIG gave us the process. By the time it got to you, you had 17 critical errors, falsehoods, omissions, leading a federal court to say they’d never seen anything like this and they can’t trust anything else the FBI says, and you sign off on it...Let me ask you this: Who are we to hold responsible? You’re saying it’s not you---”
Rosenstein: “No, no, I’m saying, Senator, I am accountable for it. The question is, why did it happen? [NOTE: Wrong; the question is, who do we hold responsible?] Now, I’m no longer in the Department, but there are people who are there that I expect will figure out why it happened and fix the problem...” [NOTE: he knows good and well why it happened.]
Hawley: “Do you have any theories about what the problem might be?”
Rosenstein: “I only know what the Inspector General’s report reflects...”
So there you are. The top official at the Department of Justice (after Jeff Sessions’ recusal) is making lame excuses for failing to use his authority to oversee what Bongino rightly calls “the most consequential counterintelligence investigation in modern U.S. history.” Rosenstein’s signature on that document was supposed to MEAN SOMETHING; otherwise, the FBI agents assigned to the case would’ve just sent it on to the FISA Court.
Then there’s this:
Hawley: “Wouldn’t you agree with me that a process that is so corrupted that it resulted in abuse of a federal court in an ex parte proceeding [one in which the target has no legal counsel] during a presidential campaign is a threat to American democracy –- is a threat to the integrity of our elections? Would you agree with that?”
Rosenstein: “It’s certainly a threat to the judicial system and the FISA process, but, uh, I need to explain to you, Senator, that when you’re running an organization of 115,000 people, you’re not gonna be able to personally verify the information---”
Hawley: “I know, and that’s why you can’t be held responsible---”
Rosenstein: “---No, no, I AM responsible---”
Hawley: “So at the end of the day, it’s nobody’s fault. The FISA Court has been misled...but nobody’s to blame for it.”
Rosenstein is trying to have it both ways: he didn’t read the document, at least not all of it, but he didn’t rubber-stamp it, either. It can’t be both. He says he’s accountable while trying to make it seem as if he weren’t because his job is just too big. Bongino came away with the same impression I did: that this is not a stupid man, but someone smart enough to know that looking stupid and naive can help keep him out of jail.
Not surprisingly, John Solomon had some good commentary, too.
While I highlighted the questioning by Ted Cruz that forced Rosenstein to admit he wouldn’t sign the FISA warrant given what we know today, Solomon focuses on a key question from committee chairman Lindsay Graham that also forced him to admit there was nothing to the “Trump/Russia” investigation:
Sen. Graham: “So the whole concept, that the campaign was colluding with the Russians, there was no ‘there’ there in August of 2017, do you agree or not?”
Rosenstein: “I agree with the general statement.”
In less weaselly terms, that means YES. Recall that Peter Strzok had expressed concern to Lisa Page many months earlier that there was no ‘there’ there when he was debating whether or not to be on the special counsel team. But now, there’s no debate about the lack of evidence.
On the other hand, Rush Limbaugh pointed out on Thursday that in the wake of this fiasco, the left is doubling down and intensifying its efforts. He says even with strong evidence that the Obama administration ran a coup against the Trump campaign/transition/presidency, “do not think that it’s over.
“The coup to oust Donald Trump is ongoing.”
He noted that most of America is not nearly as up to speed on this as they should be, and they’re still getting all their news and information from anti-Trump liars. “As more and more evidence is forthcoming and...the more persuasive it is to more and more people, the greater the Democrat media freak-out is.” And all the other craziness going on now is a reflection of the get-Trump insanity.
Rush included Gen. Mattis’s vicious, nonsensical anti-Trump op-ed in THE ATLANTIC as well, as an example of the derangement, saying that even though there’s no evidence Mattis was part of the coup, he “represents the opposition to Donald Trump.”
The objective we must have now, Rush concludes, is to defeat all these forces arrayed against the Trump administration. “We are in a battle for the future of America, as founded.” I can’t say it better than Rush did in this monologue, so I hope you’ll read the transcript in full.