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Former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who signed off on the last renewal of the FISA warrant application to spy on Carter Page, appointed Robert Mueller, determined the “scope” of the special counsel investigation of Trump and his colleagues, and supposedly supervised Mueller and his team, tried hard in testimony Wednesday to distance himself from all that happened in what has been dubbed “Spygate.”

He was smiling broadly at times, perhaps because he thought he was succeeding in his aim. And maybe he was, at least partially. But with his effort to save his own skin, this slippery attorney actually succeeded in showing us that there WAS a coup against the President. Nothing else makes sense.

If we weren’t living in “these uncertain times” --- a phrase I can’t wait to see retired --- Rosenstein’s testimony would be "the" story right now. Even the mainstream media might have to cover it a little. At the moment, it’s easy for them to bury it. But this was just the first of many hearings, and John Durham continues to investigate. Step by step, the revelations continue to prove we were right.

In his long-awaited testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Rosenstein’s strategy was to present himself as someone who trusted his colleagues to give him correct information, so much so that he didn’t bother to read “every word” of the FISA application before signing it, even though in this case his signature was his personal stamp of verification of "every word" to the FISA court.

Sen. Lindsay Graham, chairman of the committee, was having none of it. Neither was Sen. Ted Cruz, who skewered Rosenstein for including Flynn in the “scope” memo in August of 2017 after the FBI had concluded on January 4 that there was no evidence against Flynn and that the case should be closed. He went on to bring up that infamous meeting held the very next day, January 5, in the Oval Office. Going through the timeline, he told Rosenstein that there were only two possible conclusions: “either that you were complicit in the wrongdoing, which I don’t believe was the case, or that your performance of your duties was grossly negligent.” Much more; this is a must-watch video if you’ve not already seen it.

You’ll notice in the video that Rosenstein isn’t smiling anymore. It was really Cruz, by giving Rosenstein the benefit of the doubt as he did, who showed point-by-point what had been going on deep within the FBI. (Were you aware of THIS? Were you aware of...THIS?) Rosenstein comes across as a naive fool, but that's likely a choice he has made, finding it preferable to coming across as someone who should be wearing an orange jumpsuit.

"Why did you let this pile of partisan lies consume the country for two years?” Cruz asks. Rosenstein tries in vain to change direction, saying that “there was a lot going on at the Department of Justice” during those years, that he and Jeff Sessions were making “significant changes” that weren’t “just about the Russia investigation," as if that had any bearing here.

David Marcus at the NEW YORK POST has a magnificent write-up of the day’s testimony and its significance.

Sen. Graham asked Rosenstein the big takeaway question of the day: “If you knew then what you know now, would you have signed the warrant application?”

Rosenstein was ready: “No, I would not.”

No, he would not. If it was wrong for Rosenstein to sign the renewal based on the facts they had, then it was wrong to apply for the warrant in the first place. From the start, there was never any evidence on Carter Page. They used that first warrant as a pretext for all the spying to come.

So that’s it. It was all a fraud, started with a piece of partisan, fictional oppo “research” paid for by (who else?) the Hillary Clinton campaign. It was perpetrated against Donald Trump, his associates, and the country at large. We went through years of needless torture over NOTHING. Think of all the histrionics, the obsession, the endless “Russia, Russia Russia!” paranoia, leaping from the front page of THE NEW YORK TIMES, and consuming almost all major media, day after day after day. The many millions of dollars wasted. The enormous waste of time –- Congress’s time, everybody’s time. Trump’s presidency was practically stalled. That was the idea, of course.

Think of the lives and careers that were ruined, particularly that of Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, a man who served his country for 33 years. As it turns out, he didn't lie after all, and the FBI didn't even ask him the question (concerning sanctions on Russia) they later accused him of lying about! Then there's Carter Page, who had actually helped the FBI in the past yet was accused by them of being a Russian agent. The President himself was being investigated for conspiracy with Russia --- which would be treason --- when there was no evidence of that at all. Of course, if Hillary had (shudder) been elected, all evidence would have been swept away, shredded, hit with hammers and Bleach-bitted, and the spying on political enemies would have metastasized.

Think of the lack of focus we had on really important things --- particularly China, which was hiding the spread of a deadly contagion from its own virology lab while Congress was busy with its kangaroo-court impeachment fiasco.

The irony of this is that Vladimir Putin must have had a really good laugh about it, every day. He did want to see chaos over here, and in their zeal to get rid of Trump, our own Justice Department and the American media gave it to him.

Mr. Marcus is clearly as angry about this as I am. “What is becoming clear,” he says, is that the Department of Justice wanted to prevent, then destroy, a Trump presidency. These were not open-minded officials being led by the facts; they were manipulating the facts and hiding exculpatory evidence to bring down Trump and his associates.”

I would add that this is what Rosenstein was trying to distance himself from today. He has to appear ignorant of all of it or be part of the conspiracy. If he does know more than he’s letting on –- which seems likely; Cruz gave him more benefit of the doubt than I would –- it’ll be up to John Durham and his team of investigators to prove he does, through the testimony of others or some revealing text or email. Also, U.S. Attorney John Bash is now looking more closely at the unmasking process, particularly as it was used against Michael Flynn.

More subpoenas are set to be issued this week. Clapper, Brennan, Comey, and McCabe are expected to be among those subpoenaed by the Senate.

Democrats tried to say on Wednesday that these hearings are being held to weaken Biden’s run for president. Trust me, if this were about Biden, we’d have plenty to investigate HIM for, and that wouldn’t be pretty, either.

UPDATE: On Wednesday, Andrew McCabe issued a statement essentially calling Rosenstein a liar for suggesting that FBI officials misled him. Details here.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsay Graham read it aloud near the close of the hearing and allowed Rosenstein a chance to respond. Rosenstein said he hadn’t actually said “misled.” He’d said McCabe hadn’t been “fully forthcoming.”

Personally, I doubt either one of them has been “fully forthcoming.”

Apparently, there’s a longstanding feud between McCabe and Rosenstein, starting around the time President Trump fired then-FBI Director James Comey. The WASHINGTON POST wrote about this two years ago, and it adds a fascinating dimension to the story.

McCabe is the one who said in a memo that Rosenstein had talked in a meeting about wearing a wire and using the 25th Amendment to get rid of Trump. Rosenstein reportedly responded later that he had been joking. Then-FBI general counsel James Baker was not present but heard about the comments after the meeting and thought Rosenstein was serious.

At that time, each man had his own reasons for wanting the other to step away from the “Trump/Russia” case. And today, they’re telling different stories about what went on. A prosecutor’s dream. I have a feeling this is going to get good.

Tuesday evening, I posted my promised “20 ‘Just for Fun’ Questions for Rod Rosenstein” in anticipation of his appearance before the Senate Judiciary Committee, scheduled for Wednesday at 10AM Eastern Time.

John Solomon had a similar idea for a list of questions, though his list is the FOR REAL "Ten Most Important Questions for Rod Rosenstein." Let’s see how much overlap we have.

Solomon includes the full quote I referenced in one of my "fun" questions (asking RR if he was joking): “There’s a lot of talk about FISA applications. Many people I’ve seen talk about it seem not to recognize that a FISA application is actually a warrant, just like a search warrant. In order to get a FISA warrant, you need an affidavit signed by a career law enforcement officer who swears the information is true...And if it is wrong, that person is going to face consequences. If we’re going to accuse someone of wrongdoing, we have to have admissible evidence, credible witnesses; we have to prove our case in court. We have to affix our signature to the charging document.”

This little lecture, highly amusing today in light of what we know, is from two years ago. You can see why I would have loved to ask him if he was joking (as he reportedly said he was about wearing a wire to secretly record the President). Rosenstein did affix his own personal signature to the final renewal of the FISA application to spy on Carter Page, in 2017. Nothing incriminating was ever found on Page, nothing to charge him with and nothing on which to base a renewal of the original application. Not even the original warrant application was based on verified evidence or a credible witness.

The Justice Department had to withdraw the very FISA warrant renewal that Rosenstein supposedly reviewed and personally signed after it was determined to be “inaccurate, undocumented, and FALSIFIED [emphasis mine] evidence.”

Rosenstein is (or should be) in a heap of trouble. He has asserted that even “the best” law enforcement officials make mistakes and that some of them are even involved in “willful misconduct.” If this is the sort of thing done by “the best” of them, then our whole justice system is in a heap of trouble.

Here, briefly paraphrased, are Solomon’s suggested questions, along with the gist of what I predict Rosenstein’s slippery answers will be...

1. Did you read the warrant against Page, review any evidence or ask questions before you signed the renewal?

RR: “THIS WARRANT HAD ALREADY BEEN INITIALLY APPROVED AND RENEWED TWO MORE TIMES AFTER THAT. BY THE FOURTH TIME, I NATURALLY ASSUMED ALL THE EVIDENCE AGAINST MR. PAGE HAD BEEN VERY WELL ESTABLISHED, SO I JUST WENT AHEAD AND SIGNED IT. HAVING TO TAKE OVER SO MANY OF MR. SESSIONS’ DUTIES AS ATTORNEY GENERAL, I WAS A VERY BUSY MAN AND SIMPLY DIDN’T HAVE TIME TO READ THE PAPERWORK OR REVIEW EVIDENCE THAT I TRUSTED.”

2. Do you now realize the application was flawed and regret signing it?

RR: “WELL, OF COURSE, I WOULDN’T HAVE SIGNED IT HAD I BEEN AWARE OF ANY PROBLEMS, BUT I HONESTLY SAW NOTHING WRONG AT THE TIME. I STRONGLY FELT IT WAS MY PATRIOTIC DUTY TO INVESTIGATE WHAT I SAW AS RUSSIA’S ATTEMPT TO HELP TRUMP BECOME PRESIDENT IN 2016, WHICH, OF COURSE, THEY DID.”

3. Given what we now know, would you still appoint Mueller as a special counsel if you had a do-over?

RR: “I REALLY FELT AT THE TIME THAT MR. MUELLER WAS THE MOST QUALIFIED PERSON FOR THE JOB. ROBERT MUELLER IS THE KINDEST, BRAVEST, WARMEST, MOST WONDERFUL HUMAN BEING I'VE EVER KNOWN IN MY LIFE. I WAS NOT ALONE IN THAT ASSESSMENT; THERE WAS AGREEMENT ACROSS THE BOARD AT THE TIME, AMONG BOTH DEMOCRATS AND REPUBLICANS, INCLUDING SOME OF THE REPUBLICANS ON THIS COMMITTEE, SEN. GRAHAM. AS FOR WHETHER I’D DO IT AGAIN, I’D RATHER NOT ANSWER A HYPOTHETICAL QUESTION.”

4. Did you talk with Andy McCabe in 2017 about wearing a wire on President Trump as part of a plot to remove him under the 25th Amendment?

RR: “WE REALLY WERE JUST KIDDING AROUND. THERE WAS NOTHING TO THAT AT ALL. NEXT QUESTION, PLEASE.”

5. Who drafted and provided the supporting materials you used to put together the “scope” memo for Mueller’s team?

RR: “OH, ALL THAT STUFF CAME FROM PETER STRZOK, SOMEONE I TRUSTED AS A FINE CAREER BUREAU OFFICIAL. PETER STRZOK IS THE KINDEST, BRAVEST, WARMEST, MOST WONDERFUL HUMAN BEING I’VE EVER KNOWN IN MY LIFE. YOU SHOULD PROBABLY TALK TO HIM.”

6. In light of new evidence, do you have any concerns about the conduct of James Comey and Andy McCabe?

RR: “I HAVE ALWAYS THOUGHT THESE MEN WERE FINE CAREER BUREAU OFFICIALS. JAMES COMEY AND ANDREW McCABE ARE THE KINDEST, BRAVEST, WARMEST, MOST WONDERFUL HUMAN BEINGS I’VE EVER KNOWN IN MY LIFE. THAT’S WHY I ALWAYS RELIED ON THEIR JUDGEMENT. I TRUSTED EVERYTHING THEY BROUGHT ME.”

7. When did you learn that Carter Page had actually been an asset for the CIA (not a Russian spy), and that the Steele “dossier” had been debunked or linked to Russian disinformation?

RR: (after leaning over and huddling with lawyers) “I DON’T RECALL.”

8. Do you think the FISA court was intentionally misled, or that it was just a case of bureaucratic bungling?

RR: “IT WAS DEFINITELY THAT LAST THING YOU SAID, ‘BUREAUCRATIC BUNGLING.’”

9. What blame do you place on yourself for the failures in the case you supervised? Who else do you blame?

RR: “I BLAME MYSELF FOR CARING SO MUCH ABOUT MY COUNTRY AND OUR SYSTEM OF JUSTICE AND LAW ENFORCEMENT, AND FOR TRUSTING MY TOP OFFICIALS TO CARRY OUT A FAIR INVESTIGATION. WHO ELSE DO I BLAME? WHY, TRUMP, OF COURSE.”

10. Do you think anyone in the Russia investigation should face criminal charges?

RR: “IT’S MY OPINION THAT NO REASONABLE PROSECUTOR WOULD TAKE SUCH A CASE.”

That’s pretty much how I think it will go. To round out the discussion, here’s a link to an excellent piece from last October that appeared in THE AMERICAN THINKER. It’s about all the information we’d amassed on the whole “Russia hoax” that was still being ignored by most in the media. Half a year later, we know even more and have much more evidence, and it’s still being ignored. Rosenstein’s testimony on Wednesday will be ignored, too. But John Durham isn’t ignoring it, and is putting his criminal case together.

The Russia hoax: The Left's willful ignorance and denial

In case you missed the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing Wednesday morning, in which former deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein was questioned, here’s Jonathan Turley’s real-time account. It’s necessarily brief, as he had to keep up with the proceedings, but you’ll get the idea of how this went down.

You’ll see that I was mostly on-target in my tongue-in-cheek forecast of what he would say to try to wriggle out of legal consequences. For example, he said he wouldn’t have signed the FISA warrant renewal if he had known about the false statements and underlying misconduct, implying he was misguided by his trust in the people responsible.

He said he didn’t know about the discrediting of the Steele “dossier” and that it had come from the Clinton campaign and Democratic National Committee. Well, of course, he didn't!

He said that four judges had already signed off on this material as if that were a defense. By the time it GETS to the judges, it’s supposed to be signed off as verified information. One of those times, the last one, that was supposed to be done by HIM. It's the judges who get to take this for granted, not him.

He also said he couldn’t recall if he read “every page” of the document he signed. Just what we thought he would say.

If he threw anyone under the bus, even a little, it appears to have been Andrew McCabe, for not being “forthcoming” and instead withholding important information, “for whatever reason." ("Whatever reason"??) Not that he’s accusing McCabe of “misrepresentations.” Huh?

We’ll have much more detail on this tomorrow morning.

Tired of it

June 3, 2020

I’m getting tired of people claiming that if you criticize the violent rioters and looters, you’re denigrating the value of black lives, the civil rights movement or the legitimate protests over the death of George Floyd. I’m seeing a lot of misplaced sympathy expressed for violent agitators who have hijacked the protests to stir up violence and racial hatred, and who are actually destroying black neighborhoods, homes and businesses, setting the protesters’ cause back, and harming the very people they falsely claim to be helping.

But since nobody wants to hear that message from a white male Republican, maybe it will make more of an impact coming from this lady. She’s an elderly African-American woman in New York City whose small shop is something she’s worked for years to build, only to come in and find the windows smashed, the stock looted and the fixtures demolished, leaving it to her to clean up their mess.

In the great tradition of no-nonsense grandmothers, she very appropriately reads these rioters the Riot Act:

“Tell me Black Lives Matter. You lied. You wanted to loot the store. You needed money? Get a job -- like I do. Stop stealing. This is a neighborhood. We’re trying to build it up, and you’re tearing it down.”

God bless this lady. Click the link to see the rest, and it’s a must-see. Rudy Giuliani is calling for Bill DeBlasio to be removed immediately as Mayor of New York. Can this lady take his place?