RSN Fundraising Banner
FB Share
Email This Page
add comment
Print

Lithwick writes: "On Friday, the Department of Justice detonated a legal bombshell, announcing the indictment of 13 Russian nationals and three Russian companies accused of interfering in the 2016 presidential election. It was just as fascinating to watch who was doing the detonating."

U.S. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein announces the indictment of 13 Russian nationals and three Russian organizations for meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election on Friday. (photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images)
U.S. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein announces the indictment of 13 Russian nationals and three Russian organizations for meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election on Friday. (photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images)


It's Going to Be Much, Much Harder for Trump to Fire Rod Rosenstein Now

By Dahlia Lithwick, Slate

19 February 18

 

n Friday, the Department of Justice detonated a legal bombshell, announcing the indictment of 13 Russian nationals and three Russian companies accused of interfering in the 2016 presidential election. It was just as fascinating to watch who was doing the detonating. Standing at the podium was Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, Donald Trump’s much-reviled “Democrat from Baltimore,” who is widely believed to be just barely hanging on to his day job as special counsel Robert Mueller’s minder and whose deputy has just lurched off the national stage for a gig at Walmart.

This was a fairly impressive piece of political maneuvering. On the one hand, it makes any attempt by Trump to remove Rosenstein an even more explicit obstruction of justice. Rosenstein has, after all, just publicly linked himself to indictments of Russians (foreigners!) who tried to throw the election to Trump. He’s also linked himself even more tightly with Mueller and the special counsel’s investigation, which turned up the evidence presented in Friday’s indictment. Rosenstein now indisputably stands for the proposition that Russia interfered in the election and that anyone who denies this is lying. Earlier this week, incidentally, CNN reported that “Trump still isn’t buying that Russia interfered in the 2016 election.”

Perhaps most importantly, Rosenstein—merely by standing at that podium—presented a unified front, backing up the proposition that the DOJ as a whole (with the possible exception of attorney general Jeff Sessions) takes Russian interference seriously. And in stating up front that nothing in this indictment alleges that “any American was a knowing participant in this illegal activity,” he cleared the Trump campaign of knowing collusion. For now.

Obviously, things can change, but for today Rosenstein has allowed the president himself and Sean Hannity types to scream “no collusion” even when the door hasn’t been shut on that possibility. Effective Friday afternoon, Rosenstein looks to be on the side of protecting us from Russian meddling. He’s also given some cover to the president, a fact that might protect him from Trump’s morning rage tweets, at least for a week or two. And hovering silently over Friday’s telenovela was “Bobby Three Sticks” Mueller. He says nothing. Nothing is leaked. That silence is powerful, as theater goes.

The fact that I believe Rosenstein just rendered himself a little bit more bulletproof likely means he is less so. Jed Shugerman of Fordham Law School reminds me via email that the fact that the optics have changed doesn’t mean Rosenstein is actually safe. “Until Congress passes a veto-proof bill to protect Mueller from firing without cause, what makes Trump think that there would be a significant cost to firing Mueller or Rosenstein?” Shugerman asks. “Every indictment raises the stakes of obstruction but also increases the chance of a temper tantrum firing with no clear consequences until Congress changes hands. If Congress can’t pass a Mueller statute, in the very least the Senate Intelligence Committee needs to make a more public stance.”

In other words, soberly intoning that someone has just rendered themselves bulletproof, in the face of a president who has said he could shoot people on Fifth Avenue with impunity, is never smart. But on this day, at this hour, I can’t help thinking Mueller and Rosenstein just pulled off a slick move that protects the independence of the DOJ, at least for the moment. With this president, that’s about the best you can do.

e-max.it: your social media marketing partner
 

Comments   

A note of caution regarding our comment sections:

For months a stream of media reports have warned of coordinated propaganda efforts targeting political websites based in the U.S., particularly in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election.

We too were alarmed at the patterns we were, and still are, seeing. It is clear that the provocateurs are far more savvy, disciplined, and purposeful than anything we have ever experienced before.

It is also clear that we still have elements of the same activity in our article discussion forums at this time.

We have hosted and encouraged reader expression since the turn of the century. The comments of our readers are the most vibrant, best-used interactive feature at Reader Supported News. Accordingly, we are strongly resistant to interrupting those services.

It is, however, important to note that in all likelihood hardened operatives are attempting to shape the dialog our community seeks to engage in.

Adapt and overcome.

Marc Ash
Founder, Reader Supported News

 
-13 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2018-02-20 11:08
It may be that making Rosenstein and Mueller bulletproof was the original intent of what appears to be a hastily drawn up indictment of 13 Russians. It has all the looks of a "slick move." As reported in the Wash Post and elsewhere, much of the narrative of the indictment was actually plagiarized from an article in Russia and a Voice of America story -- both from 2015, well before the Trump campaign.

But I don't think Trump would ever fire Mueller or Rosenstein. That would be as must as to admit some guilt -- at least in the eyes of the media. The 13 Indicement had knocked the Nunes memo out of the news, but DOJ Inspector General is still investigating Rosenstein and his role in fabricating the Steele Dossier. If Rosenstein goes, it would be a resignation following an ethics violation. He has an obvious conflict of interest.

The same goes for Mueller. He was chosen by the Comey-Stzrok-Ro senstein-McCabe -Ohr-Etc. cabal that was committed to Hillary from the very start. They are now committed to a soft coup against Trump. Comey has said he leaked classified papers to the NYT in order to provoke an appointment by Rosenstein of a special prosecutor. Did he discuss with Rosenstein and Mueller this gambit before he provoked it? The Inspector General is looking into this.
 
 
-9 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2018-02-20 15:42
I just ran across this article by Ray McGovern:


Nunes: FBI and DOJ Perps Could Be Put on Trial

House Intelligence Committee Chair Devin Nunes has stated that “DOJ and FBI are not above the law,” and could face legal consequences for alleged abuses of the FISA court, reports Ray McGovern.

It is on Information Clearing House. The House committee is zeroing in on people in the DOJ and FBI for criminal prosecution. That would surely include Rosenstein and maybe Mueller. But in any case, it would be the end of Russiagate.

McGovern thinks this is likely. I'm less sure. I really don't see anyone as powerful as Comey being charged criminally. We don't have a justice system that is independent and courageous enough to do that. The FBI kills people it does not like. It has a long history of this. It protects its own, always has.

We will see. This is going to get really vicious now that charges of vastly greater weight have been made against FBI and DOJ leadership. Trump is not even involved with any of this.

Trump is being tried in the media. I wonder how many people really give a shit about what the major media say? I'd say it is a very small number.
 

THE NEW STREAMLINED RSN LOGIN PROCESS: Register once, then login and you are ready to comment. All you need is a Username and a Password of your choosing and you are free to comment whenever you like! Welcome to the Reader Supported News community.

RSNRSN