Rosenstein: In or Out?

Trump Maladministration

There were news reports this morning that Rod Rosenstein had resigned. These turned out to be premature.

Josh Marshall:

My read here is that Kelly thought or wanted to think that Rosenstein said he was willing to resign. But he refused to resign and made clear that if they wanted him gone Trump would have to fire him. Trump didn’t have the nerve to pull that trigger. Perhaps Kelly made clear that this was something Trump needed to do himself. So here we are.

Gabriel Sherman writes for Vanity Fair:

According to a source briefed on Trump’s thinking, Trump decided that firing Rosenstein would knock Kavanaugh out of the news, potentially saving his nomination and Republicans’ chances for keeping the Senate. “The strategy was to try and do something really big,” the source said. The leak about Rosenstein’s resignation could have been the result, and it certainly had the desired effect of driving Kavanaugh out of the news for a few hours.

Sherman also writes that Trump may be privately cooling on Kavanaugh. Publicly he says he’s 100 percent behind him, but privately he’s telling people something else.

As Kavanaugh’s poll numbers plummet, Trump is telling people in private that he was never a fan of Kavanaugh’s selection, sources said. According to two people who’ve spoken with Trump recently, Trump complained that establishment Republicans foisted Kavanaugh on him, because they reasoned Kavanaugh would unite the party in November. According to one former West Wing official, Trump’s first choice was Judge Thomas Hardiman, who served on the federal bench alongside Trump’s sister Maryanne Trump Barry.

Trump is keeping his distance from the nominee. A White House official said he hasn’t spoken with Kavanaugh in recent days. “This is Brett Kavanaugh’s fight,” the White House official said.

Paul Waldman wrote this while this “in or out?” question was still unresolved:

While Trump might replace Sessions and seems likely to replace Rosenstein, both of those positions require Senate confirmation. Not only does that take some time, but also when it happens, the nominees will without question be grilled about whether they plan to fire Mueller and if they had any communication with Trump or anyone else in the White House about that possibility. By being so public and obvious about his desire to have Justice Department leadership that would quash the investigation on his behalf, Trump has made it almost impossible for anyone he appoints to be in a position to do the one thing he seeks from them.

But in any case, permanent replacements for Rosenstein and possibly Sessions wouldn’t be in place for weeks or even months. In the meantime, responsibility for the investigation would fall to Solicitor General Noel Francisco. Which may give Trump hope, because Francisco is a movement conservative who is just the kind of Republican lawyer from whom Trump might expect loyalty.

But that is no guarantee. Francisco might well refuse to fire Mueller, realizing that doing so would set him down in history as a key player in a blatant attempt to obstruct justice by halting an investigation into the president’s misdeeds for no reason other than that the president doesn’t want to be held accountable. He might even recuse himself from the Russia investigation because his former law firm, Jones Day, represents the Trump campaign.

But wait, there’s more. While the law is a little murky, it may be that if Rosenstein resigns, Trump can immediately replace him with a new acting deputy attorney general (who could then fire Mueller), while if Rosenstein is fired, he can’t.

So, Rosenstein is being pressured to resign. Got it. The word is that Rosenstein has his job until Thursday.

However, even if Rosensten resigns and Trump appoints someone who fires Mueller, that doesn’t necessarily save Trump’s guilty ass. The Mueller investigation has done an enormous amount of work, and Bob Mueller is smart enough that he no doubt has been prepared for a shutdown all along. Waldman speculates that they’ve got a running report of what they’ve found that would surely find its way into public view if the investigation were prematurely terminated. And if the Dems take over the House, next year they can  subpoena documents and witnesses and lay everything bare. And if Trump shuts down the investigation now, the political fallout would be, well, radioactive for him.

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12 Comments

12 Comments

  1. Tom_b  •  Sep 24, 2018 @4:00 pm

    Right now, Mueller is on a bit of a leash because the DoJ AT THIS TIME disapproves of indicting a sitting president. If he were let go, to mix my metaphors, “the gloves would come off”.

  2. Anonymous  •  Sep 24, 2018 @4:44 pm

    If Rosenstein quits he can't get unemployment. 

  3. Swami  •  Sep 24, 2018 @5:46 pm

    Odds are that if you filter through enough deputy attorney generals sooner or later you'll hit upon that perfect sycophant.

  4. c u n d gulag  •  Sep 24, 2018 @7:47 pm

    Another shoe dropped  (like no one saw THAT one coming!).

    More shoe's dropping soon.

    When it comes to men and sexual harrassmment, like Lays potato chips, they can't stop at just one.  

  5. Swami  •  Sep 24, 2018 @8:02 pm

    If I were Rosenstein I would protect my legacy and choose to be fired. It doesn't make for a good biography to have it said that Trump steamrolled right over you. It's always goes better no matter how you depart to have it said that you didn't surrender your principles.

     It doesn't take too much insight to see that Trump's presidency is going to go down in history as a major flop, he was never up to the job, and there is zero chance he will turn it around at any point to where he's viewed as even a ho-hum president. Ignominy is in his stars. Trump will never amount to more than the big bag of shit that he has proven to be.

  6. aj  •  Sep 25, 2018 @12:10 am

    How appropriate to fire deputy attorney general to deflect from Kavanaugh's drinking and Dick swinging.  And after the judicial crisis network  spent so much money  showing us ads of 35 yrs old white women telling us how wonderful Kavanaugh is. 

    Now two more women, and snowball. How jaded we are that the Rosenstein firing would be ho hum expected  and not likely to distract much.

  7. csm  •  Sep 25, 2018 @8:24 am

    Sounds like Rosenstein is well aware that in order to protect the investigation and his own legacy, the best option is to have Trump fire him.  Which, ironically, Trump will not do face to face; he's a coward who won't personally take on the task of firing anyone, unlike his reality TV persona. In any case, however Rosenstein would be removed from his role, the results would not be good for Trump.

    Generally, the GOP has overreached and its coming back to haunt them.  Starting with their denial of a hearing for Merrick Garland, the tax cut, undermining of the ACA; with every nakedly transparent effort made to help Trump evade and obstruct justice, and now with Kavanaugh, each move has resulted in them being backed deeper and deeper into political corners, where there are no good options.  Every move adds more fodder for the opposition to turn out to vote against them. They’re providing the grist for democratic campaign ads.

  8. c u n d gulag  •  Sep 25, 2018 @4:41 pm

    Today, I'm a little bit more worried than usual about tRUMP blowing-up the world.

    It seems this POTUS gave a speech to the UN General Assembly today, and the folks ftom the other countries laughed at him. 

    At him.  Not with him.  AT HIM!

    The last time I saw tRUMP humiliated (oh, what a treasured moment that is!), it was Obama making jokes at tRUMP's expense – on the night he directed our Navy Seals to locate, and exterminate Osama Bin Laden 'with extreme prejudice.'  

    And that motivated that this big orange "pile of shit"* to destroy America by winning the presidency.  

    And today, tRUMP just got laughed at.

    In front of the whole world!!!

    Now, it's not just Obama and us Libtards.

    No.

    THE WHOLE WORLD JUST LAUGHED AT tRUMP.

    GO MOCKERY!!!

     

  9. Bill  •  Sep 25, 2018 @5:50 pm

    I remember a history book about American presidents.  Each chapter was headed in big bold letters with number, name and a brief descriptor.

    #45 Donald J. Trump:  Lying bag of shit

    One hopes that chapter will end with how an authoritarian con artist beholden to a destructive kleptocracy was the final straw needed for radical change.  I do what I can to make this addition to that book a reality.

  10. moonbat  •  Sep 26, 2018 @11:24 am
  11. Swami  •  Sep 26, 2018 @12:21 pm

    Wow…That's a pretty strong statement to just blow off as a liberal smear job. I wonder if the hired gun from Maricopa County will question Brett about the details of that sworn statement.

     I think Kavanaugh is done!

  12. chris  •  Sep 27, 2018 @7:32 am

    "both of those positions require Senate confirmation"

    All he needs to do is take an already confirmed individual and make them AG. Betsy DeVos can be the next AG for all we know.