Rod Rosenstein Resigns, Having Served His Country As Deputy Attorney General
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The deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein, who had overseen Robert Mueller‘s Russia probe, will resign within the next month. He will depart following the confirmation of William Barr appointed by President Trump to replace the former attorney general Jeff Sessions. Much of Rosenstein’s tenure at the Department of Justice was underscored by attacks from President Trump, who objected to his appointment of Robert Mueller to replace James Comey (who was fired by Trump in 2017). Trump unceremoniously ousted Sessions and replaced Sessions with acting attorney general Matthew Whitaker, a Mueller critic who publicly discussed ways to undermine the Russia probe prior to getting the appointment. It has been apparent that Trump was angling to quash the Muller probe and Rosenstein had been playing the role of the protector of the Mueller’s Russia probe. But as the investigation has come to the end and a New Democratic majority in the House, Rosenstein’s role as a defender is no longer as necessary. He has served his country well and he is entitled to free himself from further attacks.
The appointment of William Barr raised some serious questions about the future of Mueller probe. In a 19-page memo, Barr criticized Mueller’s investigation, especially with regards to the special counsel’s reported focus on obstruction of justice and efforts to subpoena or question the president. When being asked about Barr’s memo last month, Rosenstein said, “Our decisions are informed by our knowledge of the actual facts of the case, which Mr. Barr didn’t have.”
NBC New’s sources claimed that the Mueller’s Russia probe is likely to conclude by mid to late February, with possible timeline change should there be any unforeseen investigative developments.
More details on the subject of Rod Rosenstein’s involvement with Mueller probe and his tenure as the Deputy Attorney General, excerpt from wikipedia, in italics, below:
On May 8, 2017, President Trump directed Sessions and Rosenstein to make a case against FBI Director James Comey in writing. The next day, Rosenstein handed a memo to Sessions providing the basis for Sessions’s recommendation to President Trump that Comey be dismissed. In his memo Rosenstein asserts that the FBI must have “a Director who understands the gravity of the mistakes and pledges never to repeat them”. He ends with an argument against keeping Comey as FBI director, on the grounds that he was given an opportunity to “admit his errors” but that there is no hope that he will “implement the necessary corrective actions.”
After administration officials cited Rosenstein’s memo as the main reason for Comey’s dismissal, an anonymous source in the White House said that Rosenstein threatened to resign. Rosenstein denied the claim and said he was “not quitting,” when asked directly by a reporter from Sinclair Broadcast Group.
On May 17, Rosenstein told the full Senate he knew that Comey would be fired before he wrote his controversial memo that the White House initially used as justification for President Trump firing Comey.
On May 17, Rosenstein appointed Robert Mueller as a special counsel to conduct the investigation into “any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump” as well as any matters arising directly from that investigation. Rosenstein’s order authorizes Mueller to bring criminal charges in the event that he discovers any federal crimes. Rosenstein said in a statement, “My decision is not a finding that crimes have been committed or that any prosecution is warranted. I have made no such determination. What I have determined is that based upon the unique circumstances the public interest requires me to place this investigation under the authority of a person who exercises a degree of independence from the normal chain of command.”
In an interview with the Associated Press, Rosenstein said he would recuse from supervision of Mueller, if he himself were to become a subject in the investigation due to his role in the dismissal of James Comey. Under that scenario, supervision would have fallen to DOJ’s third-ranking official, Associate Attorney General Rachel Brand. Rachel Brand resigned on February 20, 2018, leaving the responsibility to Jesse Panuccio.
In April 2018, Rosenstein reportedly personally approved the FBI raid on President Trump’s attorney, Michael Cohen, in which the FBI seized emails, tax documents and records, some of them related to Cohen’s payment to adult-film star Stormy Daniels. After ad interim U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Bermanhad recused himself, the search was executed by others in the office of the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York and approved by a federal judge.
Eleven House GOP members filed articles of impeachment against Rosenstein on July 25, 2018, alleging he has stonewalled document requests from Congress and he mishandled the 2016 election investigation. Rosenstein has denied the allegations. No such impeachment was brought to the floor, with Ryan and Meadows backing down. Subsequently, it was revealed that Devin Nunes wanted to impeach Rosenstein, but was concerned that attempting to do so would delay the confirmation of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
On September 21, 2018, The New York Times reported that Rosenstein suggested, in the spring of 2017 shortly after the dismissal of Comey, that he could secretly tape conversations between himself and Trump, using those recordings against Trump. He also allegedly suggested invoking the 25th amendment to attempt to remove Trump from office. Rosenstein strongly denied it, and other reporting suggested he had been sarcastic in his reference to taping Trump. The report gave rise to rumors that he would be fired.
Rosenstein went to the White House on September 24, where he met with Chief of Staff John Kelly; according to some reports, he offered his resignation. Following the meeting, the White House issued a statement that Rosenstein retained his position as Deputy Attorney General and would meet with Trump on September 27. Due to the ongoing hearings of Brett Kavanaugh, Rosenstein met with Trump on October 8; Rosenstein would not be fired afterwards. Further, Rosenstein agreed to meet with House Republicans within the next two weeks.
Gathered, written, and posted by Windermere Sun-Susan Sun Nunamaker
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