Stop Pretending

Longtime federal prosecutor Rod Rosenstein arrives at the Senate Judiciary Committee for his confirmation hearing to be deputy attorney, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, March 7, 2017. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
Longtime federal prosecutor Rod Rosenstein arrives at the Senate Judiciary Committee for his confirmation hearing to be deputy attorney, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, March 7, 2017. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

A lot of people have been (maybe just had been) pretending or hoping that Rod Rosenstein somehow wasn’t quite understanding the decision he was party to. I’ve heard he was in a professional bubble, naive in political terms. This must be somehow like career Army intelligence officer Michael Flynn didn’t understand the US’s historic rivalry with Russia.

Now we’re hearing that days before his firing, Comey asked Rosenstein for more money and personnel for the Trump/Russia probe. Yes, boom!

This is explosive news. I believe it was first reported by the Times but only by a few minutes. It was quickly followed by confirmation by numerous other news outlets. It’s not clear whether the Times just hit publish first or whether the other news outlets jumped into action to independently confirm the Times story once it was published. For our purposes, it doesn’t matter.

Let’s walk through just the hows and whys of the news itself.

Because Sessions recused himself from the Russia probe, it devolved to the Deputy Attorney General. That’s Rosenstein.

Rosenstein was confirmed for the position on April 25th. So he’s been in office for roughly two weeks.

In that period, he received Comey’s request for what appears to have been an expanded probe – that’s what more money and people means. And with that request under advisement he penned a memo, at the request of the Attorney General, justifying the firing of Comey. The precise order of events we do not yet know. But it’s all in a very tight timeframe – about two weeks.

As many have noted with Flynn, no one is this naive. No one. No career Justice Department official who in his memo justifying Comey’s ouster wrote specifically about the need to maintain public confidence in the administration of justice, the DOJ and the FBI. This is silly. Rosenstein should be fired.

Obviously saying he should be fired has no meaning in itself. Only Trump can fire him. That’s not remotely close to happening. But let’s not pretend he has any business in the job.

 

 

Dear Reader,

When we asked recently what makes TPM different from other outlets, readers cited factors like honesty, curiosity, transparency, and our vibrant community. They also pointed to our ability to report on important stories and trends long before they are picked up by mainstream outlets; our ability to contextualize information within the arc of history; and our focus on the real-world consequences of the news.

Our unique approach to reporting and presenting the news, however, wouldn’t be possible without our readers’ support. That’s not just marketing speak, it’s true: our work would literally not be possible without readers deciding to become members. Not only does member support account for more than 80% of TPM’s revenue, our members have helped us build an engaged and informed community. Many of our best stories were born from reader tips and valuable member feedback.

We do what other news outlets can’t or won’t do because our members’ support gives us real independence.

If you enjoy reading TPM and value what we do, become a member today.

Sincerely,
TPM Staff
Latest Edblog
  • |
    June 26, 2022 2:29 p.m.

    Just after I wrote the post below I got a new email form Joe Biden. No, Joe and I aren’t…

  • |
    June 26, 2022 2:14 p.m.

    In bleak times amid onslaughts from the right there’s a tendency for many Americans on the liberal or leftward side…

  • |
    June 26, 2022 12:56 p.m.

    A new CBS News poll shows Americans see the Court decision overturning Roe as a “step backward” rather than a…

Masthead Masthead
Founder & Editor-in-Chief:
Executive Editor:
Managing Editor:
Associate Editor:
Investigations Desk:
Reporters:
Newswriters:
Director of Audience:
Editor at Large:
General Counsel:
Publisher:
Head of Product:
Director of Technology:
Associate Publisher:
Front End Developer:
Senior Designer: