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.