Deep State Stonewall: Rosenstein Won’t Admit DOJ Paid for Trump Dossier
The House Judiciary Committee put Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein in the hot seat on Wednesday, demanding that he answer for some of the disturbing revelations that have recently come to light about the Trump/Russia investigation.
Because Attorney General Jeff Sessions unwisely and unnecessarily recused himself from the investigation, Rosenstein has become the head honcho at the Justice Department in relation to all things having to do with the 2016 election. He’s the man Special Counsel Robert Mueller reports to (insofar as he reports to anyone). And he’s the one who must explain to Congress and the American people why anyone should still take this investigation seriously after all that we’ve learned.
Unfortunately, if that was Rosenstein’s mission when he came to Capitol Hill this week, it was one he did not accomplish. Instead of being forthright and honest about the deep, systemic problems in the Justice Department and the FBI, he hedged and deflected, angering more than a couple of Republicans on the committee.
In one particularly heated exchange, Rep. Ron DeSantis asked Rosenstein point-blank if the DOJ had given Fusion GPS or former British spy Christopher Steele any money for the overhyped campaign claptrap that has come to be known as the Trump Dossier.
“Did the FBI pay for the dossier?” DeSantis asked.
“I’m not in a position to answer that question,” Rosenstein replied.
Sensing the evasiveness, DeSantis pushed on. “Do you know the answer to the question?”
“I believe I know the answer,” Rosenstein said, “but the Intelligence Committee is the appropriate committee—”
DeSantis interrupted him to insist that the Judiciary Committee had “every right to the information” about who paid for the controversial dossier, but Rosenstein refused to cough up the answer. Which, to any reasonable observer, means that the answer is obviously yes.
Later, discussion turned to the hundreds of text messages that have been released, showing top FBI counterintelligence agent Peter Strzok communicating anti-Trump sentiments with his mistress, Lisa Page.
“This is unbelievable,” Rep. Jim Jordan said of the messages. “This guy thought he was super agent James Bond at the FBI.”
Citing the text messages and other problematic conflicts within the Mueller investigation, Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte said, “We are now beginning to understand the magnitude of this insider bias on Mueller’s team. Aren’t DOJ attorneys advised to avoid even the ‘appearance of impropriety’?”
“It’s our responsibility to make sure those opinions do not influence their actions,” Rosenstein said. “I believe Director Mueller understands that, and recognizes people have political views but that they don’t let it [affect their work.]”
When Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY) asked Rosenstein if he’d seen any good reason to remove Mueller from his position as Special Counsel, the deputy AG said, “No.”
Which makes us wonder what WOULD convince Rosenstein that Mueller is incapable of carrying this investigation through to its conclusion without losing half the country upon presenting the evidence. This inquiry is already so steeped in bias and controversy that it will convince only the most partisan Democrats of any guilt on the part of Trump and his associates, assuming Mueller ever gets around to actually delivering a coherent case. If there are questions to be answered about “collusion” – and we’re not sure there are – then Mueller is no longer the man to answer them.
Sessions needs to “unrecuse” himself and straighten this mess out before it takes down a U.S. president on the basis of nothing but smoke and sizzle.