For two years we were led to believe that Rod Rosenstein was a true pillar of justice and honesty at the DOJ, working diligently to keep the Mueller Investigation on the right track, providing a solid defense to Trump's constant attempts to actively ruin everyone and everything he touches with his greed, inability to respect the rule of law and his flat out criminality.
It looks like we were wrong.
The Washington Post is reporting that Rosenstein wasn't nearly as strong or forthcoming as we thought. In fact, it looks like his weakness and desperation to keep his job meant he gave up any ability to stave off Trump's well known demand for loyalty, leading Rosenstein to tell Trump he was "on his team".
Speechless. I am speechless.
The reporting is shocking. It starts off by providing details on a conversation between Rosenstein and Trump shortly after news broke about Rosenstein talking about wearing a wire. It states that Rosenstein "had gotten teary-eyed just before the call in a meeting with Trump’s chief of staff" and that he chose to "assure the president he was on his team." After basically pledging his loyalty, he went on to tell Donald Trump that "he would make sure Trump was treated fairly", whatever that means. And oddly enough, at the end of the call, he said “I can land the plane.”
Oddly enough, during Bill Barr's confirmation hearing, he also used a plane reference, stating "I am landing the plane right now."
The Washington Post tried to spin it, stating that Rosenstein had to walk a "political tightrope" to try to keep his job, calm an "often angry Trump" and protect the Mueller investigation.
Rosentein, who often remains quiet, responded to the Post with a statement: “The only commitment I made to President Trump about the Russia investigation is the same commitment I made to the Congress: so long as I was in charge, it would be conducted appropriately and as expeditiously as possible. Everyone who actually participated in the investigation knows that. My relationship with the President is not one-dimensional. The Russia investigation represents only a fraction of my work and the work of the Department of Justice. I talk with the President at every opportunity about the great progress we have made and are making at the Department of Justice in achieving the Administration’s law enforcement priorities and protecting American citizens.”
An administration official made it clear that Rosenstein's "team" comment led Trump to believe that they were definitely on the same team....so, loyalty? It was also noted that Rosenstein told Trump *numerous times* that he was not a "target" of the investigation. Even more shocking, the Washington Post reports that Rosenstein "told the president more than once that he agreed Trump was being treated unfairly."
Responses were fast and furious. Matthew Miller, a former DOJ spokesman from the Obama administration was blunt: “I think Rod’s intentions were largely in the right place, but he was weak too many times when the country needed him to be strong. He didn’t have to allow the attorney general to use his name in his letter and the press conference, but he has too often been willing to sacrifice his reputation to please people above him.
Twitter was even more incredulous:
How much did Rosenstein curtail Mueller's investigation? Did he reject subpoenas to interview Trump or his children? What was watered down in the report before it even got to Barr? How much clean up did he do for his "teammate"?