Like the rest of you, I’ve spent the day trying to make sense of the series of events we’ve just witnessed between Donald Trump and deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. It’s clear that things have become chaotic, dire, farcical, pick your word. But here’s the thing: none of it makes any sense, not even by Trump’s usual demented standards. Within the context of last night’s press release, I can only come up with one logical explanation for Trump’s sudden attack on Rosenstein this morning.
The DOJ press release in question had Rosenstein’s name on it but was really just three sentences begging Americans not to believe any upcoming leaks to the media from overseas intel sources. The upshot was clear: Trump believed something along the longs of the mythical “Pee Pee Tape” might leak this morning, so he forced Rosenstein to put out that press release last night (or perhaps he had a staffer put it out under Rosenstein’s name – at this point who knows). But that wasn’t enough.
Right around 9:00 eastern time this morning, when you might expect a European leak to hit the newswires, Donald Trump began attacking Rod Rosenstein via Twitter: “I am being investigated for firing the FBI Director by the man who told me to fire the FBI Director! Witch Hunt” (link). Or at least we think Trump was attacking Rosenstein, as he didn’t mention his name, and it’s actually Robert Mueller who’s investigating Trump. But the tweet served its purpose: it set the media narrative for the day.
Let’s say the Pee Pee Tape had been leaked to the media this morning. It would have been a massive story, but it would have had to compete with Trump declaring open warfare against his own deputy Attorney General. As it turned out, nothing leaked this morning. Perhaps the leakers decided to hold back for another day so they wouldn’t have to compete with Trump’s distraction. But all I can figure is that Trump attacked Rosenstein this morning just to create a controversial story, in case he needed it. If you’re a regular reader, feel free to support Palmer Report
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Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report