It turns out Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein is really, really unhappy that Donald Trump tried to blame him for the firing of FBI Director James Comey after the news was received poorly on all sides. First, Rosenstein fired back by appointing Special Counsel Robert Mueller to investigate the Trump-Russia scandal, a worst case scenario for Trump. But now Rosenstein is verbally throwing Trump under the bus over the Comey firing as well.
Trump had asked Rod Rosenstein to write a memo detailing the failings of James Comey during his FBI tenure. Trump then fired Comey and pointed to the letter as justification, although he’s since changed his story a number of times. But it’s clear now that Rosenstein isn’t willing to go down with the ship, as he just told Congress today that he wasn’t even on board with the firing.
Rod Rosenstein told Congress today that “My memorandum is not a statement of reasons to justify a for-cause termination,” according to ABC News (link) and other reports. This is a stunning development: not only has Rosenstein hired a Special Counsel to investigate his boss Donald Trump, now he’s publicly pushing back against his boss as well.
This is made all the more surreal by the fact that Donald Trump hand picked Rosenstein to be the Deputy Attorney General with the full knowledge that Attorney General Jeff Sessions had to recuse himself from the Russia investigation. Rosenstein was the guy whom Trump specifically wanted in charge of that issue. That made Rosenstein distrusted enough that it took Congress a significant amount of time to finally confirm him.
And now after just a couple weeks on the job, it appears Trump has managed to alienate Rosenstein to the point that he’s now leading the charge in trying to take Trump down from within. And now that Rosenstein is swiftly winning back the trust of Congress, it means Trump would lose even more support from Congressional Republicans if he recklessly tries to fire Rosenstein in retaliation.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report