It all started with a three sentence press release that was so bizarre, you knew there had to be more to it. Now it’s dissolved into everything from a public attack on the current deputy Attorney General, to the prospect of a new deputy Attorney General – and the picture isn’t less clear now than it was last night. All we know for sure is that all hell has broken loose between Donald Trump and Rod Rosenstein.
It started last night with a Department of Justice press release that had Rosenstein’s name on it but sounded like little more than a glorified Trump rant about not believing leaks in the media. With still no explanation for what was really behind the release, Trump tweeted the following this morning: “I am being investigated for firing the FBI Director by the man who told me to fire the FBI Director! Witch Hunt” (link). This seemed to be a direct attack on the integrity of Rosenstein.
There are several problems with Donald Trump’s tweet. One is that Rod Rosenstein is no longer in charge of investigating the Trump-Russia scandal; Special Counsel Robert Mueller is. The other is that while Rosenstein did write a memo regarding FBI Director James Comey’s firing, Trump went on to admit during a television interview that he was planning to fire Comey no matter what Rosenstein said. And it’s since surfaced that Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, who is also under investigation, was the one who pushed Trump to fire Comey.
So where does this leave us? If Trump fires Rod Rosenstein, or pressures him into recusing himself, then Rachel Brand would become the new deputy Attorney General. Would she be willing to fire the Special Counsel, or would she act like an adult? That’s not yet clear. But this morning’s tweet from Trump could have been nothing more than an intentional distraction from a major impending leak about him from the foreign intel community, which he clearly fears is going to surface any minute.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report