Rosenstein Saves His Job — Tells Trump He’s Not A Criminal Target

You don’t get to be Deputy Attorney General of the United States by being dumb.  And Rod Rosenstein just proved how really smart he is.

Rosenstein recently communicated to President Trump that he is not a “target” of any federal criminal investigation Michael Cohen, Trump’s longtime attorney and “fixer.”

Trump has been very angry ever since the FBI raided Cohen’s home and office, and he has been venting his anger frequently on twitter.  Many reports indicated that the president was seriously discussing finding a way to get rid of Rosenstein.

And if Rosenstein is forced to leave his position as deputy attorney general it is widely thought that his replacement (probably hand picked by Trump) would be able to get rid of Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

None of this makes logical sense, because getting rid of Rosenstein and Mueller would throw the country into a so-called “constitutional crisis” and would severely harm Republicans in upcoming elections.  But Trump is not known to always act logically, and there has been widespread concern that Rosenstein would soon be gone.

So it came as a great relief to many when it was reported that soon after Rosenstein told Trump he was not a criminal “target” Trump started telling his advisers that it was “not the right time” to dispose of the deputy attorney general.  He also said he didn’t want to do anything to drag out the investigation, and is anxious to get it over as quickly as possible.

According to Bloomberg, who broke the story, “The shift gives some breathing room for Mueller, as well as Rosenstein, who has been criticized strongly by House Republicans for being slow to comply with requests for classified documents. Last week’s meeting was set up in part to allow Rosenstein to assuage Trump’s frustration with his decisions.”

But what does it really mean to tell Trump he is not a “target?”  James Comey had an opinion on this topic, expressed during his current media blitz.

“I don’t know what it means. It is a fairly standard part of any investigation — trying to decide whether a person you’re encountering is a witness, a subject or a target,” Comey said Thursday when asked what Rosenstein’s assurance to Trump means at this point.

A target is someone about whom an investigation and a grand jury “developed significant evidence — evidence sufficient to charge,” Comey said.

Trump may not officially be a target, but Mueller hasn’t ruled out making him one at some point in the future.  So assurances at this point don’t really mean anything.

Rosenstein was smart to tell Trump he is not a “target” because it not only saved his job and Mueller’s, but also protected the integrity of the special counsel’s investigation.  It may have even saved our country.