Rod Rosenstein is nothing if not a survivor. Rumors have swirled around Washington for months that the president would fire Rosenstein — who is Bob Mueller’s boss — but Rosenstein is too smart to let that happen.
Several weeks ago Rosenstein brilliantly announced that Trump was not a “target” of Mueller’s probe, and by doing that took away any excuse he would have for getting rid of the Deputy Attorney General.
Yesterday, during an epic Twitter meltdown, Trump tweeted:
“I hereby demand, and will do so officially tomorrow, that the Department of Justice look into whether or not the FBI/DOJ infiltrated or surveilled the Trump Campaign for Political Purposes – and if any such demands or requests were made by people within the Obama Administration!”
I hereby demand, and will do so officially tomorrow, that the Department of Justice look into whether or not the FBI/DOJ infiltrated or surveilled the Trump Campaign for Political Purposes – and if any such demands or requests were made by people within the Obama Administration!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 20, 2018
Within several hours Rosenstein had issued an official statement in response to the president’s unhinged threat. Instead of getting defensive or combative (which Trump would do in similar circumstances) he offered to go along with the requested inquiry into the FBI and DOJ (Department of Justice).
“If anyone did infiltrate or surveil participants in a presidential campaign for inappropriate purposes, we need to know about it and take appropriate action,” Rosenstein’s statement said.
Later DOJ spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Flores issued her own statement, saving that “the Inspector General will consult with the appropriate U.S. Attorney if there is any evidence of potential criminal conduct.”
She went on to say that the new investigation will “include determining whether there was any impropriety or political motivation in how the FBI conducted its counterintelligence investigation of persons suspected of involvement with the Russian agents who interfered in the 2016 presidential election.”
By going along with Trump’s request Rosenstein has removed any possible excuse Trump would have for firing him. Rosenstein has nothing to fear from the new investigation because he knows the FBI and the DOJ have done nothing wrong.
“Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein appears to be trying to pre-empt Trump’s official request by saying he’s happy to allow an independent investigation. The thing DoJ officials are most concerned about is the exposure of confidential sources and documents, which Trump still hasn’t formally ordered Rosenstein to do.”
With his latest move Rod Rosenstein has once again shown that we are lucky to have him as our Deputy Attorney General in charge of the Mueller investigation. He must keep his job at all costs in order to protect Mueller. Nobody knows what Trump will do next, but for now at least, it appears that Rosenstein has dodged a bullet and the Mueller investigation is safe for a while longer.
I am a lifelong Democrat with a passion for social justice and progressive issues. I have degrees in writing, economics and law from the University of Iowa.