Saturday, September 22, 2018

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein Wants to Remove Trump?

It's a stock cliche in sitcoms. Someone, either a hapless husband or a low ranking worker, makes fun of his termagant wife or vindictive boss. Everyone around him laughs. The newly minted comedian proceeds to make nastier jokes, do impressions, or sell wolf tickets about how if his wife or boss gives him any lip, he'll show his wife just who wears the pants in this family, knock his boss into the middle of next week, or tell his boss to take this job and shove it someplace that's difficult to remove. Unfortunately the man doesn't notice that his audience has stopped laughing, has drifted away, or is suddenly pretending that his jokes are offensive. Then the man turns around to see an enraged wife or boss standing there glaring at him. At this point the man pretends that he has temporarily lost his mind,  claims to be his long lost twin brother, says he's in the wrong office/home or throws himself on the often non-existent mercies of his wife or boss.

It's a funny cliche. Perhaps Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein can appreciate the humor involved in this old bit. Maybe Rosenstein hopes that his boss, President Trump can find something to laugh about in the reports that Rosenstein was considering wearing a wire around Trump and attempting the modern equivalent of a palace coup.

WASHINGTON — The deputy attorney general, Rod J. Rosenstein, suggested last year that he secretly record President Trump in the White House to expose the chaos consuming the administration, and he discussed recruiting cabinet members to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove Mr. Trump from office for being unfit.

Mr. Rosenstein made these suggestions in the spring of 2017 when Mr. Trump’s firing of James B. Comey as F.B.I. director plunged the White House into turmoil. Over the ensuing days, the president divulged classified intelligence to Russians in the Oval Office, and revelations emerged that Mr. Trump had asked Mr. Comey to pledge loyalty and end an investigation into a senior aide.

Mr. Rosenstein was just two weeks into his job. He had begun overseeing the Russia investigation and played a key role in the president’s dismissal of Mr. Comey by writing a memo critical of his handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation. But Mr. Rosenstein was caught off guard when Mr. Trump cited the memo in the firing, and he began telling people that he feared he had been used.

Mr. Rosenstein made the remarks about secretly recording Mr. Trump and about the 25th Amendment in meetings and conversations with other Justice Department and F.B.I. officials. Several people described the episodes in interviews over the past several months, insisting on anonymity to discuss internal deliberations. The people were briefed either on the events themselves or on memos written by F.B.I. officials, including Andrew G. McCabe, then the acting bureau director, that documented Mr. Rosenstein’s actions and comments.

None of Mr. Rosenstein’s proposals apparently came to fruition. It is not clear how determined he was about seeing them through, though he did tell Mr. McCabe that he might be able to persuade Attorney General Jeff Sessions and John F. Kelly, then the secretary of homeland security and now the White House chief of staff, to mount an effort to invoke the 25th Amendment.
Mr. Rosenstein disputed this account.

“The New York Times’s story is inaccurate and factually incorrect,” he said in a statement. “I will not further comment on a story based on anonymous sources who are obviously biased against the department and are advancing their own personal agenda. But let me be clear about this: Based on my personal dealings with the president, there is no basis to invoke the 25th Amendment.”

Rosenstein has denied the validity of this NYT report. Who knows. It could of course all be someone lying and hoping to goad Trump into firing Rosenstein and then presumably hiring someone who will fire Mueller. Or maybe it's all true. Perhaps someone has Rosenstein on tape or video saying and doing the things he now denies.  We will see. Either way it shows that Trump doesn't inspire confidence or loyalty in some of the people who interact with him. Trump of course has the right to fire Rosenstein. If he believes these news reports he probably should. 
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