by WorldTribune Staff, February 17, 2019
When pursued by Republicans to answer questions on whether he had planned to wear a wire to gather alleged evidence that could have led to President Donald Trump being removed from office, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein consistently said that he was “too busy” to respond.
But the departing Rosenstein did find time to grant a series of off-the-record interviews to reporters, The Hill’s John Solomon reported on Feb. 16, citing multiple sources.
“For those not privy to the ways of the media, it means Rosenstein is telling his story to reporters in a way that can’t be attributed to him. It’s a classic tactic some politicians and bureaucrats use to shape a legacy – without leaving their public fingerprints on the story line,” Solomon wrote.
Rosentstein has indicated he plans to step down as early as next week when William Barr is likely to be confirmed by the full Senate as the next attorney general.
Rep. Mark Meadows, North Carolina Republican, said that “Rod Rosenstein’s decision to clear his schedule and talk with reporters is just another example of the deputy AG’s anonymous spin to paint his decision-making in a more favorable light. When given the opportunity to be transparent and tell the truth under oath, he refused. Any stories he shares in his final days at DOJ should be met with a degree of skepticism and a heavy dose of declassification.”
Rep. Jim Jordan, Ohio Republican and ranking member on the House Oversight Committee, said: “Rod Rosenstein plotted against the president and obstructed congressional efforts to get the truth. He should be testifying before Congress, not giving rounds of press interviews to friendly reporters. As he leaves office, Mr. Rosenstein must cooperate fully with IG (Michael) Horowitz’s investigation into Justice Department media leaks. Democrats in Congress should insist on Mr. Rosenstein’s public testimony – a far better use of our time than the Lanny Davis-produced circus with Michael Cohen.”
With Democrats now in control of the House, the judiciary and oversight committees are unlikely to press Rosenstein to answer under oath such questions as:
- Did he really talk with FBI officials about a plan to wear a wire and record President Trump, in a plot to gather evidence that would support removing the president from office under the Constitution’s 25th Amendment?”
- Did he really do adequate due diligence and read the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant he signed that gave the FBI a fourth period of time to spy on Trump adviser Carter Page?
- Did he allow outdated information to be submitted, or exculpatory evidence to be omitted, from the warrant request he submitted to the nation’s secret intelligence court?
“With House Republicans unable to get their answers and, now, out of power on the committees, the only line of direct GOP inquiry will be newly-minted Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham,” Solomon noted. “Graham has signaled he plans aggressive oversight on the issue of possible FISA abuses in the Russia probe.
“The question now is whether the information Rosenstein is passing to reporters in his farewell tour will become part of that inquiry.”