Sunday, September 23, 2018

Is Rod Rosenstein Leading the Resistance?

Along with Alan Dershowitz and Steven Cohen, Mark Penn counts as a liberal Democrat who does not skew his political analysis. He worked for Bill Clinton. He worked for Hillary Clinton. And yet, he has not joined the Resistance… and thus has not weaponized his opinions in order to get Donald Trump.

Among the stories that have occupied our minds these past few days, we count the New York Times revelation that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein once contemplated taping conversations with President Trump, and to use the tapes to rally cabinet members to the cause of removing Trump from office via the 25th amendment.

As you know, the Times has stood by its story. Rosenstein has denied the story, explaining that if he talked about wearing a wire, he was being sarcastic. And Rosenstein also announced, somewhat belatedly, that he was not the author of the anonymous Times op-ed explaining that the Resistance was functioning within the Trump administration.

For the record, and based on no special information, I initially suspected that Rosenstein had authored the piece. If the Times is confident in its recent story about Rosenstein’s comments, perhaps they are basing theirs opinion on their knowledge-- they are the only ones who know-- of the identity of the author of the Anonymous op-ed.

Mark Penn analyzed the Rosenstein revelation in a column for The Hill. He began with a discussion of the “deep state,” explaining what it is, whether it is, and what it is trying to do:

People bristle when I sometimes adopt and use that term: “deep state.” But as an outside observer, watching the unmasking of the actions of one official after another at the FBI, CIA and DOJ, I have come to accept that an unelected group of well-educated, experienced individuals running these departments became inebriated with their own power during the last election campaign and apparently came to believe they were on a mission to stop, defeat or remove President Trump and his associates for crimes they would find or, if necessary, manufacture.

A cabal at the highest reaches of the FBI, the CIA and DOJ. Hmmm. How many of these people were Obama appointees? How many of them had taken Obama to be their Messiah? Think about the politics behind their actions, and their effort to undermine a democratic election.

But Rosenstein’s statement in response to the news accounts carefully avoids denying having discussed wiring himself or others in some effort to entrap Trump. This cabal is meeting and planning, post-Comey’s firing, despite the fact that Rosenstein himself in his memo to President Trump said Comey was “wrong” and the FBI could not regain lost public trust without a new director who understood his errors.

It seems Rosenstein also may have believed we needed a new president. Just days into his expanded role and after these conversations, he appointed Robert Mueller as special counsel with a still-secret charter to investigate the Trump campaign and administration; the precipitating act was the very firing he recommended.

Is Rod Rosenstein leading the Resistance from within the government. Amazingly, these deep state actors are trying to undermine democracy in the name of what they call democracy.

Arrogantly, Penn writes,

... those in the deep state ... convinced themselves that they would rescue our country from ourselves. They were on a mission, it turns out, not to save our country but to undo our democracy, and Rosenstein finally has been unmasked as having the attitudes and conflicts we all suspected.

What do the Washington elites really think? Penn explains:

Whether it involved sending missiles to Syria after chemical attacks on civilians, moving the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, or firing Comey, Trump actually has moved ahead and done some of the things that Washington elites complain about but go along with out of some extreme sense of caution and timidness. And those acts are then branded as some kind of lunacy.

It doesn’t matter what Trump does. The deep state actors say that it is a species of madness. But really, Penn continues, was it madness to consider assassinating Syrian dictator Assad. What if we ask about some of the foreign policy failures of his predecessors?

Perhaps the true headline item in Bob Woodward’s book, “Fear,” is that Trump was so incensed at the murdering of women and children by Syria’s Bashar Assad that he actually raised the idea of taking out the dictator responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of his own people. Sheer madness? Hardly. President Obama stood idly by as mass murder happened in Syria, and President Clinton’s biggest regret is that he did too little to stop the massacres in Rwanda; he believes 300,000 lives could have been saved had he sent in troops earlier. It’s presidential inaction in the face of madness that has proven most dangerous to the world. Ask the Crimeans.

Should Trump fire Rosenstein? Should he do it before or after the mid-term elections?

Rosenstein’s most vociferous supporters are saying that firing him would be another Nixonian Friday night massacre.

Trump supporters trust no one any more. They believe that the story of Rosenstein’s comments about the 25th amendment was designed to goad Trump into causing a constitutional crisis by firing Rosenstein. Thus, Trump supporters are saying not to do it, at least not now.

As for seeing Rosenstein as the leader of an in-house Resistance, Penn explains:

Until now, Rosenstein has escaped real scrutiny despite this series of defiant statements and actions. He managed to make it impossible for the president to step in and remove him, or for Congress to supervise him, claiming he reports to some higher authority that he defines as his commitment to the rule of law.

Trump does have other options. Among the most intriguing is to appoint a second special prosecutor to investigate the in-state Resistance:

After the midterms, though, he could instruct the attorney general to appoint — or, perhaps, do so directly himself — a second special prosecutor to investigate the actions of the FBI, CIA and DOJ in the Clinton and Trump investigations. Over 70 percent of Americans in the Harvard/CAPS poll believe such a counsel should be appointed now. If Democrats take over Congress, there will be no way without that appointment to continue investigations that have turned up real malfeasance of the sort by these officials. Democrats have other plans for their investigative powers, if they get them.

And also:

Whatever you want to call these well-heeled members of the intelligence community and Justice Department, many of whom now have book and speaking contracts, it is clear they all engaged in a conspiracy to bring down this administration on the basis of unverified information, and to turn the most basic acts of presidential power, like the firing of Comey, into obstruction of justice.

The more information that comes out here, the ever more egregious the actions of all of these officials appear in the light of day.


Dr I. Dreg said...

Perhaps the most amusing aspect off this slow-motion coup attempt is the ostentatious virtue-signaling of these "resistance" drag queens.

IMO, "fifth column" is a better description than "deep state".

And remember...

"SJWs always lie."
--- Vox Day

And, in empathy with the spitting outrage that the witless cat's paw of the hour is not being called "Dr" Ford, I also demand respect. Henceforth, you may call me Herr Professor Doktor Irredeemable Dreg.
-- TW

Sam L. said...

Maybe he is, and maybe he's a pawn about to be sacrificed by the Real Swampers.

Sam L. said...

For your amusement, I just ran across this: America’s love affair with amateur advice.

Ares Olympus said...

I don't consider myself part of any "resistance". I consider Trump democratically elected, within the structure of the Electoral College. I see at least a 25% minority who consider Trump as something this country needs, whether to make America great again, or at least cause trouble for the "elite" who control everything, even if Trump's tax cuts effectively reward the "elites" with the lowest effective tax rates they've had in our lifetime.

But anyway, I guess I don't take this personally since I've done pretty well, and don't feel personally threatened by walls or travel bans, etc. I do wonder what would have happened if Trump had managed to win the poplar vote but lost the EC. My brother-in-law convinced his parents to buy a gun a month before the election, believing there would be civil war, but I guess you can read a lot of scary opinions on the internet. But how wrong was Trump when he said he could shoot someone on 5th Ave and not lose any votes?

Overall it seems like people like to throw things, like rocks and see what happens, and so people thought they'd throw Trump at the country, just to see what happens. So maybe they're like me, and don't feel Trump can cause problems for them personally? The harder problem is to know what can become broken irreversibly, but maybe things have already broken, and people like Michael Moore are right - things will keep getting worse until sufficient the people relearn how civics work and get involved in something real that does affect them personally. And we'll need lots more of that as the Federal system slowly sinks like the Titanic.

Sam L. said...

I have just read that Rosenstein has resigned.

Anonymous said...

Ares Olympus, interesting post.

Your brother in law's reaction doesn't seem too irrational to me, although the only threats a gun is likely to protect him against are possibly petty level criminals at best. I'm pretty certain if that if a Trump, Obama or whatever miscellaneous regime were out to 'get' your brother in law's gun would do him next to little good.

Ares Olympus said...

Anon@1:30pm, I don't think my brother in law was afraid of a president or government disarming anyone. So yes, must be petty hungry criminals during a civil war, maybe like a world where everyone turns on the nightly news to update themselves and renew their fears. In practice the civil war might just as well look like my brother-in-law going out for a smoke at 3am, and tripping over the garbage can and coming in and getting shot by his dad. Fortunately he has MinnesotaCare and the emergency room is close.

Myself I've more imagined perhaps I should look into bullet proof layers in the siding of my house, and have large plywood boards ready and nails ready when someone shoots out some of my windows. Here's one! No gunfire in my neighborhood yet, but as Robert Frost said "Bullet resistant walls make good neighbors."