Rod Rosenstein is currently testifying before the Senate and it’s not going well. While there will no doubt be a lot more to come out as the day unfolds, there have already been some highlights that are worth hitting.
For example, Rosenstein is admitting that he had no evidence by which to start the Mueller investigation.
If he had no evidence at all of collusion, why did he sign off on it? Who signs off on a special counsel based on nothing? It’s one thing to have lower-level prosecutors chase rabbits, but it’s a completely different thing to appoint a special counsel, which is typically predicated on probable cause that needs to be handled without conflicts of interests. Instead, Rosenstein, having no evidence of anything, let the dogs loose and told them to have fun.
If you watch his testimony, he’s doing his best to deflect blame to everyone else. That’s a weak excuse for the guy who was supposedly in charge. In fact, it appears that he let Mueller write his own scope memo.
Again, Rosenstein claims he signed off based on incomplete information. This was the most politicized case in our history and he gave Mueller a blank check without even having all the information? It’s insanity.
As I’ve written before, Rosenstein is not a victim here. He was intimately involved and his attempts to straddle the fence are weak and pathetic. His handling of the Mueller investigation was not simply ignorance on his part. We know that he was well aware of the conspiracy theories floating around given he expressed a desire to wear a wire while talking to the President. He didn’t think to actually gather evidence of such? That makes no sense at all because it’s clearly not true.
Rosenstein also claims that he would not have signed the Page FISA if he knew about the lack of evidence and that the Steele Dossier was discredited. Numerous DOJ officials are documented as being aware of the dossier’s problems at the time. The idea that Rosenstein didn’t know doesn’t pass muster, nor is it an excuse for his lack of due diligence on such a high profile matter.
It’s absolutely incredible just how corrupt the FBI and DOJ were in the first few years of the Trump administration (and the current FBI isn’t much better). What’s just as incredible is that they think they can play dumb and make it all go away. Rosenstein is just as culpable as Andrew McCabe and James Comey. While Lindsey Graham is doing his best in this hearing to cover for the guy, it’s not working out very well.