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Rosenstein Joins the Posse

“With the stroke of a pen, Rod Rosenstein redeemed his reputation,” writes Dana Milbank of The Washington Post.

What had Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein done to be welcomed home by the Post like the prodigal son?

Without consulting the White House, he sandbagged President Trump, naming a special counsel to take over the investigation of the Russia connection that could prove ruinous to this presidency.

Rod has reinvigorated a tired 10-month investigation that failed to find any collusion between Trump and Russian hacking of the DNC. Not a single indictment had come out of the FBI investigation.

Yet, now a new special counsel, Robert Mueller, former director of the FBI, will slow-walk his way through this same terrain again, searching for clues leading to potentially impeachable offenses. What seemed to be winding down for Trump is now only just beginning to gear up.

Also to be investigated is whether the president tried to curtail the FBI investigation with his phone calls and Oval Office meetings with FBI Director James Comey, before abruptly firing Comey last week.

Regarded as able and honest, Mueller will be under media pressure to come up with charges. Great and famous prosecutors are measured by whom they convict and how many scalps they take.

Moreover, a burgeoning special counsel’s office dredging up dirt on Trump and associates will find itself the beneficiary of an indulgent press.

Why did Rosenstein capitulate to a Democrat-media clamor for a special counsel that could prove disastrous for the president who elevated and honored him?

Surely in part, as Milbank writes, to salvage his damaged reputation.

After being approved 94-6 by a Senate that hailed him as a principled and independent U.S. attorney for both George Bush and Barack Obama, Rosenstein found himself being pilloried for preparing the document White House aides called crucial to Trump’s decision to fire Comey.

Rosenstein had gone over to the dark side. He had, it was said, on Trump’s orders, put the hit on Comey. Now, by siccing a special counsel on the president himself, Rosenstein is restored to the good graces of this city. Rosenstein just turned in his black hat for a white hat.

Democrats are hailing both his decision to name a special counsel and the man he chose. Yet it is difficult to exaggerate the damage he has done.

As did almost all of its predecessors, including those which led to the resignation of President Nixon and impeachment of Bill Clinton, Mueller’s investigation seems certain to drag on for years.

All that time, there will be a cloud over Trump’s presidency that will drain his political authority. Trump’s enemies will become less fearful and more vocal. Republican Congressmen and Senators in swing states and marginal districts, looking to 2018, will have less incentive to follow Trump’s lead, rather than their own instincts and interests. Party unity will fade away.

And without a united and energized Republican Party on the Hill, how do you get repeal and replacement of Obamacare, tax reform or a border wall? Trump’s agenda suddenly seems comatose. And was it a coincidence that the day Mueller was appointed, the markets tanked, with the Dow falling 372 points?

Markets had soared with Trump’s election on the expectation that his pro-business agenda would be enacted. If those expectations suddenly seem illusory, will the boom born of hope become a bust?

A White House staff, said to be in disarray, and a president reportedly enraged over endless press reports of his problems and falling polls, are not going to become one big happy family again with a growing office of prosecutors and FBI agents poking into issues in which they were involved.

Nor is the jurisdiction of the special counsel restricted to alleged Russia interference in the campaign. Allegations about Trump’s taxes, investments, and associates, and those of his family, could be drawn into the maw of the special counsel’s office by political and business enemies enthusiastic about seeing him brought down.

More folks in Trump’s entourage will soon be lawyering up.

While it’s absurd today to talk of impeachment, that will not deter Democrats and the media from speculating, given what happened to Nixon and Clinton when special prosecutors were put on their trail.

Another consequence of the naming of a special counsel, given what such investigations have produced, will be that Vice President Pence will soon find himself with new friends and admirers, and will begin to attract more press as the man of the future in the GOP.

A rising profile for Pence is unlikely to strengthen his relationship with a besieged president.

In the United Kingdom, the odds are growing that Trump may not finish his term.

So how does he regain the enthusiasm and energy he exhibited in previous crises, with such talk in the air?

A debilitating and potentially dangerous time for President Trump has now begun, courtesy of his deputy attorney general.

Patrick J. Buchanan is a founding editor of The American Conservative and the author of Nixon’s White House Wars: The Battles That Made and Broke a President and Divided America Forever [1].

31 Comments (Open | Close)

31 Comments To "Rosenstein Joins the Posse"

#1 Comment By Wilfred On May 18, 2017 @ 9:58 pm

Any way we can get a Special Counsel to investigate Hillary?

#2 Comment By Whine Merchant On May 18, 2017 @ 10:10 pm

“…Mueller’s investigation seems certain to drag on for years. All that time, there will be a cloud over Trump’s presidency…”

The cloud is already there and would remain until 2020. At least this way there is a chance to let the sun [eventually] shine though.

Thank you –

#3 Comment By Fran Macadam On May 18, 2017 @ 11:56 pm

Recall the famous adage that a competent district attorney could successfully indict a ham sandwich.

Political trials are infamously witch hunts, and there isn’t a witch hunt that couldn’t miraculously find any number of witches to burn.

#4 Comment By William Dalton On May 19, 2017 @ 12:23 am

The appointment of former director Mueller to take charge of an investigation too hot for Rosenstein or anyone in his department to file a report on, particularly if no prosecution will be recommended, does not presage this affair will continue interminably. Months of work have already been put into the matter by the FBI. Mueller may arrive, ask those agents for a summary of what they have unearthed, say, “I don’t see anything here. Do you think further work by you will uncover more?”, and if they respond, “No”, Mueller might very well take what he is given, file a report saying no prosecution is warranted, just as Jim Comey did in the Clinton matter, and go home. The man is retired with honor. He doesn’t need to make a name for himself with this or any other case. The last thing he wants to find out is that there is evidence that might result in the impeachment and criminal prosecution of the President of the United States.

#5 Comment By StrategyK On May 19, 2017 @ 2:59 am

Wasnt pat a happy supporter of the special counsel investigating clinton? Now suddenly he is against such counsels? How about some priciples Mr buchanan?

#6 Comment By StrategyK On May 19, 2017 @ 3:13 am

And here is a hat tip for you aggrieved folks here. Trump brought this on himself. He could have avoided it all by simply letting Comey do his job. If there really is nothing in the Russia story, then Comey would have come up with nothing.

Trump has been used to running a family business all his life and a fake TV show as well where his and only his word runs. That is not how the government functions and nor should it be.

What happened to the famous negotiator? The one who could make great deals? Who would learn quickly how to navigate the waters and make things happen. This person seems non existent. Lets see some of that please.

#7 Comment By Dakarian On May 19, 2017 @ 7:16 am

I’m with William here. Right now this whole thing is being treated as a political weapon, with democrats trying to use it to gut Trump’s agenda and Republicans using it to rally the troops and mark their enemies for future slaughter.

The appointment realizes that this isn’t fun and games politics. This is a charge of conspiracy with foreign entities to undermine a country. It’s time to stop playing around and actually treat this thing like adults.

The situation was already going to be dragged on for years since Congress has no real teeth and Trump has no clue how to let things calm down. So worst case we get what we were already going to get.

But if nothing is there, the appointment could find that and declare for Trump that there’s nothing to prosecute. Past experience shows that things calm down after that for the general public. Trump also gets his win so he won’t be pushed to keep poking at the thing.

If there is something there, it’s time to stop playing cute and start getting serious with it.

Either way, this is a good thing for the country long term.

As for Trump’s agenda, it’s already dead. Trump has proven to be good and reviving the dead, given his business post bankruptcies and his campaign. But this needs to be settled first.

As far this: “Any way we can get a Special Counsel to investigate Hillary?”

Ask Trump. He promised to do just that on the campaign trail then shrugged and said that it was all just campaign talk once he got elected.

You want Clinton instigated like that, vote for people known for keeping promises.

#8 Comment By John Gruskos On May 19, 2017 @ 8:57 am

Justin Raimondo correctly explains the significance of this development:

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#9 Comment By Liam On May 19, 2017 @ 9:16 am

Wall Street swooned *not* because Trump’s “populist” agenda is endangered but rather because Alt-Trump’s bait-and-switch pro-Wall Street agenda is endangered. That Pat Buchanan cannot distinguish these is stunning to behold.

#10 Comment By SDS On May 19, 2017 @ 10:06 am

“All that time, there will be a cloud over Trump’s presidency that will drain his political authority”

“A debilitating and potentially dangerous time for President Trump has now begun, courtesy of his deputy attorney general.”

Seriously; Mr. Buchanan; Trump’s political authority is being drained by Mr. Trump’s asinine performance…. and the special counsel was named due to his asinine performance as well.

And, yes, I voted for the guy; all the while holding the unrealistic hope that he would behave like an adult….evidently a pipedream.

Peggy Noonan was right on today; and Mr. Trump has no one to blame but himself….
Certainly not Mr. Rosenstein.

And you know it, too….you’ve worked for too many SERIOUS people to not…

#11 Comment By elizabeth On May 19, 2017 @ 10:22 am

And if Hillary Clinton had been inaugurated in January, there wouldn’t be a dozen Congressional committees pursuing specious investigations, egged on by right wing media? (Even this comment thread carries one such demand, and she is not in office.)

This is one outcome of a poisoned body politic. Roger Ailes was there at the beginning, and we are all sickened by his legacy.

#12 Comment By Jack On May 19, 2017 @ 10:40 am

Unfortunately, Buchanan seems to have ignored the fact that Rosenstein’s decision to appoint a special prosecutor was sparked by Trump’s precipitous and unnecessary decision to dismiss Comey.

It was a foolish decision and now he’s paying a price for it.

#13 Comment By Dan Green On May 19, 2017 @ 10:53 am

One has to hand it to the Democrats. This strategy to get the ruling elite class back in both houses of congress and bring forth a shining night in armour for their next candidate is well crafted. The Clintons messed up the Obama Hope and Change Rhetoric.

#14 Comment By ukm1 On May 19, 2017 @ 10:55 am

U.S. President D.J. Trump is himself 100% responsible for the political and legal debacles where he is in now and will be in for any foreseeable future!

From the very outset of his presidency, U.S. President D.J. Trump either hired people who were against his presidential campaign all the time of last year or cozied up to perpetual political opponents while distancing himself from the very patriotic people who gave him the electoral college victory last November.

Like Pres. Dick Nixon did, U.S. President D.J. Trump will also politically kill himself with one political misstep after another by giving his political opponents whatever they demand until it will be too late to reverse the course.

#15 Comment By Kurt Gayle On May 19, 2017 @ 10:57 am

John Gruskos (8:57 a.m.) is right. Justin Raimondo’s column today is a “must read”:

“The real power in this country doesn’t reside within the ballot box…After months of leaks coming from the intelligence agencies, who bitterly oppose the new policy, and a barrage of innuendo, smears, and character assassination in the media, the will of the people has been abrogated: the Deep State has the last word. The denizens of Langley, and the career spooks within our seventeen intelligence agencies, have exercised their veto power – a power that is not written into the Constitution, but is nevertheless very real. Their goal is to not only make détente with Russia impossible…but also to overthrow a democratically elected chief executive…No matter what you think of Trump, this is an ominous development for all those who care about the future of our republic…What we are witnessing is a “regime-change” operation, such as our intelligence agencies have routinely carried out abroad, right here in the United States…This pernicious campaign is an attempt to criminalize dissent from the foreign policy “consensus.” It is an effort by powerful groups within the national security bureaucracy, the media, and the military-industrial complex to stamp out any opposition to their program of perpetual war…The reign of terror is about to begin: anyone who opposes our interventionist foreign policy is liable to be labeled a “Kremlin tool” – and could face legal sanctions.

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#16 Comment By Bob K. On May 19, 2017 @ 11:05 am

You tell it like it is, Pat!

Once someone has sold his soul to the “dark side” his own reputation with it comes before the welfare of the Nation!

#17 Comment By David Smith On May 19, 2017 @ 11:37 am

What goes around, comes around. The Republicans did the same thing to Bill Clinton. Remember, if you can do it to them, they can do it to you. Be careful about the precedents you set.

#18 Comment By Adriana I Pena On May 19, 2017 @ 11:57 am

Has anyone considered that the opposition from career bureaucrats is due to their past experience as to what works and what doesn’t?

They can recognize a half-baked plan, concocted by someone who has only a hazy idea of what goes on (the guy who managed to admit that health care was “complicated” after touting on the campaign trail that it was easy). Add to it stubborness and unwillingness to learn, and those bureaucrats may think that they are staring at an accident waiting to happen.

What would you do in their place?

#19 Comment By Derek On May 19, 2017 @ 12:51 pm

“All that time, there will be a cloud over Trump’s presidency that will drain his political authority. Trump’s enemies will become less fearful and more vocal. Republican Congressmen and Senators in swing states and marginal districts, looking to 2018, will have less incentive to follow Trump’s lead, rather than their own instincts and interests. Party unity will fade away.”

Maybe, just maybe, if supporters like Pat didn’t spend their every waking hour excusing Trump’s inexcusable behavior and actually attempted to hold him accountable or rein in his worst excesses, Trump would not have felt so comfortable asking Comey to “let [Flynn’s investigation] go.”

For four straight months everyone outside the Trump bubble has been sounding the alarm that his increasingly unhinged behavior was leading him down exactly this path. His supporters have chosen to engage in whataboutism and insist that he’s done nothing wrong except run afoul of an illegitimate worldwide conspiracy against him and his supporters.

Trump is here because of the choices he made. The Deputy AG that he nominated, the acting AG who warned him about Flynn and the FBI director he tried to roll over and then fire are the ones who are bringing about his downfall. At what point does Trump have to take responsibility for his own behavior?

#20 Comment By MM On May 19, 2017 @ 1:04 pm

“Any way we can get a Special Counsel to investigate Hillary?”

Or Lois Lerner at the IRS, perhaps.

After all, the reason that investigation was buried was because the DOJ itself was involved in the original decision to go on a fishing expedition/witch hunt, targeting primarily conservative non-profit groups.

If any situation would justify a Special Counsel, it would’ve been that one.

#21 Comment By Michael Sheridan On May 19, 2017 @ 2:23 pm

I really don’t care about Rosenstein’s “reputation.” Not long ago I’d never heard of him, which is a good thing in a bureaucrat. Bureaucrats shouldn’t have work-related reputations outside their agency, unless they run it.

However, and regardless of Rosenstein’s probity or lack of same, Mr. Buchanan is perhaps one of the last people on earth who should weigh to say AGAIN that a political investigation of a President he favors is inappropriate and should be ended. It is likely Mr. Buchanan is sincere in his sentiments. However, this appears greatly like a repeat of past events. He was and is loyal to his former boss, President Nixon. Buchanan, [3]:

“And the mandate that the American people gave to this president and his administration
cannot and will not be frustrated, or repealed or overthrown as a consequence of the incumbent tragedy.”

#22 Comment By mrscracker On May 19, 2017 @ 3:00 pm

I actually sent Pres. Trump an email last night to tell him most folks where I live think he’s doing a fine job & that I was really disturbed by the way the media’s been treating him.
I didn’t vote for him in the primary, but I did in the election. He’s already delivered on a couple of the most important reasons I voted for him. And that may be part of why the other side is so intent on discrediting him. They’re afraid of what he may nominate/ change/enact next.
I don’t think Mr. Trump really seriously intended to be the nominee-at least in the beginning- but people channeled their anger at the system through him & he won.

#23 Comment By MountainSon On May 19, 2017 @ 6:32 pm

“Has anyone considered that the opposition from career bureaucrats is due to their past experience as to what works and what doesn’t?

They can recognize a half-baked plan, concocted by someone who has only a hazy idea of what goes on (the guy who managed to admit that health care was “complicated” after touting on the campaign trail that it was easy). Add to it stubborness and unwillingness to learn, and those bureaucrats may think that they are staring at an accident waiting to happen.

What would you do in their place?”

Well, they could put their respective heads down and do their jobs. Or resign on principle. But, they just cannot help themselves, being our betters and all. Besides, walking away from a cushy federal retirement is not ever gonna happen. Feeding at the federal trough for 20+ years is a gig no sane progressive would ever pass up. Work for a living? Moi?

#24 Comment By Stephen Gouild On May 19, 2017 @ 9:03 pm

Mrscracker:most folks where I live think he’s doing a fine job & that I was really disturbed by the way the media’s been treating him.

It’s partly because of the way the media’s been treating him that so many of his supporters think he’s doing a fine job.

Of course, the media is treating him badly by insisting on reporting what he’s actually saying and doing – but to far too many of his supporters, the mere fact of opposition from the non-alt-media is enough to cement their loyalty.

#25 Comment By TR On May 19, 2017 @ 10:26 pm

Fran MacAdam: I once had a U. S. Attorney criticize me for giving the ham sandwich example, and proceed to give me a civic lesson on grand juries that even a boy scout wouldn’t believe. But he thought I would.

William Dalton: Unfortunately, the history of special prosecutors is against you. They take forever, and the last thing they want is to be accused of being soft or not looking hard enough, etc. They’re not satisfied until they can find something. And given enough time, I could probably find something on the most righteous man in the land. That’s why they are a very bad idea.

#26 Comment By FreeOregon On May 19, 2017 @ 11:30 pm

Wasn’t Colin Powell also regarded as able and honest?

#27 Comment By Joe from PA On May 20, 2017 @ 8:29 am

On the bright side …. at least Trump is too clumsy and loud to elude the constraints on his office and the law, generally speaking. It would be worse if Hillary was in their and put a Happy face on abuse of power, obstruction of justice, and other corruption.

Trump won’t get away with his abuses. The lesson the people ought to draw on this episode is that over the Bush and Obama administrations, we allowed for an acceleration toward tyranny with all the power Congress let the executive branch and the Presidency usurp.

Hopefully, with the disastrous rise of Trump (after two immediate past presidents for whom a great case existed for impeachment), we will now rejest the president as Santa Claus or gift giver notion.

But, I will say that a bad lesson would be to find a more polished abuser of power. We wouldn’t want a Happy Hillary in their getting away with stuff!

(Happily, Trump is delivering on pro life and will hopefully realize his trade and immigration rhetoric was all for naught — as his radical populist ideas there would put our economy backwards.)

#28 Comment By Kurt Gayle On May 20, 2017 @ 12:40 pm

Two thumbs way-up to mrscracker who says: “I actually sent Pres. Trump an email last night to tell him most folks where I live think he’s doing a fine job & that I was really disturbed by the way the media’s been treating him. I didn’t vote for him in the primary, but I did in the election. He’s already delivered on a couple of the most important reasons I voted for him. And that may be part of why the other side is so intent on discrediting him. They’re afraid of what he may nominate/ change/enact next.”

That’s exactly what I’m hearing, too, mrscracker. Last night a friend in South Carolina wrote: “The political climate continues to deteriorate. I am amazed at the pure hatred I see displayed in the press and from the Democrats. I don’t believe much of the news I hear. At this point I don’t believe there is anything to find on the Russian connection to the Trump campaign or administration. But, I am so suspicious of the Democrats that I fear there is always the possibility of their planting something. I hope he has a safe trip overseas.”

#29 Comment By Patricus On May 20, 2017 @ 6:04 pm

Mrs. Cracker is the most sensible commenter in this “conservative” site. Trump is flawed in many ways but he was better than the rest of the candidates. Maybe he is a deep KGB mole elected solely through Russian efforts. I doubt that story and suspect the citizens of Pennsylvania, Michigan, Ohio, Florida and Wisconsin had something to do with his election. It was the quality of his competition that elected Trump. Who really pays attention to all these special investigations and special prosecutors? How many people know or care who Comey is? That name will be forgotten. Remember Ken Starr? How about major budget cuts for the FBI and a lot more agencies.

#30 Comment By EngineerScotty On May 20, 2017 @ 6:21 pm

A posse is needed when there’s an outlaw to be caught.

#31 Comment By Mark T On May 20, 2017 @ 7:45 pm

this link regarding Comey is worth a look. Ms. Fitts is worth reading too about financial matters in general, and you can be sure she will never be on CNBC or any other other financial programs. She was on RT once but usually the only media that will let her on is George Noory’s late night radio program. Her unspeakably true history of the stock market might be the single most insightful thing ever written on the matter

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