It’s always much easier to connect the dots after the event. To put it in baseball terms, sometimes the connections become apparent as the game progresses. That is what appears to be happening in Russiagate. Let’s explore.
If you notice I have not spent much, if any, time defending Rob Rosenstein during Russiagate. Early on I had a gut feeling that something was amiss. (Later in this article I’ll unveil another gut feeling regarding another player in this drama.) Seeing as to how Rosenstein was involved in the cover-up memo Trump requested/ordered as part of the firing of then-FBI Director James Comey how could he be put in charge of overseeing the investigation? If nothing else wasn’t he a material witness?
With the value of hindsight Rosenstein was either a willing accomplice or a coward. Either he willingly attempted to assist Trump in hiding his true motivation or Trump simply intimidated him into “authoring” the memo. Of course Trump blew the entire charade when he admitted to NBC’s Lester Holt that he had made up his mind that he was going to fire Comey anyway. To compound his sin Trump bragged to Sergey Kislyak and Sergey Lavrov that he fired Comey to take the heat off himself.
Then there were the couple of days where Rosenstein’s job appeared to hang by a thread with Trump holding the “sword”. Recently the press has reported that a teary eyed Rosenstein begged for forgiveness and assured Trump that was “On his team” and could “Land the plane”. I guess you could call that a loyalty pledge.
Interestingly Bill Barr used a variation of the same metaphor in open testimony before a Congressional committee. To dodge a question Barr said he would say no more about the Mueller report because he was in the process of “Landing the plane”. If anyone thinks Barr was playing to anything other than an audience of one and that one is named Donald Trump they are sadly mistaken.
When Barr held his press conference to announce that he was releasing a redacted version of the Mueller report in a few hours Rosenstein dutifully stood behind Barr in an attempt to add credibility to Barr. Barr continuously lied and totally mischaracterized Mueller’s findings. Rosenstein stood still; never batting an eyelash, rolling his eyes or shaking his head. Rosenstein may not have directly lied that day but he certainly abetted a lair in the Attorney General.
This week Rosenstein finally submitted his long anticipated resignation to Trump. In it he thanked and praised Trump. What I found most disturbing is that he acknowledged multiple private conversations with Trump. What kind of investigator has private conversations with the subject of the investigation? History will describe Rosenstein with a lot of words but I don’t think integrity or wisdom will be among them.
I held off on criticizing Rosenstein not out of some sort of liberal bias but because I only had feelings to go on and no real facts. Well this was another case where my gut was correct. Now, as promised I will reveal another name that looks like a hero now but I don’t think will be when the game gets to the closing innings. That name is Don McGahn.
Too many times he is metaphorically the superhero entering the burning building. I am always skeptical of Superman stories. True heroes do exist but they are few and very far between. If someone is so squeaky clean why would they spend any appreciable time in this White House? Better yet, why would they risk their reputation by getting involved with Trump in the first place.
Rosenstein may have piloted the plane, but considering the American people were paying him I’d say he crashed it and his only concern was himself. He’s not a casualty; at least not yet.
I’ll close with a bit of wordplay. Today is May Day, basically an international Labor Day which is not celebrated in America. We have our own Labor Day in early September. The international distress signal for a sinking ship or crashing plane is called a mayday. Let’s hope that Russiagate doesn’t end up being a mayday situation for American democracy.
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