He has been on his way out for a while but today it’s official. As of May 11, Rod Rosenstein will no longer be Deputy Attorney General. Rosenstein’s intention to retire was announced in February but he stayed on until the Mueller report was finally released. Rosenstein is the person who appointed Mueller back in 2017. But the thing Rosenstein may be best known for at this point is an alleged incident in which he suggested (or joked, depending who you believe) wearing a wire in a discussion with the president as a way to possibly invoke the 25th Amendment and thereby remove him from office. From Fox News:
In recent months, Rosenstein became a frequent target of Trump’s ire, after FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe described private discussions about secretly recording and potentially ousting the president in the days after he fired FBI Director James Comey…
As first reported by The New York Times last year, Rosenstein allegedly discussed wearing a “wire” to tape Trump and pursuing his removal from office in meetings and conversations with Justice Department and FBI officials. This would have been in the tumultuous days after Comey was fired as FBI director, with the president citing in part a memo penned by Rosenstein — reportedly catching him off guard.
Fox News has learned one key meeting took place on May 16, 2017 at Justice Department headquarters. Several people were in the room, including McCabe and former FBI counsel Lisa Page. Mueller was appointed as special counsel the next day.
There were various accounts of what was said at that meeting. According to the Post, Rosenstein’s quote was “What do you want to do, Andy, wire the president?” Andy was Andrew McCabe, the disgraced agent fired for lying to the FBI. Rosenstein said the story was inaccurate but didn’t really explain how it was inaccurate. A source told Politico Rosenstein had said something like this at the meeting but that it was obviously sarcastic.
However, a couple of weeks later, Fox News reported that, according to James Baker’s congressional testimony, both McCabe and Lisa Page came to Baker after the meeting and mentioned Rosenstein’s suggestion about invoking the 25th Amendment. They presented it to Baker as something said in earnest. McCabe also “memorialized” Rosenstein’s comments in a memo.
It sounds pretty open and shut except for the fact that the primary source is McCabe who is a proven liar. In case you’ve forgotten, McCabe was fired for lying to the FBI about his involvement in leaking information to the press. He lied under oath which suggests his word isn’t too reliable.
Rosenstein’s resignation is a mix of personal gratitude to Trump and what could be taken as a kind of defense of his own conduct:
As I submit my resignation effective on May 11, I am grateful to you for the opportunity to serve; for the courtesy and humor you often display in our personal conversations; and for the goals you set in your inaugural address: patriotism, unity, safety, education, and prosperity, because “a nation exists to serve its citizens.”…
We enforce the law without fear or favor because credible evidence is not partisan, and truth is not determined by opinion polls. We ignore fleeting distractions and focus our attention on the things that matter, because a republic that endures is not governed by the news cycle.
We keep the faith, we follow the rules, and we always put America first.
I’m sort of expecting Trump to respond to this on Twitter but so far he hasn’t. If he does I’ll update this post.