So much for the bromance, eh? The New York Post chatted with Donald Trump about his retweet of a meme yesterday showing a number of people behind bars, including special counsel Robert Mueller and Trump’s own deputy Attorney General, Rod Rosenstein. Was that RT a mistake? Absolutely not, Trump insisted:
It was no accident that President Trump Wednesday retweeted an image of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein locked up.
When asked during an interview with The Post: “Why do you think he belongs behind bars?” Trump responded: “He should have never picked a Special Counsel.”
If that’s the case, why is Rosenstein still deputy AG? Trump didn’t answer that question:
The president declined to answer a question on whether he intends to fire Rosenstein, but stood by his firing of Comey.
“Thank God I fired Comey,” Trump said. “Because if I didn’t fire Comey, we wouldn’t know about (Andrew) McCabe, we wouldn’t know about (Peter) Strzok and his lover Lisa Page.”
This sounds like a lot of reverse-engineering to avoid having to admit that he acted foolishly with the retweet. If that’s what Trump really thinks, he would have fired Rosenstein along with Jeff Sessions earlier this month. In fact, Trump had a perfect excuse to fire Rosenstein two months ago after the New York Times reported that Rosenstein had “suggested” a 25th Amendment end to Trump’s presidency, which Rosenstein emphatically denied saying at all, as well as advising people to tape any conversations they had with Trump. For a few days it looked as though Trump would fire Rosenstein, but in the end he decided to keep him on board. Why do that if Rosenstein belongs behind bars for a decision he made 18 months ago?
Don’t think about it too hard, though. Trump’s rolling on Robert Mueller this week, continuing to press the “McCarthy style Witch Hunt” line about the special counsel probe this morning:
It hasn’t actually proven anything yet, since it’s not yet complete. Today’s developments demonstrate that better than we’ve seen in a while.
The reason Mueller and his “Angry Democrats” haven’t looked at Hillary Clinton is because the Department of Justice hasn’t authorized them to investigate her. The DoJ is more than capable of doing that itself, by the way, if they see probable cause for such an investigation. If it’s too politically hot to touch — and it probably would be — they’d have to appoint another special counsel, not Robert Mueller, a move that Trump himself could order … if he’s willing to take the political heat for it. It would set a very bad precedent, but it’s still within his authority. (A more independent AG –such as a Michael Luttig — would have stronger credibility in making that decision.)
Is Rosenstein about to get fired … again? Maybe, although this sounds more like presidential venting than anything like a plan. If Trump fired Rosenstein with Whitaker still in place as acting AG, he might face a barrage of criticism even from Senate Republicans, who were making noises about passing a protect-Mueller bill this week. That would leap to the top of the agenda in the wake of a Rosenstein departure. But the biggest problem is that it’s just far too late to fire Rosenstein over Mueller. The time to do that was 18 months ago, not last September or now. The Mueller investigation is not going to vanish if he fires Rosenstein — it will only take on more mythic proportions.