Rod Rosenstein was a key “coup” plotter against President Trump, according to a number of experts. And he will be the first person to testify before the Senate concerning the massive FISA abuse scandal conducted by the Obama administration with the goal of eliminating Trump.
Senate Judiciary Committee will hear from former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein as its first key witness in a series of hearings being held related to the Trump-Russia investigations and misuse of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.
Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, the committee’s chairman, made the announcement about Rosenstein’s appearance, sending out a Wednesday press release for a hearing titled “Oversight of the Crossfire Hurricane Investigation: Day 1,” which is set for June 3 in the Dirksen Senate Office Building.
“I am grateful to Chairman Graham for the opportunity to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee about information that has come to light concerning the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act process and the FBI’s counterintelligence decision-making, as a result of completed inquiries by Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz and ongoing reviews by U.S. Attorneys John Durham and Jeff Jensen,” Rosenstein said in a statement. “During my three decades of service in law enforcement, I learned firsthand that most local, state, and federal law enforcement officers deserve the high confidence people place in them, but that even the best law enforcement officers sometimes make mistakes and that some engage in willful misconduct.”
Republicans and Democrats alike will no doubt grill Rosenstein about his actions as the overseer of the Russia investigation (a role given to him after then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself in the early days of the Trump administration), such as appointing special counsel Robert Mueller.
“We can only hope to maintain public confidence if we correct mistakes, hold wrongdoers accountable, and adopt policies to prevent problems from recurring,” Rosenstein added in his statement.
[Short pause for composure, because this is seriously the most offensive thing he could have said.]
“Mr. Rosenstein will testify about the new revelations contained in the Horowitz report concerning the FISA warrant applications and other matters,” Graham said. “This will be the first in a series of oversight hearings regarding all things Crossfire Hurricane and the Mueller investigation.”
Rosenstein, whose memo on FBI Director James Comey was used by President Trump to justify Comey’s May 2017 firing, also signed off on the fourth and final FISA request targeting Trump campaign associate Carter Page in June 2017. Republicans believe the FBI abused the FISA process to target people in Trump’s orbit.
Horowitz’s December report criticized the Justice Department and the FBI for at least 17 “significant errors and omissions” related to the FISA warrants against Page in 2016 and 2017 and for the bureau’s reliance on British ex-spy Christopher Steele’s deeply flawed dossier. Steele put his research together at the behest of the opposition research firm Fusion GPS, funded by Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign and the Democratic National Committee through the Perkins Coie law firm. Recently declassified footnotes show the FBI was aware that Steele’s dossier may have been compromised by Russian disinformation and used it anyway.
Information unearthed by Jensen, the U.S. attorney for the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri, included FBI records touted by retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn’s lawyer, Sidney Powell, as exculpatory evidence heretofore concealed from the defense team. They suggest that Flynn may have been unfairly targeted and that then-FBI agent Peter Strzok and others in the FBI’s leadership stopped the bureau from closing its investigation into Flynn in early January 2017 after investigators uncovered “no derogatory information” on him. Emails from later that month show that Strzok, along with then-FBI lawyer Lisa Page, sought out ways to continue investigating Flynn, including through the Logan Act. The Justice Department cited Jensen’s investigation when it moved to dismiss the Flynn case earlier in May.
U.S. Attorney John Durham, handpicked by Attorney General William Barr for the job, is carrying out an investigation of the Trump-Russia investigators that is expected to wrap up this summer.
Rosenstein authorized Mueller to investigate “any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump.”
The second Mueller scope memo, written by Rosenstein in August 2017, authorized Mueller to investigate allegations against Carter Page, Flynn, former Trump campaign foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos, and former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort. The allegations against Carter Page in the memo echoed claims made against him in Steele’s unverified anti-Trump dossier, and the claims leveled against Flynn reference the possibility that he broke the law under the Logan Act during his discussions with Russia’s ambassador to the United States, which were picked up in a U.S. surveillance operation.
The third Mueller scope memo, authored by Rosenstein in October 2017, has not been declassified yet. However, it was described in Mueller’s April 2019 report, which said the Russians interfered in the 2016 election in a “sweeping and systematic fashion” but that investigators “did not establish” any criminal conspiracy between Trump’s campaign and Russia.
Mueller’s report laid out 10 possible instances of obstruction of justice. Barr and Rosenstein said they examined the evidence and concluded that it did not rise to the level of obstruction of justice, but Democrats still saw it as a road map for impeachment.
Rosenstein is also likely to be asked about reports that he discussed wearing a wire into the Oval Office or invoking the 25th Amendment before picking Mueller. Rosenstein denied the reporting. Sources told NBC News that he was only joking about secretly recording the president.
He also said this year that he was the DOJ official who authorized the release of the anti-Trump text messages between Strzok and Lisa Page.
He resigned from his post as second-in-command at the Justice Department last spring, shortly after Barr took over as attorney general.
Incidentally, here is Devin Nunes explaining how Rosenstein actually ran the entire coup and subsequent Mueller probe, which was designed as a way to cover the failed coup:
Likewise, here’s Andrew McCarthy explaining that the second ‘scope memo’ had to be written by Rosenstein because there was NO collusion: