this time the donkey gets it

Trump Blasts Deputy AG: “I’m Being Investigated By Man Who Told Me To Fire The FBI Director! Witch Hunt”
Tyler Durden, Zero Hedge, Jun 16 2017

Pres Trump’s latest twitter target seems to be his own Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein, who he blasts for the hiring of a Special Counsel to investigate the firing of former FBI Director James Comey, after writing a letter himself explicitly calling for the firing of James Comey.

Of course, Trump’s message isn’t crystal clear on exactly who the subject of the tweet is and has left some wondering whether he might actually be referring to Special Counsel Mueller. That said, we would note that if Mueller did in fact weigh in on the firing of Comey, it would almost certainly make him a conflicted party in any obstruction investigation. Moreover, since Rosenstein did in fact draft a letter calling for the termination of Comey, a letter which Trump revealed publicly on May 9, it would seem more logical that the tweet is directed at him. Here is an excerpt from our post back in May:

In the letter from Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein, he cites the handling of Comey’s Clinton investigation, and says that Comey was wrong to cite his conclusions about the Clinton email probe in Jul 2016: “I cannot defend the Director’s handling of the conclusion of the investigation of Sec Clinton’s emails, and I do not understand his refusal to accept the nearly universal judgment that he was mistaken,” Rosenstein wrote. Rosenstein was referring to Comey’s decision to announce in July last year that the probe of Hillary Clinton should be closed without prosecution. Rosenstein also identified several areas in which he said Comey had erred, saying it was wrong of him to “usurp” then-AG Loretta Lynch’s authority by announcing the initial conclusion of the email case on Jul 5. Rosenstein wrote: “He announced his own conclusions about the nation’s most sensitive criminal investigation, without the authorization of duly appointed DoJ leaders He ignored another longstanding principle, not to release derogatory information about the subject of a declined criminal investigation.

Of course, despite Rosenstein’s letter, critics will note that Trump later admitted that he had been considering the termination of James Comey from the moment he took office.

Rosenstein Says He May Need To Recuse Himself In Russia Probe: ABC
Tyler Durden, Zero Hedge, Jun 16 2017

This morning is becoming very chaotic for Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein, a man who has historically maintained a very low profile at the DoJ. After issuing a rather uncharacteristic and cryptic statement last night urging Pindos not to trust “anonymously-sourced” new stories (a statement that many have speculated is attributable to Wapo’s latest anonymously-sourced headline from last night) and being blasted by President Trump this morning, ABC is reporting that Rosenstein has privately acknowledged that he may need to recuse himself in Mueller’s Russia probe.

The senior DoJ official with ultimate authority over the special counsel’s probe of Russia’s alleged meddling in the 2016 election has privately acknowledged to colleagues that he may have to recuse himself from the matter, which he took charge of only after AG Jeff Sessions’ own recusal, sources tell ABC News. Those private remarks from Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein are significant because they reflect the widening nature of the federal probe, which now includes a preliminary inquiry into whether Pres Trump attempted to obstruct justice when he allegedly tried to curtail the probe and then fired James Comey as FBI director.

Of course, the next most logical question becomes who would step in to fill Rosenstein’s shoes?  According to ABC, that obligation would fall upon Associate AG Rachel Brand.

Rosenstein, who authored an extensive and publicly-released memorandum recommending Comey’s firing, raised the possibility of his recusal during a recent meeting with Associate AG Rachel Brand, the DoJ’s new third-in-command, according to sources. In the recent meeting with Brand, Rosenstein told her that if he were to recuse himself, she would have to step in and take over those responsibilities. She was sworn-in little more than a month ago.

That is, until Rachel Brand becomes ‘conflicted’ and also has to be recused. In the end, we suspect liberals in Congress will not be satisfied with anyone chosen to oversee Mueller’s investigation until that ‘someone’ becomes Nancy Pelosi or Maxine Waters.

DoJ Warns Not To Trust Stories Based On Anonymous Sources
Tyler Durden, Zero Hedge, Jun 16 2017

On Thursday night, Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein, who is overseeing the Russia probe due to Jeff Sessions’ recusal and who earlier this week asserted that only he has authority to fire Robert Mueller, released an unorthodox statement:

Screen Shot 2017-06-16 at 14.18.56

The DOJ released Rosenstein’s statement after 9 pm, shortly after the WaPo reported (also below – RB) that the special counsel was investigating the business dealings of Jared Kushner. The media and punditry was “stunned” by the official statement. The NYT’ Maggie Haberman said

The new leader of the Trump “resistance”, Preet Bharara also chimed in, tweeting:

Rosenstein, who the media were ambivalent about but praised following his recent testimony in which he said there was no grounds to fire Mueller, promptly became the latest pariah for insinuating that the media’s Trump reportage may be in fact fake news. The NYT reported this morning:

(Rosenstein’s) statement aligned with the president’s open frustration with unflattering leaks. Mr Trump has called stories about the investigation “fake news” and complained on Twitter about a WaPo report on Wednesday night that Mueller was investigating the president himself for possible obstruction of justice. That story was also attributed to unnamed sources, as was a NYT article that same evening about Mr Mueller’s request for interviews with three top intelligence officials.

What to make of Rosenstein’s statement? On one hand, it could be seen as a validation of Trump’s repeated allegations that much of what has emerged in press in recent weeks is “fake news.” On the other, it could be an attempt to “chill” communications and leaks to the press, as some in the media suggested. Yet others saw this as a preview of what may be another upcoming story. As Bloomberg’s Jennifer Epstein who said:

Trump has yet to tweet his approval of Rosenstein’s comment, although moments ago he did tweet the following:

He followed up by tweeting:

Jared Kushner Under Investigation By Special Counsel: WaPo
Tyler Durden, Zero Hedge, Jun 15 2017

Kushner 2_0

It must have been a slow news day for the Washington Post as the paper of record appears to be regurgitating the same headline it already reported nearly a month ago. In any event, WaPo would like you to know that more anonymous sources, presumably from Special Counsel Mueller’s team  (expect another furious Trump tweet in response) have leaked more details to the media, according to which Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, is now being investigated by Mueller for potential ties to the ‘Russian interference’ scandal.

Robert Mueller is investigating the finances and business dealings of Jared Kushner as part of the probe into Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election, according to officials familiar with the matter. FBI agents and federal prosecutors have been examining the financial dealings of other Trump associates including Flynn, Manafort and Page…

Wait, didn’t we already know this? Well, yes. This seems to be pretty much the same headline that both the WaPo and NBC ran nearly a month ago: “Jared Kushner “Under FBI Scrutiny” In Russia Probe: NBC“. It provides no additional details on why Kushner may be a person of interest in the investigation. Here is what NBC reported and Wapo confirmed on May 25:

Jared Kushner has come under FBI scrutiny in the Russia investigation, multiple Pindo boxtops told NBC News. Kushner has significant information relevant to their inquiry, investigators believe, but that does not mean they suspect him of a crime or intend to charge him. The FBI’s scrutiny of Kushner places the bureau’s sprawling counter-intelligence and criminal investigation not only on the doorstep of the White House, but on the cusp of the Trump family circle (sic – RB). The WaPo first reported last week that a senior White House boxtop close to Trump was a “person of interest,” but did not name the person.

While not discussed by the WaPo, perhaps the bigger issue here is that there now appear to be virtually daily leaks coming directly from Mueller’s team, which if true would put his team’s motive if not their credibility into question as a result of leaks intent on adversely impacting the administration they’re investigating. Meanwhile, when asked for comment, Kushner’s lawyer Jamie Gorelick apparently told the WaPo:

We do not know what this report refers to. It would be standard practice for the Special Counsel to examine financial records to look for anything related to Russia. Mr Kushner previously volunteered to share with Congress what he knows about Russia-related matters. He will do the same if he is contacted in connection with any other inquiry.

Another day, another headline and yet still no facts and no evidence of wrongdoing.

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