You would have to be an idiot, an absolute moron or live under a rock to be confused when the names of Robert Swan Mueller III and Donald John Trump appear in the same sentence and the issue of ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ is addressed.

Black and White.

White hat and black hat.

Hero and villain.

Right and wrong.

If Donald Trump was honest and thinking clearly — c’mon — he would admit that Robert Mueller is everything he always wanted to be.

Never mind fame and fortune; they both have it.

Just a matter of degree.

Brains? Big edge to Mueller.

Personality? Mueller by a country mile and he doesn’t open his mouth.

Maybe that’s the secret.

It is in this case.

Trump’s taste buds have a most intimate relationship with his feet.

And his mouth writes far too many checks his deeds could ever cash.

So the U.S. Justice Department selected Mueller to head an investigation of Trump and the possible Russian influence on/meddling in last November’s election.

After Trump summarily dismissed — fired — FBI Director James B. Comey, who succeeded Mueller in that post by the way, the prospect of Trump obstructing justice moved alarmingly to the forefront of discussion.

No less a genius than Newsmax CEO Christopher (Chris? Topher?) Ruddy, another Trump puppet or FOT — “Friend of Trump” — but not really as far on the inside as he’d like to be, saw the opportunity to grab his 15 seconds of recognizability.

He suggested that Trump was considering terminating Mueller.

He informed the media of this without actually speaking directly to The Donald about it.

No one-on-one conversation between the two ever took place, pertinent to the subject.


True-to-form Trump launched a preemptive salvo via Twitter stating that “you are witnessing the single greatest WITCH HUNT in American political history — led by some very bad and conflicted people!”

Noted Philip Allen Lacovara, a Watergate prosecutor (and a Republican), “It’s early in the game to begin to impugn the prosecutors. It’s a [sic] preemptive nuclear strike. If you’re afraid of what the prosecutors are going to find out, you try to debunk anything they might come up with in advance by attacking them.”

You lead with your face, a Trump strength.

No sense.

No deep thought or any thought really.

No surprise.

The gums of Donald John flapping aimlessly.

An air of familiarity, of deja vu in this; it’s in his DNA. Not exactly something new and different.

Whew Donnie. No time like the present to spew unfounded and bilious vitriol.

Tweet now think later (maybe).

As Scott Shane and Charlie Savage of The New York Times remind us through Ken Gormley, the president of Duquesne University who has authored works on Watergate prosecutor Archibald Cox and on the Clinton impeachment scandal, “no president has liked having a special prosecutor looking at them. Most of them have pushed back pretty hard.”

But with Trump they note that “…the tactic of trying to discredit anyone who poses a danger to him is familiar.

Campaigning for the presidency while being sued for fraud over Trump University, he attacked the judge overseeing the case as biased against him because the judge, Gonzalo Curiel, was Mexican.(The Wall, etc.).

Actually — and sadly — Trump had no idea that the judge had been born in East Chicago, Indiana and was in fact, an American citizen. But facts? What the hell. When the Congressional Budget Office was expected to issue a dire but informed projection about the Republican [sic] healthcare plan, the White House declared that the budget office had a history of putting out inaccurate statistics.”

Now Trump’s legal team is homing in on the relationship between Mueller and Comey, in an effort to argue that the former FBI Directors’ long professional partnership represents a conflict of interest that could and would compromise Mueller’s integrity as special counsel.

Another not-so-veiled and feeble attempt to attack blindly while pointing fingers elsewhere.

To try to undermine the credibility of the special counsel is nothing but a fool’s errand; Mueller, a universally respected and decorated Navy veteran, has an impeccable reputation as a person, a professional and as an independent investigator.

Pristine. Sterling. Gold standard. Beyond reproach.

But as Trump is wont to do, he winds up and fires whatever nonsensical poorly-thought-out and half-baked dialogue he can conjure against the wall — a limitless reserve at hand — and hopes that something will stick, facts once again be damned.

Rod D. Rosenstein. Rod Jay Rosenstein. D.? Jay?

(Though curious, the middle initial ‘D’ assumed in place of the birth middle name ‘Jay’ represents the very least of it, I assure you and needn’t be examined here).

Because now Rosenstein, a Trump nominee confirmed by a 94–6 margin, finds himself squarely in POTUS’ crosshairs.

Another scapegoat and whipping boy.

A Harvard Law School graduate and editor of the Harvard Law Review, he began with the Justice Department’s public integrity section in 1990 under President George H.W. Bush.

From there he served as counsel to Deputy Attorney General Philip Heymann in President Bill Clinton’s first term and then became part of the Whitewater investigation into Clinton’s Arkansas real estate dealings when recruited by Kenneth Starr.

The investigation helped secure three convictions in the case.

In 2005 Rosenstein was nominated by President George W. Bush to be U.S. Attorney for Maryland, a job he held for 12 years including for the entire Obama administration, making him the only U.S. attorney appointed by a previous administration to last the full two terms of Obama’s presidency.

A scant two weeks after being sworn in as Trump’s Deputy Attorney General, the 27-year Justice Department veteran — a man with a reputation for apolitical straight shooting — found himself up to his ears in a controversial hot mess.

It was his memo to Trump — requested by the President — which set into motion the firing of FBI Director James Comey.

Comey’s handling of the investigation of Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server was the issue which catalyzed the all-encompassing brouhaha to follow.

At the time Rosenstein defended his position by asserting in writing that, “the way the Director handled the conclusion of the email investigation was wrong.

As a result, the FBI is unlikely to regain public and congressional trust until it has a Director who understands the gravity of the mistakes and pledges never to repeat them.”

In the immediate aftermath, Rosenstein faced a barrage of questions regarding the administration’s alleged collusion with Russia and his boss Jeff Sessions’ recusal from the investigation.

After all, as Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein was now the point man.

At first he asserted that he’d need more information before committing to a special prosecutor to spearhead the probe of Russia’s involvement in U.S. election-centric politics and whatever else.

The rest is history.

Now Rosenstein — he with the well-earned and seemingly bulletproof reputation for fairness, objectivity, integrity, going-by-the-book and following the evidence where it takes him — has incurred Trump’s wrath.

“I am being investigated for firing the FBI Director by the man who told me to fire the FBI Director! Witch Hunt,” Trump tweeted.

Comey may have made a technical legal error by unwittingly (?) “usurping the authority” (Rosenstein’s words) of the Attorney General in the Hillary Clinton email case, but it is alarmingly clear that Rosenstein is being played and used by both Trump and Sessions.

Ensnared. Entrapped. Sabotaged. And hung out to dry.


Is it?

Hardly, given Trump’s history.

He gives himself all of the credit for successes and assumes none of the blame for failures which always fall within somebody else’s domain.

It’s just the way it is, has been and will be with him.

Must be hard to work for a man who behaves that way and also contradicts himself as often as he draws breath.

Stephen Colbert noted that Trump told NBC’s Lester Holt, among others no doubt, that he himself made the decision to fire Comey.

Then he blamed Rosenstein for telling him to do it.

With tongue planted firmly in cheek Stephen Colbert ran with the ball, positing that Trump and Rosenstein are the same person.

“So, if Trump says he decided to fire Comey and Trump says that Rod Rosenstein told Trump to fire Comey, that means Trump is Rod Rosenstein! It’s a Fight Club situation! They’re the same guy! I’ve never seen them on camera together! It explains why Trump can’t stop punching himself in the face!”

Sessions at least praised Rosenstein on June 20th calling his second-in-command “a great deputy attorney general” and remarking that the DOJ is “fortunate indeed” to have someone of Rosenstein’s “caliber and experience” serving in the position.

So we’ll see how things play out for the man who had the temerity (in Trump’s view) to appoint Robert Mueller as special counsel.

As for Mueller, expect him to methodically, deliberately and compellingly eat Trump alive.

And if Trump somehow fires him, look for dialogue regarding impeachment proceedings to simmer and then come to a full boil.

[Editor’s Note: This piece was written by Mr. Kaplan in August 2017.]

{Rod Rosenstein submitted his official resignation as Deputy Attorney General on April 29, 2019, effective May 11, 2019.}


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