We’ve been hammering home the point for the last couple of weeks that the left-wing media and the Democrats could not have been more wrong about Russian collusion. For two years or more, they’ve been screeching about every little nod-and-say-hello contact anyone in Trump’s grand orbit had with any Russian (even if they had absolutely nothing to do with Vladimir Putin’s government). All of their conspiratorial wheedling came crashing down with the release of the special counsel’s report…even if Democrats aren’t ready to admit it, yet.
But we should probably talk a little bit about what we got wrong as well. It turns out, for one, that Robert Mueller was running a more-or-less square game. He went underground, he conducted the investigation he was hired to conduct, and then he returned the facts as he discovered them. We can certainly argue about some of the conclusions he reached about Trump on the obstruction front, but at the end of the day, he returned a report that was a lot closer to planet earth than anything the Democrats have been talking about for the last two years. You have to commend him for that much.
One other surprise: Judging by his conduct since the release of the Mueller report, we might have gotten the bead wrong on Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein as well. On this one, we’re less surprised – for one very specific reason. We thought for sure that Rosenstein was a goner once it came out that he was whispering about ousting Trump with the 25th Amendment – that he’d even suggested wearing a wire when he spoke to the president. It was very strange to us, a couple of weeks later, when Trump met privately with Rosenstein and then…nothing happened. Rosenstein went back to his office and there was no more talk of firing the Deputy AG. Peculiar.
But now we wonder if that wasn’t about the time that Trump realized he had a friend in Rosenstein, not a foe. And Rosenstein’s remarks at a dinner event in New York City this week only compound those suspicions.
“The FBI disclosed classified evidence about the investigation to ranking legislators and their staffers,” he said, recalling the early months of Trump’s presidency. “Someone selectively leaked details to the news media. The FBI director [James Comey] announced at a congressional hearing that there was a counterintelligence investigation that might result in criminal charges. Then the former FBI director alleged that the president pressured him to close the investigation, and the president denied that the conversation occurred. So that happened.”
He defended Attorney General William Barr as an honorable servant of the law, and he insisted that throughout the Mueller probe, he was committed only to seeing justice carried out.
“At my confirmation hearing in March 2017, a Republican senator asked me to make a commitment,” he recounted. “He said: ‘You’re going to be in charge of this [Russia] investigation. I want you to look me in the eye and tell me that you’ll do it right, that you’ll take it to its conclusion and you’ll report to the American people.
“I did pledge to do it right and take it to the appropriate conclusion,” he continued. “I did not promise to report all results to the public, because grand jury investigations are ex parte proceedings. It is not our job to render conclusive factual findings. We just decide whether it is appropriate to file criminal charges.”
Given the fact that this entire investigation was a nonsensical witch hunt based on nothing but rumor, bad intelligence, and partisan grudges, we still maintain that Rosenstein could have done a lot more to protect both Trump and his own department’s reputation. And we still have some serious questions about Rosenstein’s attempt to put a 25th Amendment coup in progress.
But when it’s all said and done, Rosenstein was a great deal more faithful to the evidence than we once feared. He may not deserve a gold medal upon his retirement, but he’ll walk out of the DOJ with a lot more honor than many of his former colleagues.