james comey robert mueller rosenstein Trump

WTF Is Wrong With All Of Trump’s Lawyers?!

"Like we said, it’s fucking dangerous!"

By Five Dollar Feminist as originally published over at Wonkette and reposted here with permission 


Rod Rosenstein has been a bad, bad boy! Have we mentioned that Donald Trump’s superpower is a force field that melts the brain of every lawyer that comes near him? WE HAVE! And we were right! The guy is like freaking lawyer kryptonite!

This week’s blockbuster New York Times article paints a vivid picture of Emperor Dementia screaming at his staff that the DOJ wasn’t protecting him in the Russia investigation. Comey wouldn’t swear a loyalty oath, drop the Flynn prosecution, or clear Trump in his Congressional testimony. Sessions had recused himself, despite the president’s aggressive lobbying. And those pesky intelligence agencies kept saying RUSSIA and not SOME 400LB DUDE ON A BED. So unfair! But Sessions, ever the loyal house elf, was doing his part to undermine public confidence in James Comey.

Two days after Mr. Comey’s testimony, an aide to Mr. Sessions approached a Capitol Hill staff member asking whether the staffer had any derogatory information about the F.B.I. director. The attorney general wanted one negative article a day in the news media about Mr. Comey, according to a person with knowledge of the meeting.

A Justice Department spokeswoman said the episode did not occur. “This did not happen and would not happen,” said the spokeswoman, Sarah Isgur Flores. “Plain and simple.”

Okay, lady. We must have been imagining eleventy-million Fox and WSJ stories sliming the FBI for being #TeamHillary. But back to Rosenstein, who seems to have been actively participating in the campaign to remove Comey.

Earlier that day, Rod J. Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general, had pulled one of Mr. McGahn’s deputies aside after a meeting at the Justice Department. Mr. Rosenstein told the aide that top White House and Justice Department lawyers needed to discuss Mr. Comey’s future. It is unclear whether this conversation was related to the effort to dig up dirt on Mr. Comey.

The same day that Sessions puts out feelers for dirt on Comey, Rosenstein is huddled up with McGahn’s deputy “to discuss Mr. Comey’s future”? That’s mighty coincidental! And in another amazing coincidence, one of McGahn’s deputies had deliberately misled the president by telling him that he could only fire Comey for cause.

Longstanding analysis of presidential power says that the president, as the head of the executive branch, does not need grounds to fire the F.B.I. director. Mr. [Uttam] Dhillon, a veteran Justice Department lawyer before joining the Trump White House, assigned a junior lawyer to examine this issue. That lawyer determined that the F.B.I. director was no different than any other employee in the executive branch, and that there was nothing prohibiting the president from firing him.

But Mr. Dhillon, who had earlier told Mr. Trump that he needed cause to fire Mr. Comey, never corrected the record, withholding the conclusions of his research.

So over the three months that Trump was howling for Comey’s head, neither McGahn nor Rosenstein told the President that he could just get rid of the FBI director any time he wanted to? REALLY??? We’re going to go out on a limb and guess that they knew about Dhillon’s little fib, and they agreed to just let it lie.

But because he was under the mistaken impression that he had to come up with a reason to axe James Comey, Trump did some huddling of his own with Stephen Miller and Jared Kushner. After a weekend in New Jersey with Dumb and Dumber, the president assembled all his minions for a reading of his Extra Special James Comey You’re Fired Memo.

In interviews with The Times, White House officials have said the letter contained no references to Russia or the F.B.I.’s investigation. According to two people who have read it, however, the letter’s first sentence said the Russia investigation had been “fabricated and politically motivated.”

WHAAAAA??? You mean Mike Pence, who went on television and swore on Baby Jesus’s holy name that Comey’s firing had nothing at all to do with Russia, was LYING? We are … not shocked, since we told you that in September. But we are kind of shocked about Rosenstein, TBH.

On Monday, May 8, Mr. Trump met with Mr. Sessions and Mr. Rosenstein to discuss firing Mr. Comey, and Mr. Rosenstein agreed to write his own memo outlining why Mr. Comey should be fired. Before writing it, he took a copy of the letter that Mr. Trump and Mr. Miller had drafted during the weekend in Bedminster.

So Rod Rosenstein, a career lawyer, took the evidence that Trump was getting rid of James Comey for the express purpose of ending the Russia investigation (ALLEGEDLY), put it in his pocket, and then drafted a memo saying that Comey had to go for being SO MEAN to Hillary Clinton?

IS THAT WRONG??? (Spoiler Alert: IT IS.) But don’t take our word for it — here’s Jack Goldsmith, who worked for the Justice Department and Office of Legal Counsel under George W. Bush, writing for Lawfare.

In short, before the Schmidt story, we knew that Rosenstein was intimately involved in the president’s decision to fire Comey. Rosenstein’s memo was used as a pretext to fire Comey; Rosenstein knew that the president wanted to fire Comey; and he read the Bedminster draft before he wrote his own memorandum.

In this light, it has been very puzzling for a while why Rosenstein does not have a conflict of interest in the Mueller investigation. The Washington Post reported unequivocally that Mueller’s investigation includes “whether President Trump attempted to obstruct justice,” including, as a central issue, in his firing of Comey. Rosenstein was in the middle of that firing. He possesses information about the president’s beliefs and motives in firing Comey, and quite possibly a personal interest in how those beliefs and motives are construed, since he appeared to many to have been used by the president (and was reportedly very angry about it). Rosenstein would thus would very likely be a fact witness in any obstruction inquiry in connection with the Comey firing. It is hard to understand why he did not have a conflict of interest the moment Mueller’s investigation turned to obstruction in the firing of Comey.

So why the hell isn’t Rosenstein recused? Was he trying to help the president obstruct justice?

Did he legitimately think that Comey was a loose cannon who had it in for Hillary Clinton? This shit is weird! AND DANGEROUS. Because, whatever his apparent conflicts, Rosenstein seems to be allowing Mueller to proceed unhampered. But GOP congressmen have started to call for Jeff Sessions’s resignation, which would leave Trump free to appoint a new, non-recused attorney general. And then they can get Mike Pompeo or whatever hack they stick in there to fire Robert Mueller or restrict his investigation so as to effectively kill it.

Like we said, it’s fucking dangerous!

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4 comments on “WTF Is Wrong With All Of Trump’s Lawyers?!

  1. Anonymous

    I think Rosenstein is going to turn out to be one of the good guys despite the assertions in this piece. I think he did what he needed to do in order to remain in a position to appoint, and protect, Mueller. He’s clearly smart enough to realize that the memo that he wrote was ridiculous. I think he was also well aware that Comey was going to be fired regardless and that this memo may end up helping to build an obstruction case against Trump and would allow for the establishment of the special counsel investigation.

    The authors of this piece are entitled to their opinion. However, I think Rosenstein made the best of a bad situation and, in doing so, gave us the Mueller investigation. His actions are less puzzling if he’s actually an ally of James Comey who is trying to stay in Trump’s good graces to remain at the head of the Russia investigation. In essence, he managed to get these idiots to conspire to fire the FBI director in order to impede a federal investigation and then used that as cause to appoint Mueller. He’s not recusing himself because he is trying desperately to protect the investigation. The reason this is so confusing for everyone is because we so rarely see true patriots put their country before their own personal interests and careers.

    • That’s the best defense of Rosenstein I’ve seen to date. But there is much to say about the title to this page: “WTF Is Wrong With All Of Trump’s Lawyers?!” One thing Trump and Insurance Defense lawyers have in common is that in their own worlds they play a “no-rules” game. The lawyers at the DOJ and FBI are used to playing a variety of “rule bending” or “rule interpreting game,” but not throw out the rules and do whatever the fuck you want to do, as if it’s an organized crime syndicate. Trump runs the place by criminal fiat and since the lawyers are scared shitless of him, instead of resigning, they engage in bizarre conduct which makes no ethical or lawful sense. This: What’s wrong with them? The same thing that’s wring with the White House staff and Cabinet members. They all have stories they tell themselves why it’s more important to stay and save the country and be complicit rather than resigning.

  2. PaulMiller

    There is no way Trump can squeeze his way out of this one. You’ve got him now, H-man!

  3. So, when you read the headlines you might think that Uttam Dhillon must be a three year lawyer who got his White House job via a recommendation by Ivanka’s chief publicist’s first cousin. Perhaps, you might conclude that Uttam Dhillon was way over his head but in an effort to protect the Presidential Dummy from his own lunacy of firing an FBI Director that was investigating him and was known to be loved by everyone, so allegedly withheld critical information. Well, it appears he’s not a three year and in the end he certainly had the right idea.

    According to Bloomberg, prior to his taking his seat at the National Lunatic Asylum, now located at the White House, he was a Partner at Fitzpatrick Hagood Smith & Uhl**, where Dhillon used his more than two decades of experience as a federal prosecutor, civil litigator and high-level government attorney to augment the firm’s federal civil litigation, appellate, government and corporate investigations, and federal criminal defense practices. Prior to Fitzpatrick Hagood, Dhillon held senior-level positions in Washington, D.C. where he played leading roles in shaping U.S. law enforcement policy in both the executive and legislative branches. In 2006, President George W. Bush appointed Mr. Dhillon to Head the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Counternarcotics Enforcement where he worked closely with other federal agencies to coordinate the federal government’s anti-drug and anti-terrorism efforts. Prior to that, Mr. Dhillon served as an Associate Deputy Attorney General in the United States Department of Justice where he led the development of the Department’s anti-gang efforts as chair of the Attorney General’s Anti-Gang Coordination Committee, developed policies and procedures for resolving federal law enforcement jurisdictional conflicts over terrorist-related explosives investigations, served as a Member of the Attorney General’s Review Committee on Capital Cases, and was appointed an Executive Director of the President’s Board on Safeguarding Americans’ Civil Liberties. Prior to joining the Department of Justice, Mr. Dhillon served as Chief Counsel for the House of Representatives Select Committee on Homeland Security. Dhillon also served as the Policy Director for the House Policy Committee. Prior to working in Washington, D.C., Mr. Dhillon served as an Assistant United States Attorney in Los Angeles where he directed complex investigations of major narcotics trafficking organizations and gangs. Mr. Dhillon graduated from Boalt Hall School of Law at the University of California, Berkeley in 1987. He earned a Master of Arts degree in psychology from the University of California, San Diego in 1984 and a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology from California State University, Sacramento in 1982. He is a Member of the State Bar of California, the District of Columbia Bar, all District Courts of California, and the Fourth and Ninth Circuit Courts of Appeals.

    He’s no Archibald Cox, but he’s no Jay Alan Sekulow or John Dowd either. But he will be looking for another job shortly.


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