Look, Rod Rosenstein has had enough, and you can hardly blame him.
According to multiple sources who spoke to ABC, Rosenstein plans to step down as Deputy Attorney General “in the coming weeks” or, more to the point, as soon as William Barr is confirmed.
To be sure, Barr would probably want his own hand-picked deputy and it is apparently not the case that Rosenstein is being “forced” out by the Trump administration. On that latter point, this appears to be one case where Sarah Sanders (who told Fox on Wednesday morning that Trump is not pushing Rod aside) isn’t lying.
Still, this is disconcerting vis-à-vis the Mueller probe which Rosenstein oversaw for more than a year after Jeff Sessions committed the “high crime” (in Trump’s eyes) of recusing himself.
Obviously, Rosenstein (who Trump is rumored to refer to as “Mr. Peepers” privately) has been a frequent target of the President’s Twitter account and back in September, everyone assumed Rod would be summarily dismissed after a bombshell New York Times article suggested he once plotted to oust Trump by secretly recording him.
At the time, there was rampant speculation that the story was actually planted by the Trump administration as a pretext for firing Rosenstein and on September 24, reports suggested he had in fact resigned. Ultimately, he stuck it out, only to see a Trump sycophant in Matt Whitaker elevated to Acting AG following Jeff Sessions’ unceremonious departure.
After being duped into participating in Trump’s plot to fire James Comey, Rosenstein became a source of continual consternation for the President. Early last year he appeared to be on the verge of firing ol’ Rod during the Devin Nunes “memo” fiasco, for instance.
Once it was confirmed that the Deputy AG personally signed off on the FBI raid of Michael Cohen’s offices, home, and hotel room, everyone went ahead and assumed it was just a matter of time before the President moved against the DoJ. In early April, CNN reported that Trump was indeed thinking of getting rid of Rosenstein in order to try and stymie Mueller. Speculation swirled throughout the summer and at one point in late July, Republican Representatives Mark Meadows and Jim Jordan actually tried to impeach Rosenstein, only to get (literally) laughed out of the room by the normally insufferable Trey Gowdy.
The Senate confirmation hearing for Barr starts on January 15, with a confirmation vote likely taking place midway through next month. There are obviously serious questions as to whether he can be trusted to oversee the Mueller probe given his history with special counsel investigations and also considering he (Barr) literally wrote a memo to Rosenstein last year criticizing the investigation, calling the obstruction inquiry “fatally misconceived.”
You can draw your own conclusions from the above, but it’s worth noting that even if Trump didn’t compel Rosenstein to resign right now, he clearly still hates “Peepers” as evidenced by the fact that less than two months ago, the President retweeted the following bad Photoshop job as originally posted by notorious Trump Twitter bot @The_Trump_Train:
We can answer that question: “The trials for treason” (and we mean that literally) began last year and they are ongoing.
But spoiler alert: None of the people in that absurd meme are on trial nor will they ever be.