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Rod Rosenstein, bulwark against Trump – News International: America

If Rod Rosenstein really comes back in a few weeks or months to the position of Deputy Justice of the United States, then the 54-year-old could have the two most difficult years of his legal career behind him. In his previous life he arrested drug traffickers, fought corruption and brought all kinds of criminals to justice.

But none of this prepared him to deal with a president who is trying to undermine the ongoing investigations on Russia. Among other things, examine whether Trump or his campaign team could have worked with the Russian government to win the 2016 election.

When Rosenstein took office at the end of April 2017 under the attorney general Jeff Sessions, he had to be aware that under President Trump he would have worked very differently than he was used to. The respected prosecutor and former federal prosecutor Robert Bonsib once said that Rosenstein was the "manifesto of a professional, competent, ethical and fair prosecutor". Virtually the opposite of Trump.

The career lawyer had convinced both the Republicans and the Democrats in the Senate. This was confirmed by 94 to 6 votes. Probably in the hope that he could act moderately as a voice of reason and objectivity both for the intransigent Jeff Sessions and for Trump.

Trump used Rosenstein

Rosenstein has brought a lot of experience into the new office. He has served in the Ministry of Justice since 1990. He had already graduated from Harvard. George W. Bush made him the highest federal attorney in Maryland in 2005. Later, he was among the only three of the 93 colleagues who were taken over by President Barack Obama.

What Rosenstein, but at least at the time of his appointment at the beginning of February 2017, could not count was that he would have to take over, so to speak, under the supervision of Russia's extremely sensitive investigation. Between his appointment and his confirmation, his direct supervisor Jeff Sessions had withdrawn from supervision – because he himself had suspicious contacts with Russian officials.

Just in the office, Rosenstein immediately sensed what it means when someone like Trump sits in the White House. At the time, Russia's investigation was still the responsibility of the FBI. Trump asked the loyalty of the former FBI chief James Comey, later that Comey testified under oath. He could not and did not promise the president. Trump was looking for a way to fire Comey. And for that he used Rosenstein.

Terrified by Trump's behavior

A dirty game started. It should be Rosenstein, who in a letter to her sessions of Chief Comey certified maladministration: it was Comeys's alleged management of the e-mail affair of Hillary Clinton nine months earlier. The sessions took the letter to suggest Trump's dismissal on this basis. What Trump did immediately. All of this happened on May 9th, 2017.

Comey learned of his intoxication during a speech to FBI employees. He read the news on the Breaking News treadmill on television screens that flicker around him. And initially I thought it was a bad skirmish. Trump did not consider it necessary to inform the head of the FBI personally.

Trump indirectly acknowledged in a television interview a little later that it was more likely that the ongoing investigation in Russia against his electoral team would end, as for other Comeys misconduct. Only on Twitter, Trump described this investigation more than 120 times as a "witch hunt", like a witch hunt.

It is said that Rosenstein was horrified by Trump's behavior. In the circle of employees, he would have to ask whether it would be appropriate in the future to record conversations with Trump secretly. And he discussed the question of whether Trump could be removed from his post after the 25th amendment to the constitution. Because of this, all cabinet members should deny Trump's closed loyalty. He had to be particularly upset about his role in Comey.

Ready to bear Trump's anger

Rosenstein had to decide. Does it allow Trump to lead the Justice Department out of the White House and do what he wants with the FBI? Or do you insist on the independence of the judiciary and on the principle that political interference in US justice has no place? In this last case he could be sure that Trump and he would no longer be friends.

He had seen Trump skip the sessions as he withdrew from the control of the FBI Russia investigation. Trump considered the move a massive disloyalty. He was so furious that he publicly offended and humiliated the sessions as long as he could.

Rosenstein has decided to endure the rage of Trump. And he took a step that Trump wanted to see as a traitor behind bars at the end of last year: on May 17, 2017, Rosenstein called the former head of the FBI Robert Mueller as a special investigator in the Russian business. . Rosenstein has thus ensured the continued existence of Russia's investigation against Trump's will, says Harvard law professor Noah Feldman. It could not be considered high enough.

Trump was outraged. Shortly after Mueller's appointment, he cited the sessions in the Oval Office and reproached him for having completely lost control of Russia's investigation due to his retirement. Even then, Trump Sessions would have asked to resign. A few months later, Trump was about to fire Mueller. The White House's Justitiar barely managed to stop him from doing it.

Rosenstein had to supervise

Mueller's investigations show Trump's annoyance. Over a dozen lawsuits are already pending. Trump's former collaborators must end up in jail. Including his former personal lawyer Michael Cohen and Trump's campaign manager, Paul Manafort. He had particularly good contacts with Russia. A personal friend, who was said to have the best connections with Russian intelligence, had provided detailed data on the poll during the election campaign, as is now known from court documents. These could have been used to provide Putin troll factories in Russia with the right objectives for the various pro-Trump social media campaigns.

The investigation also showed, according to court data, that in the Trump campaign team it was known in advance that the Wikileaks disclosure platform would publish the alleged incriminating evidence against Hillary Clinton. Material that had been stolen by Russian hackers from democratic servers.

For a year and a half the sessions had to bear the president's oath. After the Midterm elections in early November 2018, Trump fired him. And the chief of staff of the installed sessions, Matthew Whitaker, was CEO of Justice. Whitaker had repeatedly criticized Russia's investigation. Rosenstein had to give him supervision. But he still remained in charge. Various media reported that he will leave office as soon as a new justice minister is in charge.

Keep post for a while & # 39;

It could be in a few days if William Barr will be confirmed by the Senate. He was already justice minister under George Bush senior. And his only mistake seems to be the moment he was appointed by Trump. In the Senate hearings, he plausibly confirmed that he would support the independence of the judiciary. And that Mueller, with whom Barr is a personal friend, will be able to finish his investigation undisturbed.

But Barr should be happy if Rosenstein remained in the office a little bit. All in all, the investigation in Russia is nothing that a new justice minister wants to oversee alone. The danger that the President's injustice can hit him is too great. Barr said in his hearing in the Senate on Wednesday that he had offered Rosenstein to hold his office for a while. Rosenstein should have been ready for this. There are no concrete plans on either side to decide if and when Rosenstein will leave, Barr said.

It is now expected that Rosenstein will remain until Mueller has completed his investigation. What could be the case in a few weeks. Rosenstein himself has not yet publicly commented. However, it seems certain that he does not intend to work for Trump administration any longer than necessary. (Tamedia editors)

Date of creation: 20.01.2019, 19:06

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