It is time for President Trump to fire Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who has gone out of his way to conduct what can only be described as a personal vendetta against the president. The witch hunt that Mr. Rosenstein helped to spawn has been going on way too long.
Last May, Mr. Rosenstein appointed Robert Mueller as special counsel, following Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ decision to recuse himself in the investigation of alleged Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and possible Russian collusion with the Trump campaign. Originally, the special counsel’s mandate was to focus on investigating possible links or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the Trump campaign. Mr. Rosenstein did not stop there, however. He secretly expanded the scope of the special counsel’s mandate, ten weeks after Mr. Mueller’s May 17, 2017, appointment, to include matters preceding and unrelated to any allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election itself. That is how Paul Manafort, who served briefly as Donald Trump’s campaign manager, became a Mueller target for his decade-old business dealings with a Russian-backed Ukrainian political party that had nothing to do with the 2016 presidential election.
Now The New York Times has reported that Mr. Mueller “is investigating a payment made to President Trump’s foundation by a Ukrainian steel magnate for a talk” in September 2015, “as part of a broader examination of streams of foreign money to Mr. Trump and his associates in the years leading up to the election.” The donation to the foundation was reportedly around $150,000, far less than the $500,000 per speech Bill Clinton was paid on multiple occasions while his wife Hillary was serving as Secretary of State in the Obama administration. Bill Clinton delivered one of those speeches in Russia.
Mr. Rosenstein has played fast and loose with the rule of law virtually from the time he became deputy attorney general. For example, he was among those officials who signed off on an extension of a FISA court warrant to spy on a former Trump campaign associate, Carter Page. The original application for the FISA court warrant was reportedly based in part on an unverified dossier prepared by a former British intelligence officer, Christopher Steele. The dossier reportedly relied on Russian sources and was paid for by the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s campaign. The applications left out where the funding for the dossier had come from. Mr. Rosenstein failed to discharge his duty as an officer of the court to vet the justification for the original warrant that he was approving for an extension and to inform the FISA court exactly how the dossier was funded.
Mr. Rosenstein’s latest outrage was to become, as The New York Times reported, personally involved in signing off on Monday's FBI raid at the offices and hotel room of President Trump's personal attorney Michael Cohen. The purpose of the raid was to look for “records about payments to two women who claim they had affairs with Mr. Trump, and information related to the publisher of The National Enquirer’s role in silencing one of the women,” according to The New York Times report. In so doing, the FBI raiding team swept up everything they could find, including documents that might normally be considered subject to the attorney-client privilege. As longtime Harvard professor and notable civil liberties attorney Alan Dershowitz said, this was “a very dangerous day…for lawyer-client relations." While a Clinton supporter himself, Professor Dershowitz pointed to a double standard. "If this were Hillary Clinton [having her lawyer's office raided], the ACLU would be on every TV station in America jumping up and down,” he said during an interview with Fox News’ Sean Hannity. “The deafening silence of the ACLU and civil libertarians about the intrusion into the lawyer-client confidentiality is really appalling."
The first step to restoring any semblance of balance is to fire Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. He has become a disgrace to his profession and the public trust. The president should then direct Attorney General Sessions to restrict Special Counsel Mueller to his original mandate — the investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and any alleged Russian collusion with the Trump campaign. All other matters he has been involved in should be terminated or transferred to the appropriate U.S. attorney’s office. If Mr. Sessions insists on continuing to recuse himself from day-to-day oversight of Mr. Mueller’s more contained investigation to its prompt conclusion, President Trump should find an experienced career official in the Department of Justice to take over that task. Simply firing Mr. Mueller at this time, while merited, will only serve to hand the president’s enemies more ammunition in their coup attempt to remove him from office.
Joseph A. Klein is a featured author for FrontPage Magazine and the United Nations correspondent for Canada Free Press. He has also authored the books "Global Deception: The UN’s Stealth Assault on America’s Freedom" and "Lethal Engagement: Barack Hussein Obama, the United Nations & Radical Islam." Klein, a Harvard Law school alumnus and practicing attorney, has been a guest on many radio shows as a commentator and has appeared on several TV shows including "Fox & Friends." For more of this reports — Click Here Now.
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