The DOJ Is Acting Textbook Guilty

In this photo from Tuesday, June 13, 2017, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein testifies before a Senate Appropriations subcommittee on Capitol Hill in Washington, where he said he's seen no basis for firing Robert Mueller, the former FBI director he appointed as special counsel to oversee an investigation into potential coordination between the Trump presidential campaign and Russia. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

According to Pamela Meyer, author of the book Liespotting and TED Talk speaker with 16 million YouTube views, one tell-tale sign someone may be lying is if they exhibit contempt: that potent combination of anger and moral superiority employed by those who’ve done the thing they’re being accused of doing to shut down further conversation or inquiry into their behavior.

The department of Justice’s recent behavior refusing to turn over documents subpoenaed as part of a House Intelligence request for documents related to the FBI’s investigation into Donald Trump is the bureaucratic version of someone standing there staring at you like you’re stupid and they hate you.

Wall Street Journal columnist Kim Strassel describes it this way:

Until this week, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and fellow institutionalists at the department had fought Congress’s demands for information with the tools of banal bureaucracy—resist, delay, ignore, negotiate. But Mr. Rosenstein took things to a new level on Tuesday, accusing House Republicans of “threats,” extortion and wanting to “rummage” through department documents. A Wednesday New York Times story then dropped a new slur, claiming “Mr. Rosenstein and top FBI officials have come to suspect that some lawmakers were using their oversight authority to gain intelligence about [Special Counsel Bob Mueller’s ] investigation so that it could be shared with the White House.”

Mr. Rosenstein isn’t worried about rummaging. That’s a diversion from the department’s opposite concern: that it is being asked to comply with very specific—potentially very revealing—demands.

Those demands include, 1) the relinquishing of documents related to the FBI’s investigation into Donald Trump; and 2) a willingness to declassify parts of  the House Intelligence Committee report that details former FBI Director James Comey’s statements about former national security adviser Mike Flynn.

The DOJ should have complied with the subpoena seeking the Trump investigation material Thursday. They ignored it.

They are also passing the redaction buck to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence to stall for time, but Strassel says it’s the FBI that is clearly keeping the more than 300 redactions in place because most of what’s been stricken from public view has to do with the FBI’s conduct during the 2016 election.

Imagine that.

Strassel believes it’s now incumbent upon Speaker of the House Paul Ryan to support his House committee by calling publicly for impeachment or for charges of contempt.

There’s that word again. Only this usage doesn’t conjure up images of a smirking adversary as much as it does hearings and testimony.