Last Thursday, you may recall, Rod Rosenstein was at a meeting at the White House. Speculation was rampant that Trump was going to fire him and thereby ensure the very end of the Republic itself.
Now, Bloomberg is reporting, via anonymous sources who are always totally reliable, on what happened.
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein told President Donald Trump last week that he isn’t a target of any part of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation or the probe into his longtime lawyer, Michael Cohen, according to several people familiar with the matter.
Rosenstein, who brought up the investigations himself, offered the assurance during a meeting with Trump at the White House last Thursday, a development that helped tamp down the president’s desire to remove Rosenstein or Mueller, the people said.
After the meeting, Trump told some of his closest advisers that it’s not the right time to remove either man since he’s not a target of the probes. One person said Trump doesn’t want to take any action that would drag out the investigation.
First the caveats.
The anonymous sources are more likely than not Trump’s people. They have a vested interest in this particular storyline.
Bloomberg, on the other hand, has not played with anonymous and ludicrously inaccurate sources the way CNN and the New York Times have. So I’d credit them with having done some due diligence. But when you deal with sources, on or off the record, keep in mind that they have an agenda of some type. The White House also has an interest in tamping down the “he’s going to fire Rosenstein” stories.
Even if Trump is not a target, he has the ability to make himself one everytime he talks. Though, if at this stage in the investigation, given all the “obstruction of justice” bullsh** flung about, if Trump is not a target then he’s not going to be one absent some heroic effort by Trump, himself.
But let’s consider the past couple of weeks.
There had been word that Mueller and the White House were close to an agreement on testimony by Trump in some form. Then the FBI raids the home, hotel residence, and office of Trump’s personnel attorney, Michael Cohen. Now that is off the table:
Shortly before news became public on Monday of an F.B.I. raid on the hotel room and office of President Trump’s longtime personal lawyer, Mr. Trump’s legal team met in Washington to draft a proposal that would allow him to be interviewed by the special counsel in the Russia investigation, according to a person familiar with the matter.
The proposal included details on where and under what circumstances such an interview would occur, as well as the potential length, according to the person briefed on the events. The lawyers planned to raise objections on certain issues, but they were preparing to respond to a longstanding request by the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III.
As they were going over the proposal, the president’s team learned that the F.B.I. had carried out search warrants at the Rockefeller Center office and Park Avenue hotel room of Mr. Trump’s personal lawyer, Michael D. Cohen, seizing files, opening a safe and taking electronics.
The prosecutors obtained the warrants after receiving a referral from Mr. Mueller, according to Mr. Cohen’s lawyer. The search does not appear to be directly related to Mr. Mueller’s investigation into possible links between Mr. Trump’s associates and Russia’s election interference, but most likely resulted from information that he had uncovered and then gave to prosecutors in New York.
Mueller had to know about the raid…his supervisor, Rod Rosenstein, basically had to approve it…and the fact that it was okayed, knowing how Trump would react, indicates that Mueller’s team was no longer really interested in talking to Trump. They would only have abandoned this effort if a) he was a target and would have to be so notified or b) that getting an interview was going to take more time and energy than it was worth.
If this report is true, this is probably a sign that the Mueller investigation is winding down on the issues of collusion and obstruction of justice. We can probably anticipate other activities based on things Mueller has discovered due to his open-ended charter to just look wherever he wants. Some of those will be aimed at Trump’s inner circle to annoy and embarrass him.
Still, we may be coming to the end of the tragi-comic farce, at long last.