Don't Look Now but It Seems Like Rod Rosenstein Has Had to Back Down Again

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) walks in the Capitol on Thursday. (J. Scott Applewhite/AP)

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) walks in the Capitol on Thursday. (J. Scott Applewhite/AP)

Over the past year, I’ve chronicled the efforts of the permanent bureaucracy in Justice and the FBI to prevent several congressional committees from obtaining documents necessary to undertake their constitutional right to oversee the operations of agencies they fund. Yesterday, I posted on Rod Rosentein being directed by White House Chief of Staff John Kelly to give access to unredacted copies of the memos he’s given special counsel Robert Mueller defining his charter. Today another shoe has dropped.


For weeks, Justice has been refusing to hand over one or more documents that it claims will end Western Civilization as we know it if it is seen by anyone outside the priesthood:

Last Wednesday, senior FBI and national intelligence officials relayed an urgent message to the White House: Information being sought by House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes could endanger a top-secret intelligence source.

Top White House officials, with the assent of President Trump, agreed to back the decision to withhold the information. They were persuaded that turning over Justice Department documents could risk lives by potentially exposing the source, a U.S. citizen who has provided intelligence to the CIA and FBI, according to multiple people familiar with the discussion and the person’s role.

The showdown marked a rare moment of alignment between the Justice Department and Trump, who has relentlessly criticized Attorney General Jeff Sessions and other top Justice officials for the probe into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election led by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III.

Seriously? Really? I’m too old to believe in leprechauns and I certainly don’t believe this. In fact, it sounds a lot like FusionGPS founder Glenn Simpson’s testimony where he claimed that people had been killed for cooperating with the front men paid by Christopher Steele to repackage a Russian information operation into the Trump dossier.


Then this:

Several administration officials said they fear Trump may reverse course and support Nunes’s argument.

Ya don’t say? Just because Rosenstein is persona non grata in the White House? And he seems to have zero control over Mueller? And Mueller is running about the countryside terrifying the peasants and molesting the livestock? And the people trying to get the documents are Trump allies? You think all of that might convince Trump to ignore Rosentein’s wishes? GET OUT!

Now it looks like those inchoate fears of “several administration officials” have come to pass. Today Devin Nunes and Trey Gowdy had a meeting and they are happy with the outcome:

This is how the Washington Post spins it: Nunes’s confrontation with Justice Department appears to ease.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) backed away from an open confrontation with the Justice Department on Thursday after a private meeting with senior intelligence officials who said they could not give him top-secret information about an intelligence source who had aided special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, according to people familiar with the matter.

White House officials have urged the two sides to meet and try to resolve their differences, and Nunes traveled to the Justice Department Thursday with Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) for a meeting with Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein as well as DNI and FBI officials.


Nunes’ fight has “eased” because he’s getting what he wants. How do we know that?

The senior Democrat on the committee, Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.), received a separate briefing on the subject later in the day, according to people familiar with the matter. A spokesman for Schiff declined to comment.

Also Thursday, Nunes received public support in his battle from House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.), who called Nunes’s request “wholly appropriate.”

Ryan said he thought the Justice Department should have answered Nunes’s questions on the matter much earlier.

“I expect that we will be able to have an accommodation to honor this request because first of all it’s our job to do oversight of the executive branch,” he said. “This request is perfectly appropriate within the scope of the committee’s investigation, and I hope and believe and expect that they’ll be complied with.”

Schiff is silent. Ryan says he expects Justice to cooperate. The White House has asked everyone to play nice but Ryan weighing in is a sure sign which way this goes if Nunes and Gowdy aren’t happy. Just like yesterday, Rosenstein and Justice will be ordered to cooperate.


This is just another fight that the bureaucrats at Justice have picked that they will have to climb down from. It is another black mark on Rosenstein’s reputation.


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