President Donald Trump must fire Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. The case for Rosenstein’s removal grows stronger by the day.
Rosenstein deserves the door for two primary reasons. First, he has shown a complete unwillingness or inability (or some combination of the two) to monitor and supervise the Robert Mueller’s special counsel probe. Despite tens of millions of dollars of taxpayer expenditures and scores of utterly conflicted, corrupt investigators and attorneys, this seemingly endless Mueller inquest has only produced a few suspect process crimes and multiple indictments of Russian nationals and Paul Manafort for alleged infractions totally unrelated to our 2016 electoral triumph. Second, Rosenstein’s willful intransigence toward congressional oversight and refusal to comply with legitimate requests for documents and information necessitates that his supervisor, President Trump, relieve this dishonest political actor of his Justice Department role.
Our president cannot become subject to the demands and prerogatives of the very Justice Department he was elected to lead. Yet Rosenstein has allowed the Mueller probe to meander aimlessly in search for an offense no matter how tenuous or dubious in its legal foundations. For weeks, Mueller has attempted to pressure Trump into giving him an interview — seemingly for the sole purpose of snaring the president in a perjury trap. It is all an unseemly spectacle, but Rosenstein has let it continue. In contrast to the president, the Justice Department is very much subject to the scrutiny and oversight of the legislative body that created the department in the first place, the United States Congress.
So far, congressional inquiries into the affairs of the Obama Department of Justice and the present-day Mueller probe have been met with obfuscation and worse. For example, when House investigators recently met with Rosenstein, he criticized the committee staffers for requesting answers in writing and threatened to use subpoena power to demand their records and emails. Rosenstein conveniently forgets that the Congress has legitimate oversight responsibilities and that the peoples’ elected representatives cannot be thwarted by an inferior appointee. Regarding these threats, Fox News reported one staffer lamenting that “watching the Deputy Attorney General launch a sustained personal attack against a congressional staffer in retaliation for vigorous oversight was astonishing and disheartening.”
On the Hill, there’s understandable consideration of impeachment of Rosenstein, but such actions represent an abdication of the clear executive responsibilities by President Trump, who should handle this executive branch matter on his own volition.
This present imbroglio simply cannot be tolerated if we truly care about the rule of law and co-equal branches of government. Until now, I suspect the president has been reticent to interfere to avoid even the hint of a “Nixonian” invasion into the affairs of law enforcement. But, the time for caution has passed, and Rosenstein continues to prove himself defiant to the Congress and to our traditions.
Here’s the simple fact: Either Rosenstein’s noncompliance and complete lack of Mueller oversight represent total incompetence or it represents a willful and insubordinate pattern of actions aimed against the very president he supposedly serves.
Either way, Rosenstein must be fired right now.
Steve Cortes is a CNN political commentator and member of the Trump 2020 re-election campaign advisory council.
The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of The Daily Caller.