By Dan Calabrese
Let’s play a game of Switch the Parties.
A Democrat Congress subpoenas documents on suspicion that the Justice Department acted improperly to help a Republican presidential candidate, or to screw a Democrat candidate, or both. The Justice Department consistently and defiantly refuses to comply with these subpoenas. The question for you: Do the media pay any attention to the DOJ’s defiance of congressional oversight? Do the media ask what the DOJ is hiding?
You’re laughing at the question because you already know the answer. But you probably didn’t know that the present-day Justice Department – theoretically the “Trump” Justice Department but in fact led by Obama holdovers – has once again ignored a legally binding congressional subpoena demanding documents pertaining to the FBI’s conduct concerning the 2016 election and the subsequent attempt to criminalize the actions of the Trump transition team.
The deadline was Tuesday to produce memos sought by the House Intelligence Committee, and to eliminate the redaction of crucial details in documents already turned over. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein once again chose to cover for the FBI rather than submitting to constitutionally established congressional oversight, while making himself sound like an innocent victim with his insistence that he will not be “extorted” by the Congress whose job it is to oversee his work.
What is Rosenstein hiding? As is usually the case, the best insight comes from the Wall Street Journal’s Kim Strassel:
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. Two House sources confirm for me that the Justice Department was recently delivered first a classified House Intelligence Committee letter and then a subpoena (which arrived Monday) demanding documents related to a new line of inquiry about the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Trump investigation. The deadline for complying with the subpoena was Thursday afternoon, and the Justice Department flouted it. As the White House is undoubtedly monitoring any new congressional demands for information, it is likely that President Trump’s tweet Wednesday ripping the department for not turning over documents was in part a reference to this latest demand.
Republicans also demand the FBI drop any objections to declassifying a section of the recently issued House Intelligence Committee report that deals with a briefing former FBI Director James Comey provided about former national security adviser Mike Flynn. House Republicans say Mr. Comey told them his own agents did not believe Mr. Flynn lied to them. On his book tour, Mr. Comey has said that isn’t true. Someone isn’t being honest. Is the FBI more interested in protecting the reputations of two former directors (the other being Mr. Mueller, who dragged Mr. Flynn into court on lying grounds) than in telling the public the truth?
It’s hard to have any faith in the necessity of the more than 300 redactions in the House Intel report, most of which the Republican committee members insist are bogus and should be removed. On every occasion that Justice or the FBI has claimed material must be withheld for the sake of national security or continuing investigations, it has later come out that the only thing at stake were those institutions’ reputations. Think the Comey memos, which showed the former director had little basis for claiming obstruction. Or Sen. Chuck Grassley’s criminal referral of dossier author Christopher Steele, the FBI’s so-called reliable source, whom we now know it had to fire for talking to the press and possibly lying.
Remember when Devin Nunes decided to publicly release his notes concerning the Steele dossier and the FISA application that relied on its to get wiretap approval against Carter Page? Rosenstein and FBI director Christopher Wray warned darkly that the release of the documents would endanger national security. Democrats and the media had apoplectic seizures over the possibility.
The documents did no such thing. They revealed no sources or methods, but did reveal that the FBI had done the very thing it had denied doing – relied almost exclusively on a partisan-funded smear to justify listening in on someone connected to the Trump campaign. Every single time the FBI and the DOJ has resisted the release of a document, only to see the document released anyway, the only consequence of the release was to show that the DOJ and the FBI had acted irresponsibly in their conduct of these investigations.
So what is Rod Rosenstein hiding this time? The same thing he’s always hiding.
That said, why is he able to keep getting away with doing this? Simple. Rosenstein is now unaccountable to anyone. The political class is warning Trump not to fire him because it will be portrayed as obstruction. When Congress tries to oversee his work, he simply ignores their efforts and runs to the media to complain he’s being extorted. Jeff Sessions can’t do anything to him because he foolishly recused himself from the Russian thing over meetings that were not objectionable in any way.
Rod Rosenstein is a power unto himself, and no one can touch him. He can protect the FBI all he wants, and the Beltway class treats him as sacrosanct. Even supposed conservatives like David French treat him as some sort of hero because he’s a thorn in Trump’s side.
The congressional threat to impeach him is the only thing left to hold Rosenstein accountable even as he blatantly thumbs his nose at the law.
They should make good on the threat.
Dan writes Christian spiritual warfare novels and does all kinds of other weird things too. Follow all his activity by liking him on Facebook!