Trump On the Attack vs. FBI, Justice Department
The release of the Nunes memo at noon Eastern yesterday was timed to dominate the news cycles on both the East and West Coasts, as well as all points in between. The Super Bowl is coming up tomorrow, but in the aftermath of both the political news and the #takeaknee movement, there's little Super Hoopla evident; by Monday nobody will care who won. But the beat in Washington will go on:
Rod J. Rosenstein’s tenure as deputy attorney general and the top Justice Department official overseeing the Russia investigation appears to be in peril after President Trump refused to say Friday whether he had confidence in him. After Trump authorized release of a controversial memo on FBI surveillance practices by House Intelligence Committee Republicans, he was asked by a reporter whether he was more likely to fire Rosenstein and whether he had confidence in the 27-year-veteran of the Justice Department who oversees its day-to-day operations and special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation.
“You figure that one out,” Trump replied.
Well, duh. Rosenstein is, after all, the guy who instigated the Mueller "Russian collusion" probe when, acting in the stead of the late Jeff Sessions, he authorized the year-long, open-ended fishing expedition into... something. And that's not all:
The memo says that Rosenstein signed an application to renew a surveillance warrant on Carter Page, a former Trump campaign adviser, and says that information justifying that and other warrant requests to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court was tainted by political bias. The FBI has said it has “grave concerns” that the memo leaves out important material, creating an inaccurate impression of its work.
As it happens, the president also has grave concerns about the FBI, as well as the Justice Department. To wit:
Trump Calls Justice Department and F.B.I. Conduct ‘a Disgrace’
President Trump on Friday intensified his attacks on his own Justice Department and F.B.I. for their handling of the investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 elections, hinting that senior leaders there should face consequences for conduct he called “a disgrace.”
Mr. Trump, who has become increasingly outspoken in his suggestions of wrongdoing by law enforcement officials as the inquiry has reached deeper inside the White House, made his comments as he announced that he had declassified a secret memo prepared by House Republicans that insinuates that the Russia investigation has been tainted by Democratic bias. “I think it’s terrible,” Mr. Trump said of the actions described by the document, which accuses federal law enforcement officials of abusing their authority when they sought permission to surveil a former Trump campaign adviser, Carter Page.
“It’s a disgrace what’s happening in our country,” Mr. Trump added. “A lot of people should be ashamed of themselves, and much worse than that.”