‘The point is, the whole concept that the campaign was colluding with the Russians—there was no there there in August 2017…’
(Ben Sellers, Liberty Headlines) The top Justice Department official who launched and oversaw the Mueller investigation into Russian collusion admitted under oath Wednesday that it was a mistake, but he continued to duck responsibility, insisting that the FBI deliberately withheld important details from him.
In the first day of what promises to be a lengthy investigation by the Senate Judiciary Committee into the motives behind the FBI’s Russiagate hoax against President Donald Trump, former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein agreed that in hindsight his appointment of Special Counsel Robert Mueller was improperly predicated.
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-SC, the committee chairman, grilled Rosenstein in a sometimes tense exchange as to why he had included several Trump campaign advisers in his scope memorandum authorizing Mueller to investigate them.
Using perjury traps and tangential charges, Mueller ultimately indicted two of them—Michael Flynn and George Papadopoulos—despite the presence of exculpatory information, which the FBI was fully aware of months before.
The bureau willfully overlooked and suppressed contradictory facts, and in at least one instance, FBI attorney Kevin Clinesmith purposely altered a CIA email that would have undermined the efforts to spy on campaign adviser Carter Page.
Graham noted that none of those investigated by Mueller had ultimately been charged with any crimes related to working with the Kremlin to interfere in the 2016 presidential campaign.
“The point is the whole concept that the campaign was colluding with the Russians—there was no there there in August 2017,” Graham said.
Rosenstein maintained, however, that there was “reasonable suspicion” at the time to warrant the appointment of a special counsel.
“As a result of events that followed the departure of the FBI director, I was concerned that the public would not have confidence in the investigation and that the acting FBI director was not the right person to lead it,” Rosenstein said in his opening statement.
Rosenstein claimed that he did not know of any instances in which McCabe lied to him, but neither did he provide the whole truth.
“I believed, senator, that Mr. McCabe was not fully candid with me,” Rosenstein said. “He certainly wasn’t forthcoming.”
Specifically, McCabe omitted information about Comey’s having conducted a counterintelligence investigation on the president-elect in what was supposed to be a debriefing session while trying to get Trump to acknowledge the salacious details of the now-debunked Steele Dossier.
“[I]n regard to the FBI’s suspicious about the president, Mr. McCabe did not reveal those to me for at least a week after he became acting director, despite the fact that we had repeated conversations focusing on this investigation,” Rosenstein said. “For whatever reasons, Mr. McCabe was not forthcoming with me about that.”
Even though Comey failed to procure the goods on Trump, he drafted memos of the private meetings and later allowed them to be leaked to the media, which helped bolster the push for Mueller’s appointment under false pretenses.
The two-year probe, costing an estimated $30 million, hobbled much of Trump’s early presidency and likely helped rival Democrats, who campaigned on impeachment, to reclaim the House of Representatives in the 2018 midterm election.
Graham charged that Rosenstein’s lack of oversight gave free rein to corrupt and biased FBI officials, including agent Peter Strzok and lawyer Lisa Page, two adulterous lovebirds whose private texts exposed their seditious intent to undermine Trump.
Even though Strzok had led the FBI’s “Crossfire Hurricane” investigation into Trump and Page had been integral in the “7th floor” scheme, both were initially included on Mueller’s team of investigative prosecutors until their public outing forced them to resign.
Other left-wing operatives, such as DOJ prosecutor Andrew Weissmann, remained on the Mueller staff for its duration.
Shockingly, before departing in disgrace, the lying FBI officials responsible for the hoax were allowed by Rosenstein to define the terms of Mueller’s authority.
After Graham pressed Rosenstein over what knowledge had informed his scope memorandum to Mueller, the latter conceded that the misleading information he received from his own DOJ liaisons likely had come directly from Strzok and Page.
“They gave you a document to sign, and here’s my belief: that they prepared the document—that they defined the scope of their own investigation,” Graham said.
“Is that fair to say, that you were just a conduit for it,” he asked Rosenstein, who reluctantly agreed.
Much of Rosenstein’s early testimony redirected the blame onto the FBI. However, GOP committee members continued to pass the buck back on him as the person at the top of the chain.
Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, blasted Rosenstein as being either “complicit” or “grossly negligent” in his failure to ask more questions, even after congressional inquiries had shed light on the FBI misconduct, reported Fox News.
Rosenstein, himself, was pressured to resign following the Mueller probe’s conclusion in March 2019 after it was revealed that he had discussed with McCabe the possibility of wearing a wire to ensnare Trump or using the 25th Amendment as basis to declare the president unfit for office.
Emails obtained via the Freedom of Information Act also appeared to reveal that he felt driven by a sense of patriotic duty at the time to relent to left-wing pressure from Obama officials in authorizing the Mueller probe.
However, Rosenstein told Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, that they had been taken out of context.