September 24, 2018

NYT’s Report About Rosenstein

On Friday, The New York Times reported, citing anonymous sources, that “the deputy attorney general, Rod J. Rosenstein, suggested last year that he secretly record President Trump in the White House to expose the chaos consuming the administration, and he discussed recruiting cabinet members to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove Mr. Trump from office for being unfit.” New York Times

Rosenstein issued a statement denying the story: “The New York Times’s story is inaccurate and factually incorrect. I will not further comment on a story based on anonymous sources who are obviously biased against the department and are advancing their own personal agenda. But let me be clear about this: Based on my personal dealings with the president, there is no basis to invoke the 25th Amendment.” Washington Examiner

See past issues

From the Left

The left is concerned that the Trump administration is in disarray, and worried about the implications for the Mueller investigation if Trump fires Rosenstein.

“This is the second time in two weeks we’ve heard about senior Trump administration officials broaching the 25th Amendment, which is used to remove a president deemed unfit for office; the first time was in that anonymous New York Times op-ed. Increasingly, it seems that those around Trump are so alarmed by his conduct that they are willing to entertain drastic options."

Washington Post

“If the private fears that we keep hearing about are accurate, it is time for these officials to air their views more publicly. The elections this November will determine the balance of power in Congress. By working in the shadows and keeping dramatic observations to themselves, even the most well-meaning officials become part of the apparatus that insulates the Trump presidency."


One of the Times reporters who broke the story explains, “Anonymity is really, really difficult for us... people get immediately skeptical of it, and it’s very hard for us to show all of our homework, and show all of the work, and who the folks were, and how they knew everything. It’s a really, really tough balancing act, and I get why readers don’t love it. The problem is that it’s our best, and maybe it’s our greatest, tool to do what we do."


Regarding the Mueller investigation, Trump “could very well use the news as pretext to fire the Justice Department’s second in command. If that happens, it could spell the beginning of the end for special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe... A new deputy attorney general could effectively cripple the Mueller investigation by rejecting Mueller’s requests to investigate more people, obtain new evidence, or pursue charges against additional people, for instance."


“Such a move from the president, which would carry strong echoes of the Watergate affair which brought down Richard Nixon, would likely push the US to the brink of a constitutional crisis."

The Guardian

Many are speculating about the source of the story. “Who might stand to benefit from the leak? And does that tell us anything about who might have leaked?"

The Atlantic

“The two issues with which he is most often associated, support for a balanced budget and opposition to free trade, put him at odds with both of our major political parties. An old-fashioned, soft-spoken Southerner, he nevertheless held views on so-called ‘social issues’ that would be to the left of the mainstream of the Republican Party, both then and now. He was a fervent supporter of the Vietnam POW/MIA movement in the late '80s and early '90s, but he was not in any sense a hawk. Never mind 2003. Perot opposed the first war in Iraq in 1990… Perot's death should be mourned by all Americans who regret the fact that it is no longer possible to make reasoned, non-ideological arguments about questions of public import, and by the devolution of our political life into mindless partisan squabbling.”
Matthew Walther, The Week

From the Right

The right is divided over the credibility of the story but agrees that, if it is true, Rosenstein must be fired.

From the Right

The right is divided over the credibility of the story but agrees that, if it is true, Rosenstein must be fired.

Some point out that “the story is based on an account by former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe about a meeting among Justice officials in May 2017. Mr. McCabe was part of the Jim Comey FBI tong that wants to elect a Democratic Congress and impeach Mr. Trump."

Wall Street Journal

“An official of otherwise impeccable integrity, Rosenstein's vehement denial of the New York Times story must be taken seriously... a prompt and vigorous investigation is now needed. That course of action is the only way that the truth can be established and public confidence in Rosenstein either retained or dissipated.”

Washington Examiner

Others, however, question Rosenstein’s denials. “Rosenstein won’t say exactly what is wrong in the report. He is careful not to say that the gist of the report is wrong — he just hopes that, if he sounds indignant enough, you will hear it that way. The Times may have gotten a few details wrong, but you can bet the story is essentially true."

National Review

“It is quite possible, as some officials interviewed by the Washington Post have suggested, that Andrew McCabe created false rumors and a false impression of what Rosenstein actually said. He may be completely innocent of this charge. But if the accusations are true, he should be dismissed from his current job immediately and perhaps also referred for further investigation."

Washington Examiner

Rosenstein, not Mueller, is the head of the Russiagate probe. If you believe the Times, the man who’s nominally in charge of ascertaining whether there’s probable cause to believe the president conspired with Russia and obstructed justice was thinking about the ‘constitutional coup’ option for removing him from office practically from the moment he joined the DOJ."

Hot Air

The president has no great option, only two bad ones. Keep the man who wanted to entrap and remove you, or fire him and bring on more trouble than you can handle. Welcome to the snake pit."

New York Post

“NBC and MSNBC embraced Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts in the first debate of Democratic presidential candidates Wednesday night, treating her like the star of the show. The debate led off with Warren, who had a huge popularity advantage from the start… NBC anchor Savannah Guthrie started it off sounding more like Warren’s press secretary. ‘You have many plans – free college, free child care, government health care, cancelation of student debt, new taxes, new regulations, the breakup of major corporations,’ Guthrie said, before teeing up an economy question. Guthrie even used Warren’s plan to break up tech companies as the foundation for a question for Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey… the round-robin final comments also ended with Warren, as Maddow asked her for the ‘final, final statement.’ That let NBC bookend the entire debate with Warren and Warren.”
Dan Gainor, Fox News

President Trump should be happy. As much as Warren is articulate, obviously intelligent, and energetically supported by Democrats, she would also be far easier to defeat than Joe Biden… Considering Trump's economy, the president is well placed to defeat Warren.”
Tom Rogan, Washington Examiner

A libertarian's take

“The fans who avidly followed the men’s tournament certainly weren’t doing anything wrong. And it’s hard to argue that each of them had a moral obligation to be exactly as interested in women’s soccer. Even if we could stop them from watching the men more than the women, should we?…

“It’s tempting to answer that the fan choices aren’t innocent, they’re sexist. But since we can’t peek into their hearts, to say that definitively, we’d have to assume that men’s greater speed, strength and endurance definitely make nodifference to the sport’s quality. Fair enough, but then why do fans prefer to watch Megan Rapinoe play instead of the sedentary elderly who could presumably use some exercise? Alternatively, maybe pay should be equalized precisely because biology is unfair. But that seems to be an argument for curbing the pay of all top-level athletes, who have to hit the genetic lottery just to get on the field. It might be easier to focus on the distributions across society at large, rather than every individual industry, especially when fundamental biology is in play.”
Megan McArdle, Washington Post

On the bright side...

Man shares home with 400 alligators, snakes and tarantulas - and sleeps with one gator.

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