Sometimes I wonder if Donald Trump knew what he was really getting himself into when he decided to run for president and drain the swamp.
Everywhere he’s turned he has met roadblocks, opposition and betrayal as he tries to infuse policy he thinks will make America great again.
And ever since he was accused of colluding with Russia to sway the 2016 election, the constant turn of events have played out like a bad daytime drama. The latest twist in the plot centers around Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, and if reports are true, he could be in a heap of trouble.
On Saturday, Michael Goodwin wrote in the New York Post that Rosenstein ordered United States Attorney Geoffrey Berman to recuse himself from the investigation into the Michael Cohen case, which in turn would leave his office staffed with Obama administration holdovers from Preet Bharara’s tenure as Berman’s predecessor.
Berman was appointed to the Southern District of New York position by President Trump after he fired Preet Bharara, an Obama appointee.
Since his firing, Preet has made his feelings known that he is not a Trump supporter. The bias is clear. Looks like the president made a good call on that one.
Chris Strohm of Bloomberg reports the significance of this move as they allege the strings of this case are being pulled not by the Justice Department, but by prosecutors in the Southern District of New York.
“Cohen’s guilty plea was secured as part of an investigation led by the U.S. attorney’s office in Manhattan, not by Special Counsel Mueller or Justice Department headquarters, another frequent target of the president’s derision. Instead, the deal was made by Robert Khuzami, deputy U.S. attorney for the New York office,” he wrote.
“But neither Rosenstein nor Mueller is calling the shots for the investigation in New York, according to two people familiar with the matter. The U.S. attorney’s office for the Southern District of New York, commonly known as SDNY, has the independence to take investigative steps and charge people without approval from Rosenstein, one of the people said.
So while Rosenstein was consulted about Cohen’s plea, which implicated Trump in campaign finance crimes, he didn’t sign off on it or approve it, the person said. It’s not clear whether Attorney General Jeff Sessions’s recusal from Mueller’s probe extends to the investigation in Manhattan.”
To sum up the significance of this move, let’s just say that the SDNY is now driving the bus on any developing investigation into the Cohen case. While the Justice Department still holds oversight as all U.S attorneys still answer to Rosenstein, previously the SDNY has enjoyed independence of operation outside the U.S. Attorney’s office.
And the lines of communication are open and free between SDNY prosecutors and investigators in Robert Mueller’s office.
Bloomberg also states: “Rosenstein made the decision to give the Cohen case to SDNY following a referral from Mueller. That also ensured the investigation could continue even if Trump somehow managed to fire the special counsel, a politically dangerous move that many Republicans have warned the president to avoid.”
So, if it is true that Rosenstein intentionally moved the trial to SDNY, it might be more than a suspicious coincidence that a Trump-appointed attorney was ordered to recuse himself from the case leaving it to less-unbiased attorneys general.
What a mess and an endless saga of betrayal. Trump appointed Jeff Sessions as Attorney General in February of 2017, only to have Sessions recuse himself from the Russia investigations in the beginning of March of that year.
This left Rod Rosenstein in charge of overseeing the Russia investigations and he appointed Robert Mueller as Special Prosecutor in May of 2017. Since that time there has been no evidence of Russian collusion, but the Mueller team has bull dogged members of Trumps inner circle and charged them with various unrelated crimes.
You can’t make this stuff up, folks. These latest allegations are almost a kin to jumping the shark for television sweeps week.
I guess we will see who wins in the ratings race in November.
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