Rosenstein, Justice Department, FBI discussed on Opening Arguments
So in case that wasn't totally clear, is leaked page instructs personal messages to reporters in an attempt to curry favor with Republicans by ensuring that every front page was flogging the FBI bias storyline even as the hearing was being gaveled in. And she did it in a really underhanded way, such as to make it look like the reporters got those messages from Congress, not from the Justice Department. Yeah. Here's how Lisa page described it in her complaint. She said, disclosure of the text messages before Rosenstein's hearing would serve multiple goals. It would protect Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein from criticism during his testimony. It would show that the department was addressing matters of concern to the president, and it would dominate coverage of the hearing, which otherwise could be unfavorable for the department. And the department could achieve all of this at the relatively low cost in the department's view of the privacy of two FBI employees, miss page, a longtime DoJ and FBI attorney at mister struck, a career FBI agent. Right. But as it turned out, not every single reporter in D.C. was down to get played like that. And so Natasha Bertrand, who was then insider, wrote a story about it, quoting is gerst predecessor Matthew Miller, who called is Chris behavior appalling. He said, this is an ongoing investigation in which these employees have due process rights, and the political leadership at DoJ has thrown them to the wolves so Rosenstein can get credit from House Republicans at his hearing today. Yeah. And again, this one hits home for me. At least like I said at the time that Rosenstein was appointed Deputy Attorney General that he was probably the single most respected Republican in the state of Maryland. I've served with him in multiple capacity. This one hurt. Yeah, I think that that was is doing a lot of work there. But anyway, at this point, the DoJ inspector general was already going through page instructs texts as part of his own inquiry to determine if the investigations they worked on were tainted by bias. In fact, the IG concluded that they were not. But at the time, when Rosenstein was appearing before Congress, and he was asked about it by representative Hakeem Jeffries, because he was like, where the hell did these texts come from? You clearly leaked them. So Rosenstein defended himself by saying that in under oath that IG had signed off on the disclosure to the media. But the next day, or actually two days later, the IG called Rosenstein out on is bullshit and released a statement that said, quote, at no time prior to the release of the text messages did the department consult with the OIG about providing records to the media. And more than just the womp womp noise like this is a civil violet. We're going to talk about it. This is one of the bases for page instructs claims. Right. But at the time, the GOP got the storyline and wanted, and so did Trump, who he spent months and months, shit posting about struck and page the most vulgar and humiliating terms. Any generally claimed that the Mueller investigation was biased, wish it wasn't. And he called repeatedly for page instructor to be fired from the FBI. Page, remember that's the lawyer, resigned in May of 2018. And struck was fired the following August. And in fact, Trump does continue to talk talk shit about them now on February 2nd of this year. He bragged to Hugh Hewitt that he personally fired page instruct. He said, quote, don't forget, these guys before I ever got in, they were spying on my campaign long before I got in. This didn't just happen. And if I didn't fire Comey, and if I didn't fire mccabe instruct and page and all of that scum that was in there, you would have had, they were trying to do it overthrow an overthrow. Okay. And they just think of it. They spied on my campaign from the time I came down the escalator, and here I am innocently running to do something great. And I have this garbage that's in there headed up by Comey in the group. They spied on my campaign and I got rid of them all. I got rid of them all. Okay, so clearly taking credit for firing all of them. Yes. Look, the Trump stuff is reprehensible. We know that. I want to add just to make sure because the Hugh Hewitt sanitizing efforts, like he's on MSNBC sometimes, like, I hate this guy. I mean, seriously, I do. Like, just to take one thing picked at random, like hue you it never discloses never, ever when he's being brought on to comment about the Trump administration. That his son James worked for the Trump administration, right? So Hunter Biden's laptop, biggest scandal in the world to these guys. You know, it's Super Bowl conflict of interest because reasons, but Hewitt carried water for Trump without failing the need to mention that Trump was paying money directly to his son. Hate that guy. Yeah. Girls say. Sorry. So the following year, page instruct both sued the Justice Department. Page suit for violation of the privacy act and struck suit for wrongful termination, violation of his due process rights and also under the privacy act. So Matthew Miller, when he said that day on December 13th, wow, this looks like, you know, due process and privacy act violations. You know, good guess, buddy. Yeah. And we are going to get into exactly what the privacy act is. Right after this ad break. Okay, we're back from the break. Right beforehand, I had teased the privacy act, which is 5 USC section 5 5 two a and again, this is one of those situations where Congress will insert a statute in between old 5 USC 5 5 two and USC 5 53. So the a is actually on the number itself. It could be a little bit confusing. Anyway, that statute, the privacy act is about your rights as a government employee for who gets access to the government records about you and why. And so one of the things that it protects for government in place is subsection B, which says that quote no agency shall disclose any record to another person or agency except pursuant to a written request by or with the prior written consent of the person whose record it is. And then look, there are 12 exceptions. They're all pretty narrow, right? So that seems like exactly the kind of thing that the Trump administration 100% definitely violated with respect to page and struck who were never asked, hey, would you like us to disclose your records to Jim Jordan in Congress? Or, I mean, even if they were allowed to disclose them to Jim Jordan, they weren't allowed to disclose them to all of those reporters. I think that. Yeah. Right, right. And I think it's important to acknowledge seriously what this cost page personally, right? Because I'm not going to repeat what Trump said about her, but it was really gross. I mean, here's how she described it the fallout to Molly Jong fast, who was then at The Daily Beast. She said, it is almost impossible to describe. It's like being punched in the gut. My heart drops to my stomach when I realized he's tweeted about me again. The president of United States is calling me names to the entire world. He's demeaning me and my career. It's sickening, but it's also very intimidating because he's still the president of the United States. And when the president accused you of treason by name, despite the fact that I know there's no fathomable way I have committed any crime at all, let alone treason. He's still somebody in a position to actually do something about that. So, you know, it was awful. They destroyed this woman's life on purpose for just modicum of political gain. So she's suing for damages and struck is also seeking damages under the privacy act. But he's suing for wrongful termination and due process violations as well. Because of the circumstances of his dismissal, right? Remember that page page quit, but he was actually fired. So according to stress complaint, the FBI conducted a disciplinary inquiry that was led by a woman named Kansas will. She's an assistant director of the or she was. I assume she's not there anymore. Assistant director of the bureau's office of professional responsibility. The penalty for sending intemperate internal text is not super high. It's like a couple of days suspension or something. In his complaint, struck likes it likens it to the Hatch Act, which he notes the Trump administration violated basically reckless abandon. That is an understatement to say the least.