Our Lying Eyes

Automatic TRANSCRIPT

The common sense commentary on politics culture and current events. If it's on your mind, it's in the news. And now in the news with your host, Mike Dakkak. Rod Rosenstein is mad as heck. And he's not going to take it anymore. The deputy attorney general gave a speech the other week where he blasted his critics and critics of the Justice department and specifically critics of the way the DOJ handled the rollout of the mullahs report. Rosenstein, gave a speech to a legal organization any hearken back to his confirmation hearings where he made promises about how the special counsel's investigation would be handled. I promised he said to see to it that it would be done. Right. And that it would be taken to its appropriate conclusion. I did not promise to make all of its results public. He said citing the fact that grand jury information is a category of information. For example, that must remain confidential. There's quite a bit of grand jury information indie Mullah report. And all of that information remains redacted to this date. It is not our job to render conclusive factual findings. He said, we just decide whether it is appropriate to file criminal charges. It took a shot at the press. He said some of the nonsense that passes for breaking news today would not be worth the paper. It was printed on if anybody bothered to print it Zing. He decried who he called a mercenary critics who get paid to quote, express passionate opinions about any topic often with little or no information. He then went on to quote, the president the rule of law is our most important principle. He said as President Trump pointed out we govern ourselves in accordance with the rule of law rather than the whims of an elite few or the dictates of collective will. Rosenstein, often speaks positively about the president when he speaking in public. But the last couple of weeks have called into question just where exactly his loyalties lie. There have been reports that he called President Trump and assured him that he would be treated fairly by the Muller investigation. I give the investigation credibility, Rosenstein, reportedly said I can land the plane now what exactly does that mean I can land the plane. Those comments were made in a phone call to President Trump last September. When news reports broke that during meetings in the kind of hectic days surrounding the firing of former FBI director, James Komi, Rosenstein offered to wear a wire to record President Trump apparently in the hopes of recording something incriminating that he might say. I never get, sir. Searched when I go to the White House. I could easily wear a recording device. They wouldn't even know it was there Rosenstein, reportedly said. He also brought up the twenty fifth amendment and conducted a kind of unofficial whip count of which Trump cabinet officials might go along with invoking it under the twenty fifth amendment device. President acting with a majority of the principal officers of the executive departments also known as cabinet officials can communicate to congress that day feel that a sitting president is unable to carry out the duties of his office. He would then be removed from office and the vice president would then assume the president's duties in may two thousand eighteen President Trump we now know fired James Komi because he wouldn't publicly state that President Trump was not the target of the FBI's investigation into Russian interference. There was shall we say concern in the nation's law enforcement. Circles over that action. You know, looking back on fire and Komi was maybe President Trump's single biggest blunder as present. It was supported by people in the White House. Like, Stephen Miller, it was opposed by people like Steve Bannon. Bannon would actually go on to call the Komi firing the worst mistake and modern political history. He said of Komi hadn't been fired. We wouldn't have the Muller investigation, or at least we would not have it at the depth and breath that we had that assessment is not that far off from the truth isn't the days after the Komi firing were very kind of hectic, there was a lot of talk about what if anything needed to be done about President Trump. It was during one of those meetings that Rosenstein, muses to other DOJ and F B I officials about wearing a wire and also brings up the twenty fifth amendment, and how many other cabinet officials might support a move like that. So it's easy to understand. Why the president would be furious about such a conversation, and why Rosenstein may have had some explaining to do now at the time Rosenstein, really downplayed the seriousness of his comments. He put out a statement at the time through a spokeswoman that read in part as the deputy attorney general previously has stated based on his personal dealings with the president. There is no basis to invoke the twenty fifth amendment. Interesting. What that statement didn't say at the time that the accusations that Rosenstein offered to wear a wire or brought up the twenty fifth amendment are false it just reads twenty fifth among no, I don't see a basis to invoke the twenty fifth amendment. So to assuage the president Rosenstein tells him basically, not to worry, interestingly Rosenstein, also played a rather prominent role in the firing of Komi Trump made up his mind to fire comb. Me after Komi testified before congress in may two thousand seventeen. Me testifies before congress and announces publicly that there was an investigation being run by the FBI into Russian interference in the twenty sixteen presidential election. He was asked whether that investigation was looking into members of the Trump campaign up to an including the president himself Komi the Klein's to answer. Now, it seems kind of quaint now. But at the time, this was headline news, and the fact that Komi didn't rule anyone involved in the Trump campaign out, including the president himself made big headlines. I mean there were suspicions. And there were various news stories that reported on the existence of such investigation. But here was the head of the FBI the nation's premier law enforcement agency confirming for the country indeed for the world that an official investigation had begun into Russian interference. Fearance in the US presidential election, and whether that interference had cooperation from campaign members of one of the two major nominees for president and obey the way, it's the campaign of the nominee. Who would also go on to win and his currently sitting in the White House. Now unbeknownst to us at the time me had up until that point informed. President Trump on three separate occasions that he was not the target of that investigation. Trump asked Komeito make that public call me the Klein for several reasons the main one being Komi felt that if you were to make that statement public if that faction ever changed he would have to go out and make that public as well. And if President Trump thought the Russia investigation was casting a cloud over his presidency before potential statement like that was made one can only imagine what it would be like after one was made so corny the clients to make that public as the president had requested that makes Trump furious. And he decides he's going to fire Komi Jeff Sessions. The former attorney general actually suggested the Bannon recalls that Trump brings Komi up at least eight times between that. Day that he testified and the next he's a show boater. He says grant Stander there was no collusion. Bannon tells Trump he can't fire me because that ship has sailed. He also says that firing Komi is not going to stop the investigation. He could fire the FBI director band says, but you can't fire the FBI. So of course, what is President Trump? Do you the sides? He's going to fire James combing the following week. He meets with members of senior staff as well as Jeff Sessions and rod Rosenstein at the meeting exactly how to go about firing comas discussed sessions, and Rosenstein, both criticized Komi and do not raise any objections to replacing him that leads White House counsel to believe that they've got some legal cover to getting rid of combing someone suggests the president permit Komi to resign, the president refuses. He's adamant that comas is to be fired then someone suggests having sessions and Rosenstein provide kind of memos of recommendation that. Oh me fired the president likes that idea. So he agrees to it both sessions and Rosenstein provide those memos to the president the next day and comas alternately fired. Now, the announcement sends shockwaves throughout the country, and it doesn't play out the way the White House and President Trump originally believed it would generally speaking the reaction is not positive for the president. There were all kinds of questions about whether the president is trying to slow down. If not an outright the Russia investigation with this move, the White House kind of does a full court press in the media and says, well, listen, this whole thing was Rosenstein idea. No one from the White House was involved. It was DOJ decision said White House press secretary at the time. Sean spicer. That turn of events may have led to those conversations Rosenstein was having. But if Rosenstein was so unhappy about the way things happened during that week. Why did he fight so hard to stay on board in the administration after reports of those events broke why tell the president that he could land the plane, and that he lends the investigation credibility all too often in Washington, especially these days this administration, you're asked not to believe your lying is or you're lying years to coined phrase. You're told that what you're seeing or hearing is not really happening. The president says he has a great relationship with Putin, for example. And then says, well, I don't know porn Rosenstein, muses about the twenty fifth amendment. And then tells the president that only he can land the plane, how do you know, which way is truly up trying to navigate with a compass that isn't working as it should. As far as Rosenstein is concerned. It's all kind of democ now because he submitted his resignation letter. This week effective may eleventh he thanked the president for the opportunity to serve and highlighted these special duty, the department of Justice has to remain above politics. The department bears a special responsibility to avoid partisanship, political considerations may influence policy choices, but neutral principles must drive decisions about individual cases Rosenstein row in his letter. We enforce the law without fear or favour because credible. Evidence is not partisan and truth is not determined by opinion polls, we ignore fleeting distractions and focus our attention on the things that matter because Republic that endures is not governed by the new cycle. He adds. He may have been trying to get out of the DOJ while the getting was good as they say because it looks like the department of Justice is not going to remain above politics for very much longer. At least not at the very top levels. We found out for example, this week that Robert Mueller is not all that thrilled. With the way, the rollout of his report was handled by DOJ brass either its arms out that Muller sent a letter to attorney general William bar criticizing even of lightly the way, he summarized his report and the way that summary was being interpreted by the media. The summary letter the -partment sent a congress and released to the public lay in the afternoon of March twenty fourth did not fully capture the context nature and substance of this offices work and conclusions. Reads Muller's letter, we communicated that concern so the department on the morning of March twenty fifth there is now public confusion about critical aspects of the results of our investigation. This threatens to undermine a central purpose for which the department appointed the special counsel to assure full public confidence in the outcome of the investigations. Muller's letter was dated March twenty seventh about five days after bar sent a letter to congress summarizing Muller's report. It's being reported that the two men Mulhearn born spoke on the phone for fifteen minutes the day after bar received Muller's letter. So that would put it at about March twenty eighth the two men have known each other for years, by the way in Arkansas, it'd friends now DOJ officials said they were taken aback at the tone of Muller's letter saying that it came as a surprise to them that Muller felt this way until that point. They believed everyone involved was on the same page as far as the reports conclusions. Go as well as the rollout protocols. A Mahler in his letter also called on bar to release his executive summaries. The report if you haven't taken look at it is divided into two volumes one for Russian interference and the methods. The Russians used to carry it out and one for the obstruction of Justice investigation into the president's actions and those around them Muller prepared executive summaries there right at the top of each volume. First thing you see right after the table of contents that summarized the investigation's findings and their recommendations, such as they were it seems now that Muller prepared them for these specific purpose of being released by the DOJ while everyone involved worked out what they were going to do with the entire report, they provide more detail than bars summary letter, clearly, but not as much as the entire report. What they don't provide answers to. And it's basically the only question anyone really cares about at this point is why Muller did not give a recommendation on whether to file obstruction of Justice charges against the president. Or anyone in his circle? Now bar upon receiving Muller's letter is a little perplexed. So he called Muller and the two men spoke on the phone for fifteen minutes bar asks him, do you think my memo to congress was inaccurate Muller said, no. But felt that the media coverage of it was misinterpreting the investigation. Barr. Also reportedly took issue with Muller's calling of the bar letter a summary saying that he never intended to summarize Muller's report only the state for the record. It's top line conclusions. Now ficials at the Justice department, characterized the call us cordial but said there were disagreements between the two men on how to proceed bar felt that it was pointless to release more partial information at that point and opted instead to release the entire report which was done about three weeks later. Justice department officials were also by the way, a little miffed at Muller and his team for not submitting the report with proposed. Reductions Muller subsequently sent along his suggested reductions, but those only covered a few areas of information and the documents required further review meaning further delay before they can be released. And so far gives Muller his phone number as well and tells him the call him if he has any future concerns now I have yet to make up my mind on bar. I'm not exactly sure if President Trump's interests ever came into conflict with DOJ's interests which side bar would come down on. But it's hard to put your finger on any one thing and say, objectively he did that wrong in this little episode. He quoted the top line findings of the report fairly accurately. Not completely not thoroughly. But okay. I mean, he is a Trump appointee. That is probably to be expected, but he asked if Muller disagreed with his conclusion Muller said, no he said he wanted to get the whole report out there rather than just the executive summaries. He made disagree with it. But you can kinda see his point is well he had a three week head start to control the narrative for Trump world. Okay. But now we have the whole report. I don't know how much. Longer. He would be in control of that narrative, if there were anything truly damning in the report that bar misrepresented and terms of the top line findings that is. He also gave Muller's personal phone number told them the call him personally, if there is anything else that happened that concerned him making himself available. Sounds like a good faith effort Muller is mad at the perception of the report. But the perception of the report is the way it is. Because of the way it was written and the conclusions or not conclusions reached the conclusions of prosecutor who just conducted a review or an investigation as binary as has been said charges are no charges. If Muller feels charges should be brought he should have said that if he feels don't charges should be brought he should have said that if you feels that charges could be broad, but not while Trump as president. But hey, the mini he leaves office. We should slap the cuffs on him. And he should have said that if you felt and not enough evidence existed for criminal charges, but ample evidence for congress to take it up exists and see if it qualifies for impeachment. Then you could have said that this needed to be spelled out for us. The Muller report is four hundred pages. Long four forty eight to be exact he could've used the I four hundred forty seven of them for nuance. The conclusions on the last page of the report needed to be simple straightforward and leave very little room for interpretation, especially by political appointees. Which is what William bar'll to me is no one knows more about this issue at this point than Robert Muller and his team. That's why he had to judge whatever heat or criticism that brought with it. Barr spent the week testifying and dodging testimony as well on Capitol Hill this week. It should have been more on Capitol Hill this week. He's the only person that matters that we hear from. Now anyone else or anything else that gets revealed is probably only going to raise more questions than it will answer Rosenstein said in his fiery speech the other week. It is not our job to render conclusive factual findings. We just decide whether it is appropriate to file criminal charges. But mar didn't do that he left a little more room for interpretation and partisan infighting. Then was truly helpful at this point. And until some of that room gets closed out. We're going to be left wondering if we should believe the partisans the political appointees or our lying eyes. Well, that's our show for today. Hope you enjoyed it. You have any comments on any of the issues. We talked about today. Drop me a line. You can reach comments ITN show dot com. That's comments at IT ancho dot com. And remember you can keep up with in the news on Twitter and on Facebook at ITN show. That's not an show one word dice again for listening everyone until next time take care. If it's on your mind. It's in the news subscribed to end the news on both. I tunes and on Stitcher radio. This has been in the news.

Coming up next