The Case For and Against Impeaching Conspirator Rod Rosenstein
By: Dr. Jake Baker - TapWires News Service
I saw this article on Powerline.com and knew immediately that I had to respond. I am presenting Mr. Mirengoff's article in full below. I wanted all to see his complete argument and find out which side most of you fall on. Below his article is my answer in brief. I look forward to your comments.
BY JULY 29, 2018-
I don’t think any of us has commented on the articles of impeachment filed against Rod Rosenstein by a small number of conservative House Republicans. My comment is that there is no case for impeaching Rosenstein. I’ll give my reasons in a moment.
I assume the articles were filed in order to focus attention on the fact that the Department of Justice hasn’t produced documents requested by the House at the desired pace. The authors probably wanted to rouse House leadership to engage the issue of document production and maybe to encourage President Trump to sack him. They apparently achieved at least partial success on the first objective, and now have backed off some on impeaching Rosenstein.
Should impeachment articles be filed for these purposes? I don’t think so. But impeachment as political theater is probably the wave of the future. That future is due to begin in earnest next year, if Democrats gain control of the House.
Now let’s consider whether Rosenstein deserves to be impeached. The main grievance against him is the Justice Department’s failure to produce documents expeditiously. If it were an impeachable offense not to produce documents as quickly as the party seeking them wants, I would have been “impeached” from my law practice more than once. The slow production of documents is nothing like the “high crimes and misdemeanors” the Constitution establishes as the standard for impeachment.
Moreover, as Jack Goldsmith argues, the House has remedies other than impeachment. The normal remedy is to seek to enforce the subpoena for documents in court. This has not been done, though the authors of the impeachment articles are talking about doing so now.
Another remedy in the current circumstances would be for President Trump to order Rosenstein to produce more material faster. I agree with Goldsmith that Congress would overstep its authority in micromanaging the executive branch if it impeached an official for refusing to turn over information the president has not ordered him to turn over.
The articles also cite conflicts of interests that Rosenstein allegedly labors under. To some extent, as Goldsmith shows, these articles rely on statements of fact that aren’t true.
I do believe that Rosenstein has a potentially serious conflict if Robert Mueller is investigating the decision to fire James Comey. Rosenstein recommended firing Comey and thus would be a fact witness in a proper investigation of that decision. Assuming, as I do, that Mueller is investigating this decision, Rosenstein should recuse himself from this part of the investigation.
I don’t know whether he has. I also don’t know whether he has obtained an ethics opinion that blesses the way he’s handling this. It’s likely that he has. In that event, I don’t see how it could be am impeachable offense — a high crime and misdemeanor — to proceed as Rosenstein is proceeding.
Document disputes occur all the time in litigation and disputes over what is a conflict of interest are not uncommon. In litigation and investigations involving the government, they are not grounds for impeaching government lawyers.
I’m no fan of Rosenstein. I am a fan of some of the congressional Republicans who filed the articles of impeachment against him. But the articles do not support the remedy. Rosenstein shouldn’t be impeached.
Dr. Jake Baker
I am not sure what acts, in your mind, would rise to the level of impeachable offenses. But here are the facts, as I understand them, and I believe they are impeachable offenses. First, and the most egregious infraction, is signing the FISA warrant with unproven, unverified, knowingly false information, including the status of the witness who was fired for lying to the FBI and the outrageously concealed origin of the document, all of which, individually and collectively, constitute perpetrating a fraud on the court. If that does not constitute a “high crime or misdemeanor”, can you tell me what does?
Further, on several occasions Mr. Rosenstein has lied to congress and hidden documents requested by congress. He has continually redacted documents claiming sources and methods, when, in fact, this was nothing more than a shameful attempt to hide the truth from congress, which is investigating a very serious matter surrounding the attempt to fix a federal election. Does that not constitute a high crime or misdemeanor?
It is one thing to slow roll investigators … it is quite another to hide documents and lie about first their existence and then their contents to protect both the guilty individual(s) and institutions which have clearly become corrupt. Rosenstein has done both on numerous occasions. Mr. Rosenstein misled congress about when the spying on the president began. Implications are now that said spying well-proceeded the legal authorizations to do so.
So, fraud upon the court, lying to congress, lying to federal investigators, andperpetrating a fraud upon the court seem, as I said earlier, certainly in the minds of many to constitute impeachable offenses as individual acts, let alone in the totality of his collective misdeeds. In light of all of this, I am shocked that you would say that impeachment is too severe a tool for this behavior.
I do not see this as political theater. I view this, in the cold light of day, as an act of treason. Stealing an election and framing a sitting president is, in my non-legal opinion, the behavior of a cadre of traitors, guilty individually and more importantly, guilty as participants in a criminal conspiracy. Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton and the DNC laundered millions through the Perkins Coie law firm to cover up the fact that they paid a foreign agent $12 million to have agents of the Russian government create a fictitious dossier to hang around the president’s neck.
Now, to deal with the slow document production. I would ask you, if a judge demanded you to produce documents and more than a year later you failed to produce them, what do you imagine his response might be? I doubt he would be pleasant in his dealings with you. Finally, if in fact Rosenstein is hiding documents to cover up a crime, which appears to be the case, should he not, while under the ethical cloud, recuse himself for this reason as well.
In total, perpetrating a fraud upon the court, lying to congress, concealing his relationship with Mueller and Comey, and appointing as special counsel Robert Mueller, whom he knew had an acrimonious business relation with Donald Trump, is indeed grounds for impeachment. It may well be grounds for a criminal indictment.
Finally, the rules for the DOJ require a recusal if the individual has a personal relationship with either Mueller or Comey, which he does. He is also a witness in the case of “obstruction”, which Mueller is pushing because he recommended firing Comey, which is reportedly the basis for the obstruction investigation. That being the case, impeachment should only be the first step in his indictment and prosecution.