Devin Nunes dropped a bombshell yesterday in an interview with Maria Bartiromo [Video Here]. Many people are overlooking the implications of his speculation; and, more importantly how Nunes statement answers just about every contradictory question people have carried. Including:
- Why Rosenstein introduced Mueller to President Trump the day before he was appointed as Special Counsel?
- Why Mueller/Rosenstein are hiding the investigative origination letter?
- Why President Trump has NOT been able to declassify documents? and
- Why President Trump is, and will always be, hamstrung by the Mueller investigation?
In short, Devin Nunes speculated that Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein put the substantive allegations from the Fusion-GPS/Ohr/Steele Dossier into his investigative instructions (full pdf below) that he gave Robert Mueller.
If it is accurate that Rosenstein charged Robert Mueller with investigating the dossier claims; and if Nunes is accurate that the DOJ investigative target, a derivative of the dossier, is Donald Trump; well, everything starts to make a hell of a lot more sense.
If the mandate given to Robert Mueller was to specifically investigate the sitting president of the United States as an active participant, and subsequent target, for a counterintelligence operation, then DAG Rod Rosenstein -and Mueller- would have to hide that mandate from everyone and anyone.
More specifically, Rosenstein would NEVER be able to honestly discuss the Mueller probe with President Trump; because President Trump would be the primary target within the investigation. And that changes EVERYTHING.
Now, at first blush this likelihood might sound disingenuous, but if you think about the downstream ramifications; and then contrast those ramifications against what we know has factually taken place; then things make a lot more sense.
Remember, back when this entire nonsense began, President Trump strongly said he had nothing to do with any coordination with Russia; nothing to do with collusion with Russia; and also stated he was okay with the investigation as it looked into the propriety of people within the 2016 campaign. However, these statements were also with the assumption, held by himself as a result of -perhaps false- confirmations from James Comey, that he himself was not a target.
If Nunes speculation is accurate; and if the reporting (based on leaks) that has surfaced in the two-plus years of the investigation is accurate; then President Trump was and is the target, and none of the principles would be able to discuss the key elements specifically because of this extra-constitutional issue.
All of President Trump’s prior commentary would be based on a (2017/2018) assumption that he was not the target of the FBI probe that was eventually turned over to Mueller by Rosenstein. If Nunes is accurate; and that origination instruction includes the specific charge to investigate the President; then all prior assumptions are invalid.
- Rosenstein (or any DOJ/FBI official) would always be engaging with POTUS as a target. All conversation would be clouded by that aspect. As a result, Rosenstein could never be fully honest with President Trump; or answer any question therein.
- Any action taken by President Trump (emphasis on “any”) would therefore potentially be direct influence by the President toward an investigation that held him as a target. He could never be permitted to approach the investigation…. yet he would never find anyone with an honest answer as to why he cannot approach the investigation.
We previously pondered this aspect when we outlined “the declassification conundrum“. However, at the time we did not evaluate the classifications issue from a target perspective; we were evaluating the issue as if President Trump was the victim of the illegal targeting.
If you flip the paradigm and now look at what actions President Trump could take, while reconsidering that he is the likely principle target, well, two years of contradictory things start to make more sense.
The conversation, and inability of Rosenstein to be honest with POTUS, changes the dynamic of this tweet:
POTUS writing: “may have a perceived negative impact on the Russia probe” takes on a whole new meaning when you consider a conversation where Rosenstein cannot be honest with the target of the “Russia probe”…. and the target has essentially no idea.
Remember, throughout 2017 and 2018, the basic assumption -due to visible and public declarations by the DOJ- was that Mueller was conducting an investigation into Russian interference with the election; and/or other matters that may surface as an outcome of that investigation. However, we never knew (still don’t) the actual content of the August 2017 clarification mandate that Rosenstein gave to Mueller (see below):
If accurate, we can imagine a conversation where Mueller approaches Rosenstein in July and August 2017:
Mueller: “Rod, Andrew [Weissmann] wants to go deep into this stuff his buddy Glenn Simpson gave to the team; however, it’s likely a lot of this stuff doesn’t have anything to do with Russian interference of the election. If you want me to allow that, you’re going to have to give some specific expansion of the investigation, in writing, to look into all the stuff inside this dossier.”
Rosenstein: “OK Bob, I’ll put it in writing, but we’ve got to keep this part away from view or the targets will know we’re using an unvetted dossier, which could be portrayed as political opposition research funded by Clinton, as evidence against them…. fair enough?”
Taking Nunes speculation as accurate (after much more thought, it likely is) the redacted portion of the published mandate would be the part where President Trump is outlined as a target.
A direct target, or an indirect target, matters not. What matters is that President Trump is A TARGET. That would explain why Mueller requested that Rosenstein write down a much more expanded explanation for the mandate that no-one, [NO-ONE other than Judge Ellis (Manafort case)], has ever seen.
Knowing he would be entering into this foray where President Trump is the target, you can easily see why Mueller would want to meet with President Trump ahead of accepting the job. The entire enterprise would be fraught with tenuous extra-constitutional issues. Mueller’s target is the most powerful person in the world; and the ramifications are rather stunning.
Any action taken by President Trump to declassify documents, that would show the dubious structure of the originating FBI investigation, would now be considered as: the target of the investigation undermining the investigation into himself.
Under this principle, congress requesting President Trump to declassify documents showing the unlawful nature of the investigative origination is an exercise in futility.
Congress is asking the target of the unlawful investigation to declassify evidence that was assembled against him. The target then turns to the people who are investigating him and says please declassify….. however, the receiver (DOJ) is getting a request from their target.
Getting a declassification request from Congress is one thing; but getting a declassification request from the target of their investigation is a request they can neither fulfill nor explain their lack of fulfillment.
From the position of the DOJ:
As a counterintelligence target President Trump cannot declassify evidence, nor can he direct anyone to declassifying any evidence on his behalf.
Ultimately the only person who can correct this issue appears to be the same person who started this entire mess, Rod Rosenstein. Which likely explains why he said he will leave the DOJ when Mueller is finished.
WASHINGTON — Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who had been overseeing the special counsel investigation, plans to step down after Robert Mueller submits his report, according to administration officials familiar with his thinking.
A source close to Rosenstein said he intends to stay on until Mueller submits a report to the Justice Department on the Russian meddling investigation. The source said that would mean Rosenstein would remain until early March. (link)
[*note* from this timeline you can see how the impeachment plans of Pelosi, Cummings, Schiff and Nadler align with Mueller (report) and Rosenstein (exit). Nunes is trying to catch Rosenstein before he can escape the coming shitstorm he created]
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein initiated the specific investigation into President Trump by authorizing, and later clarifying, that Mueller is to proceed with the special counsel mandate that includes President Trump as a target.
….And knowing that dynamic completely changes the background review about how corrupt Andrew McCabe’s allies in the FBI and media started leveraging against Rod Rosenstein for their own benefit.
Here’s the Nunes interview: