Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein has responded to President Donald Trump’s demand that the Department of Justice investigates the FBI for using an informant in the early stages of the Russia investigation in 2016.
And rather than refuse to open such a politically motivated investigation, Rosenstein caved.
On Sunday Trump went on a rampaging tantrum over the Russia probe, complete with false accusations and attacks on everyone from former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe.
Trump wasn’t done though. Later in the day, he issued a demand to the Department of Justice calling for an investigation of the FBI stemming from a New York Times report that the FBI was aided by an informant who approached Trump campaign officials who had ties to Russia such as George Papadopoulos, Michael Flynn, and Carter Page.
I hereby demand, and will do so officially tomorrow, that the Department of Justice look into whether or not the FBI/DOJ infiltrated or surveilled the Trump Campaign for Political Purposes – and if any such demands or requests were made by people within the Obama Administration!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 20, 2018
Trump claims that the informant was a spy who infiltrated his campaign under the authority of former President Obama and the FBI. Trump made these accusations with any evidence to substantiate his claims.
The New York Times maintains that Trump is wrong to make such a claim.
No evidence has emerged that the informant acted improperly when the F.B.I. asked for help in gathering information on the former campaign advisers, or that agents veered from the F.B.I.’s investigative guidelines and began a politically motivated inquiry, which would be illegal.
Despite the lack of evidence, Rosenstein is agreeing to Trump’s demand.
“If anyone did infiltrate or surveil participants in a presidential campaign for inappropriate purposes, we need to know about it and take appropriate action,” he said in a statement.
[T]he Inspector General will consult with the appropriate U.S. Attorney if there is any evidence of potential criminal conduct,” a DOJ spokesperson said, adding that the investigation will “include determining whether there was any impropriety or political motivation in how the FBI conducted its counterintelligence investigation of persons suspected of involvement with the Russian agents who interfered in the 2016 presidential election.”
It certainly appears that in his effort to undermine a legitimate investigation that has, thus far, ensnared four Trump campaign officials resulting in a flurry of indictments and guilty pleas, Trump is forcing the DOJ to conduct an actual witch hunt against the FBI for doing their job. And Rosenstein is spinelessly going along with it instead of having the courage to say no and stand up for the rule of law.
Of course, there is the possibility that Rosenstein and his colleagues in the DOJ already know the answers and are just humoring the President. And when it comes out that no wrongdoing happened, things will look worse for Team Trump.
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