Reports that flooded in this morning revealed that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein is going to leave the Department of Justice (DOJ) within weeks. Democrats know what this means in relation to the Russia probes and began outlining their strategy for responding to this alarming revelation.
According to multiple sources, Rosenstein has told Donald Trump that he plans to leave the DOJ if/when attorney general nominee William Barr is confirmed as attorney general. Democratic Senator Tim Kaine responded to Rosenstein’s imminent departure by saying it will “raise the stakes” of Barr’s confirmation hearing next week.
Kaine is raising the alarm and saying the stakes have been raised because Rosenstein has effectively protected special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference, while Barr in contrast has explicitly made statements in recent memory against Mueller.
“William Barr was sending freelance memos to the Trump administration making a case to undercut the Mueller investigation,” Kaine said. “So the deep concern will be if he comes in and Rosenstein is gone, is this just a, you know, preface to either undercutting the investigation or trying to keep the results of it hidden from the American public.” In the footage below, Kaine is referencing a memo that Barr reportedly gave to the White House last June, in which he outlined his concern that Mueller was investigating Trump for obstruction of justice.
“He’s allowed and protected the investigation to go forward, which it needs to.”
Sen. @timkaine reacts to the news that Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein plans to leave the Justice Department shortly after William Barr is confirmed, according to a source. https://t.co/xx900FE0VR pic.twitter.com/tWiNVuCAaY
— New Day (@NewDay) January 9, 2019
Trump’s entire fight over funding his wall and the government shutdown could be nothing more than a distraction so he can try to install William Barr as quietly as possible. Once Trump has Barr established as attorney general, he can begin undermining special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe.
Fortunately Kaine’s response shows that Senate Democrats understand exactly what is going on and are ready to ask Barr the important questions they need to during Barr’s confirmation hearing next week. The reported imminent departure of Rosenstein could be a great thing because it is drawing attention to the need to protect Mueller now.