Saturday, September 22, 2018

Timing Rosenstein Story Just Right

Adam Goldman and Michael Schmidt in The New York Times:

Mr. Rosenstein was just two weeks into his job. He had begun overseeing the Russia investigation and played a key role in the president’s dismissal of Mr. Comey by writing a memo critical of his handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation. But Mr. Rosenstein was caught off guard when Mr. Trump cited the memo in the firing, and he began telling people that he feared he had been used.

Mr. Rosenstein made the remarks about secretly recording Mr. Trump and about the 25th Amendment in meetings and conversations with other Justice Department and F.B.I. officials. Several people described the episodes in interviews over the past several months, insisting on anonymity to discuss internal deliberations. The people were briefed either on the events themselves or on memos written by F.B.I. officials, including Andrew G. McCabe, then the acting bureau director, that documented Mr. Rosenstein’s actions and comments.

The Times being played like a fiddle, Charlie Pierce remarks

If you were a mendacious, criminal president* with a lot to cover up and the walls closing in from all sides, isn't this exactly the story you'd want out there as an excuse to fire Rod Rosenstein and then appoint someone who would fire Robert Mueller? Isn't this exactly the kind of story that you would want out there in order to superheat the boilers of paranoia that drive your base, especially on the same day that you walked back your promise to feed the base declassified parchments from the Illuminati who run The Deep State? Isn't this exactly the kind of story you would want out there on the day the news breaks that your old personal lawyer is talking to Mueller's people about your campaign, and Russia, and god alone knows what else?

And you would want it to come out soon after because

On Thursday, conservative legal analyst Ed Whelan unleashed a disastrous Twitter thread seemingly designed to exonerate Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of charges that he committed sexual assault as a teenager. Whelan, president of the Ethics and Public Policy Center, laid out a theory of mistaken identity using Google Maps and Zillow floor plans. The linchpin of Whelan’s thread: a notion that Christine Blasey Ford, Kavanaugh’s accuser, confused the nominee with a classmate who looked somewhat similar. It was this man, Whelan asserted, not Kavanaugh, who may have attempted to rape Ford about 35 years ago. Ford responded with a statement saying that she knew both men in high school, socialized with the man whom Whelan named, and had not mistaken the two.

It was bad enough for the pro-Kavanaugh crowd when it became obvious that Whelan had proposed a harebrained theory. However, it got worse when The Washington Post reported  Friday evening that

On Sunday, Ford noticed that — even before her name became public — Whelan appeared to be seeking information about her.

That morning, Ford alerted an associate via email that Whelan had looked at her LinkedIn page, according to the email, which was reviewed by The Post. LinkedIn allows some subscribers to see who views their pages. Ford sent the email about 90 minutes after The Post shared her name with a White House spokesman and hours before her identity was revealed in a story posted on its website.

Will Bunch notices

Not asking for much, Bunch concludes "the bottom line is clear: Only a real investigation by the FBI can get to the bottom of this circumstantial evidence and determine what really happened. Already, though, it stinks to high heaven."

It does more than "stink(s) to high heaven."  Before the Post's piece, Kavanaugh's people knew that Christine Blasey Ford would go public with an accusation of attempted rape. There can be only two ways that happens.

The White House and/or the Senate GOP may have suspected that Dr. Ford would reveal that Brett Kavanaugh and a member of his posse attempted to rape her while they all were high school students. A letter of support promptly written was stunningly vague, omitting mention of either Ford or any allegation of misbehavior. (Asked on Fox News whether she believed Ford, even the woman who initiated the letter responded "I'm not certain.")

Alternatively, it was at the time common knowledge around Georgetown Prep that Kavanaugh and Mark Judge had assaulted Christine Blasey.

The Rosenstein story, accurate at least in part, knocked this suspicious chain of events from the news. A diversion, it may not have been planted by someone inside the Administration intent on getting Brett Kavanaugh approved for the United States Supreme Court. But it's hard to believe otherwise.

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