Donald Trump’s Rosenstein Dilemma | Zero Hedge

Authored by Mark Penn, op-ed via The Hill,
Damned if you do. Damned if you don’t.
That is the dilemma President Donald Trump faces as he decides whether to fire Rod Rosenstein following revelations that the deputy attorney general allegedly talked about taping the president and rounding up Cabinet officials to invoke the 25th Amendment.
There were several people present at this meeting in the aftermath of the firing of former FBI Director James Comey . Despite the fact that Rosenstein wrote the key memo trashing Comey for his handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation, he reportedly was angry and uncertain after the president actually did it , using his memo as a justification.
The prime source for this information appears to be none other than fired FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe , who faces investigation by a grand jury and whose memos are being declassified. McCabe appears to be even angrier at the Department of Justice (DOJ) brass who fired and humiliated him just for leaking and lying when he may have far worse on his comrades.
This is the deep state unraveling.
People bristle when I sometimes adopt and use that term: “deep state.” But as an outside observer, watching the unmasking of the actions of one official after another at the FBI, CIA and DOJ, I have come to accept that an unelected group of well-educated, experienced individuals running these departments became inebriated with their own power during the last election campaign and apparently came to believe they were on a mission to stop, defeat or remove President Trump and his associates for crimes they would find or, if necessary, manufacture.
Perhaps Rosenstein was joking when he referenced the 25th Amendment, as another meeting participant reports. But Rosenstein’s statement in response to the news accounts carefully avoids denying having discussed wiring himself or others in some effort to entrap Trump. This cabal is meeting and planning, post-Comey’s firing, despite the fact that Rosenstein himself in his memo to President Trump said Comey was “wrong” and the FBI could not regain lost public trust without a new director who understood his errors.
It seems Rosenstein also may have believed we needed a new president. Just days into his expanded role and after these conversations, he appointed Robert Mueller as special counsel with a still-secret charter to investigate the Trump campaign and administration; the precipitating act was the very firing he recommended.
Whether it involved sending missiles to Syria after chemical attacks on civilians, moving the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, or firing Comey, Trump actually has moved ahead and done some of the things that Washington elites complain about but go along with out of some extreme sense of caution and timidness. And those acts are then branded as some kind of lunacy.
Perhaps the true headline item in Bob Woodward’s book, “Fear,” is that Trump was so incensed at the murdering of women and children by Syria’s Bashar Assad that he actually raised the idea of taking out the dictator responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of his own people. Sheer madness? Hardly. President Obama stood idly by as mass murder happened in Syria, and President Clinton’s biggest regret is that he did too little to stop the massacres in Rwanda; he believes 300,000 lives could have been saved had he sent in troops earlier. It’s presidential inaction in the face of madness that has proven most dangerous to the world. Ask the Crimeans.
I say this not to defend all of the actions of President Trump, many of which I might disagree with, but to condemn the arrogance of those in the deep state who convinced themselves that they would rescue our country from ourselves. They were on a mission, it turns out, not to save our country but to undo our democracy, and Rosenstein finally has been unmasked as having the attitudes and conflicts we all suspected.
There has been an eerie pattern of events involving Rosenstein. Remember how he became downright testy in front of Congress when asked why he signed the fourth surveillance warrant against Carter Page and whether he even read it. In response to lawful demands for documents as to the origins of the investigation, he responded that he wouldn’t be “extorted” by Congress. And, in another one of his jokes (he appears to have quite a wry sense of humor), he raised turning the tables on Congress by reviewing the emails of members and staff who were there to gather information from the FBI. Just kidding.
Until now, Rosenstein has escaped real scrutiny despite this series of defiant statements and actions. He managed to make it impossible for the president to step in and remove him, or for Congress to supervise him, claiming he reports to some higher authority that he defines as his commitment to the rule of law.
And, yet, our laws and our Constitution set up no politically unaccountable officials in the executive or legislative branches of government. It is disappointing to see leaders like Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) ignore the actions uncovered here in favor of anything that damages Trump, no matter how egregious the activities of these government officials.
Of course, the president is stuck here. Firing Rosenstein, even if deserved, would be spun like an act of impetuous madness just before the midterms. Attorney General Jeff Sessions , who would have the acceptable power to do so, appears unable or unwilling to act in any bold manner. All Trump can do is get out all the documents and call upon the inspector general to fully investigate these reports.
After the midterms, though, he could instruct the attorney general to appoint — or, perhaps, do so directly himself — a second special prosecutor to investigate the actions of the FBI, CIA and DOJ in the Clinton and Trump investigations. Over 70 percent of Americans in the Harvard/CAPS poll believe such a counsel should be appointed now. If Democrats take over Congress, there will be no way without that appointment to continue investigations that have turned up real malfeasance of the sort by these officials. Democrats have other plans for their investigative powers, if they get them.
Whatever you want to call these well-heeled members of the intelligence community and Justice Department, many of whom now have book and speaking contracts, it is clear they all engaged in a conspiracy to bring down this administration on the basis of unverified information, and to turn the most basic acts of presidential power, like the firing of Comey, into obstruction of justice.
The more information that comes out here, the ever more egregious the actions of all of these officials appear in the light of day. Tags

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Review: Michael Moore takes fire hose to democracy’s enemies in “Fahrenheit 11/9”

Oscar-winning filmmaker Michael Moore’s stock in trade – political documentaries that expertly blend video clips, old newsreels and educational films with humor and needling stunts played upon politicians and corporate overlords – may be familiar by now, but as the situation in the world becomes more dizzyingly chaotic, it’s a form of comfort food. Yes, the audience can tell themselves, someone gets it.
In his latest, the director of “Roger & Me” and “Bowling for Columbine” has created a sequel of sorts to his 2004 film, “Fahrenheit 9/11,” titled “Fahrenheit 11/9” (after the date that Donald Trump was declared winner of the 2016 presidential election). It is one of Moore’s strongest films of late, not least because his most glaring target is so potent: President Trump, and how he got to where he is.
Surprisingly, there is less Trump fodder here than audiences might expect from such an outspoken critic of the president. Moore’s experience with the man, back when he was just a bankrupt real estate tycoon and future reality TV star, dates to a shared appearance on Roseanne Barr’s talk show in 1998, where Moore was gently asked by Barr’s producers to hold his fire lest Trump walk off the stage in a fit of pique. Moore bit his tongue, and regretted it later, feeling he’d been played.
He doesn’t hold back now. And yes, he goes there – equating Trump’s handling of the media and his repressive policies in office to Hitler’s. Moore explains how it is but a short walk from demonizing entire classes of people, denigrating law enforcement and mocking the free press as liars, to fascism, and Moore blends Nazi propaganda footage with scenes from Trump rallies and white supremacist marches today to make the point that the candidate’s (and now president’s) rhetoric and actions have a predictable end result: divisiveness, violence, and despair in the institutions of democracy. Moore also juxtaposes audio of a Guatemalan child crying after being separated from her parent at the U.S. border with footage of Nazi guards separating Jewish families. Need more? Moore even puts Trump’s own words into Hitler’s mouth.
Trump’s personal excesses aren’t ignored, either; there are more pictures of him ogling his daughter, Ivanka, then anyone would ever want to see.
But the president’s supporters may be mollified to note that the filmmaker spares no one. A considerable portion of “Fahrenheit 11/9” is devoted not to the disruptor who took down the Republican Party and remade it in his image, but to the Democratic Party establishment who sat idly by. In fact, party elites who block more progressive voices and candidates and preach “compromise” with the GOP are painted by Moore as even bigger threats to democracy, by stifling participation and prompting citizens to walk away from exercising their power to vote. The superdelegates that quashed Bernie Sanders’ backers at the Democratic National Convention are just one example.
Hillary Clinton gets some flack, though Moore helpfully annotates how so many male political and media figures who questioned Hillary’s bona fides because of her gender had some baggage of their own with regards to dealings with the opposite sex. And two-term Democratic President Bill Clinton is painted as a DINO, pushing initiatives that wouldn’t have been out of place on a Republican Party platform.
Even President Barack Obama is shown paying (moistened) lip service to the citizens of Flint, Michigan, when he fails to bring the cavalry to correct the city’s miserable water problems. The result: broken hearts among activists who feel the moral center of the country had abandoned them.
The continuing disaster in Flint is actually the film’s biggest story thread. Here Moore zeroes in on Republican Gov. Rick Snyder, a former executive who campaigned on running Michigan like a business, and his efforts to alter the source of Flint’s water supply from the pristine Lake Huron to the contaminated Flint River, with calamitous results. Residents were left at the mercy of overseers who were not responsible to the people (after Snyder signed an Emergency Manager Law – even though there was no emergency – thereby removing democratically-elected officials from Flint and several other cities). Their actions led to irreversible, even fatal health effects.
Synder was later found to have borne (in the words of a University of Michigan School of Public Health report) “significant legal responsibility” for covering up the water problem, leaving parents unawares of the dangers facing their children (all of whom had consumed lead-laced water) and of a threat posed by an outbreak of Legionnaire’s Disease.
Moore interviews pediatricians, activists and local officials who decry the lack of power over the government’s actions, and it is here where Moore employs his puckish stunts, such as attempting a citizen’s arrest of the governor.
But while it’s the most painful section to watch, the disaster in Flint also sets up Moore’s ultimate thesis for the film, which is that the exercise of power by the people is a potent, if barely-tapped, resource that can actually overcome the nefarious efforts of special interests, particularly conservative politicians fighting against the general public’s more liberal inclinations.
Moore meets some of the “extraordinary ordinary people,” who, since President Trump took office, have decided to run for office themselves, taking down party stalwarts and challenging the status quo. He also looks at a rebirth within the nation’s battered labor movement, including the West Virginia teachers’ strike, which sparked similar strikes by teachers across the country after they – amazingly – won their demands; and at how the teenagers of Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, showed their elders what an anti-gun violence movement can achieve. A bunch of kids!
“Fahrenheit 11/9” is terrifying in showing just how fragile and elusive the idea of democracy is, after a couple hundred years of trying to get it right. It also reminds people who are ostracized, cut off from the American Dream and living in hope that they will be rescued by a political leader, of any stripe, that democracy’s best hope is themselves, working together for the interest of all. And it’s right there in plain sight, in our nation’s motto: E pluribus unum … out of many, one.
“Fahrenheit 11/9” (distributed by Briarcliff Entertainment) is now playing. 126 mins. The film is rated R, for language (because today’s politics lead people to say “What the ****?” a lot).
To watch a trailer for “Fahrenheit 11/9” click on the video player below.
Michael Moore’s FAHRENHEIT 11/9 : OFFICIAL TRAILER – In Theaters 9/21 by mmflint on YouTube

Read More…

Review: Michael Moore takes fire hose to democracy’s enemies in “Fahrenheit 11/9”

Oscar-winning filmmaker Michael Moore’s stock in trade – political documentaries that expertly blend video clips, old newsreels and educational films with humor and needling stunts played upon politicians and corporate overlords – may be familiar by now, but as the situation in the world becomes more dizzyingly chaotic, it’s a form of comfort food. Yes, the audience can tell themselves, someone gets it.
In his latest, the director of “Roger & Me” and “Bowling for Columbine” has created a sequel of sorts to his 2004 film, “Fahrenheit 9/11,” titled “Fahrenheit 11/9” (after the date that Donald Trump was declared winner of the 2016 presidential election). It is one of Moore’s strongest films of late, not least because his most glaring target is so potent: President Trump, and how he got to where he is.
Surprisingly, there is less Trump fodder here than audiences might expect from such an outspoken critic of the president. Moore’s experience with the man, back when he was just a bankrupt real estate tycoon and future reality TV star, dates to a shared appearance on Roseanne Barr’s talk show in 1998, where Moore was gently asked by Barr’s producers to hold his fire lest Trump walk off the stage in a fit of pique. Moore bit his tongue, and regretted it later, feeling he’d been played.
He doesn’t hold back now. And yes, he goes there – equating Trump’s handling of the media and his repressive policies in office to Hitler’s. Moore explains how it is but a short walk from demonizing entire classes of people, denigrating law enforcement and mocking the free press as liars, to fascism, and Moore blends Nazi propaganda footage with scenes from Trump rallies and white supremacist marches today to make the point that the candidate’s (and now president’s) rhetoric and actions have a predictable end result: divisiveness, violence, and despair in the institutions of democracy. Moore also juxtaposes audio of a Guatemalan child crying after being separated from her parent at the U.S. border with footage of Nazi guards separating Jewish families. Need more? Moore even puts Trump’s own words into Hitler’s mouth.
Trump’s personal excesses aren’t ignored, either; there are more pictures of him ogling his daughter, Ivanka, then anyone would ever want to see.
But the president’s supporters may be mollified to note that the filmmaker spares no one. A considerable portion of “Fahrenheit 11/9” is devoted not to the disruptor who took down the Republican Party and remade it in his image, but to the Democratic Party establishment who sat idly by. In fact, party elites who block more progressive voices and candidates and preach “compromise” with the GOP are painted by Moore as even bigger threats to democracy, by stifling participation and prompting citizens to walk away from exercising their power to vote. The superdelegates that quashed Bernie Sanders’ backers at the Democratic National Convention are just one example.
Hillary Clinton gets some flack, though Moore helpfully annotates how so many male political and media figures who questioned Hillary’s bona fides because of her gender had some baggage of their own with regards to dealings with the opposite sex. And two-term Democratic President Bill Clinton is painted as a DINO, pushing initiatives that wouldn’t have been out of place on a Republican Party platform.
Even President Barack Obama is shown paying (moistened) lip service to the citizens of Flint, Michigan, when he fails to bring the cavalry to correct the city’s miserable water problems. The result: broken hearts among activists who feel the moral center of the country had abandoned them.
The continuing disaster in Flint is actually the film’s biggest story thread. Here Moore zeroes in on Republican Gov. Rick Snyder, a former executive who campaigned on running Michigan like a business, and his efforts to alter the source of Flint’s water supply from the pristine Lake Huron to the contaminated Flint River, with calamitous results. Residents were left at the mercy of overseers who were not responsible to the people (after Snyder signed an Emergency Manager Law – even though there was no emergency – thereby removing democratically-elected officials from Flint and several other cities). Their actions led to irreversible, even fatal health effects.
Synder was later found to have borne (in the words of a University of Michigan School of Public Health report) “significant legal responsibility” for covering up the water problem, leaving parents unawares of the dangers facing their children (all of whom had consumed lead-laced water) and of a threat posed by an outbreak of Legionnaire’s Disease.
Moore interviews pediatricians, activists and local officials who decry the lack of power over the government’s actions, and it is here where Moore employs his puckish stunts, such as attempting a citizen’s arrest of the governor.
But while it’s the most painful section to watch, the disaster in Flint also sets up Moore’s ultimate thesis for the film, which is that the exercise of power by the people is a potent, if barely-tapped, resource that can actually overcome the nefarious efforts of special interests, particularly conservative politicians fighting against the general public’s more liberal inclinations.
Moore meets some of the “extraordinary ordinary people,” who, since President Trump took office, have decided to run for office themselves, taking down party stalwarts and challenging the status quo. He also looks at a rebirth within the nation’s battered labor movement, including the West Virginia teachers’ strike, which sparked similar strikes by teachers across the country after they – amazingly – won their demands; and at how the teenagers of Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, showed their elders what an anti-gun violence movement can achieve. A bunch of kids!
“Fahrenheit 11/9” is terrifying in showing just how fragile and elusive the idea of democracy is, after a couple hundred years of trying to get it right. It also reminds people who are ostracized, cut off from the American Dream and living in hope that they will be rescued by a political leader, of any stripe, that democracy’s best hope is themselves, working together for the interest of all. And it’s right there in plain sight, in our nation’s motto: E pluribus unum … out of many, one.
“Fahrenheit 11/9” (distributed by Briarcliff Entertainment) is now playing. 126 mins. The film is rated R, for language (because today’s politics lead people to say “What the ****?” a lot).
To watch a trailer for “Fahrenheit 11/9” click on the video player below.
Michael Moore’s FAHRENHEIT 11/9 : OFFICIAL TRAILER – In Theaters 9/21 by mmflint on YouTube

Read More…