If reports that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein (pictured above right) suggested wiretapping President Donald Trump are accurate, then they exposed “a lot of wrongdoers” who operate at the FBI and the Department of Justice (DOJ), RealClear Investigations’ Lee Smith warned Friday night on Fox News’ “The Ingraham Angle.”
“I think the interesting thing and revelatory thing about these two stories is it exposes a lot of people, a lot of wrongdoers at the FBI and DOJ. They’re turning on each other like rats,” Smith said.
“I hope that the president sees that before he makes any decisions.”
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The New York Times stunned much of Washington, D.C., on Friday, when it reported that Rosenstein “suggested last year that he secretly record President Trump in the White House to expose the chaos consuming the administration.”
The Times also reported that Rosenstein allegedly “discussed recruiting Cabinet members to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove Mr. Trump from office for being unfit.”
Rosenstein’s suggestions reportedly occurred shortly after Trump abruptly fired former FBI Director James Comey in May 2017.
Although The Times’ sources suggested that Rosenstein’s wiretapping comment was made seriously, a source for The Washington Post insisted it was a quip made in jest. The Times cited sources who “were briefed either on the events themselves or on memos written by FBI officials, including” fired former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe.
Even if Rosenstein ever made such suggestions, the journalists noted that they never came to fruition.
“Now let’s be clear — if The New York Times’ reporting is accurate, the president tonight should seriously consider whether Rod Rosenstein should remain on the job,” Fox News host Laura Ingraham said.
“The White House should be devoting every resource it can to determining the veracity of this report,” Ingraham added.
“We just cannot have this plotting at the highest levels of the Justice Department against the chief executive of this executive branch.”
Although he didn’t mention Rosenstein by name, Trump vowed on Friday during a rally in Springfield, Missouri, to rid the DOJ and FBI of a “lingering stench.”
“Look what’s being exposed at the Department of Justice and the FBI … You have some real bad ones,” Trump told the crowd. “But there’s a lingering stench, and we’re going to get rid of that, too.”
Former U.S. Attorney Kendall Coffey told Ingraham that Trump “obviously” is “concerned about Rod Rosenstein” and the two reports.
“I think he should be,” Coffey warned. “I don’t think we can make The New York Times the judge and jury of Rosenstein’s fate, but … the challenge is … to find a very accelerated framework for getting to the bottom of this.”
“And I don’t think the president needs to, for example, ask the Justice Department to investigate itself. I think he has the power and perhaps should go ahead and put together an investigative mechanism, perhaps relying in part on the White House counsel’s office so that they can get access … to whatever these McCabe memos are,” Coffey suggested.
If true, Rosenstein’s suggestions represent “something very, very troubling that can’t be continuing” in the DOJ, Coffey said.
Former Trump presidential campaign manager Corey Lewandowski told Ingraham Friday night that “these guys” in the top levels of the DOJ and FBI “ran this tight little cabal that they never thought anyone was ever going to get caught, between Jim Comey, Andrew McCabe, [former top FBI counterintelligence agent] Peter Strzok, [former FBI lawyer] Lisa Page, [former Associate Deputy Attorney General] Bruce Ohr, you know, Rod Rosenstein — these guys did things.”
Coffey urged Trump to initiate a “thoughtful, very, very fast inquiry” into Rosenstein’s behavior as described in the two reports.
“It doesn’t have to be formally structured. But the president needs to get to the bottom of this. We can’t rely on newspaper stories in terms of making judgments about one of the most powerful positions in the United States government,” Coffey said. “But on the other hand, precisely because the deputy attorney general’s position is so powerful, this needs to be resolved … and resolved quickly.”
Smith also urged Trump to declassify any documents that would reveal “what the bad guys at the DOJ and the FBI were doing.”
“As these two articles give some sort of indication of, there was more in those documents we can be sure of. We’d like to see them,” Smith said.