Have you been following U.S. politics the last few days? If so, you may be feeling a bit perplexed about just what the heck is actually going on with Rod Rosenstein. Is he fired? Did he resign? Is he the President’s new best friend? As it usually goes, each news outlet seems to be cherry-picking what they share and spinning the situation into something it isn’t. In light of that, here’s what’s actually going on with Rosenstein and what we see happening for him in the near (and far) future.
• September 24th was a rough news day for Rosenstein. First, media outlets (including Fox, CNN, and a few others) reported that he was on the way out. An unknown “source” had confirmed it and apparently provided “reliable evidence to prove the claim was real.
• What prompted the hasty alleged removal was a New York Times report, found here, that claims Rosenstein secretly attempted to oust the President from office. The article also suggested that Rosenstein created clandestine recordings of White House meetings, expecting to use the audio tapes to “expose” how much chaos Trump’s election caused.
• Rosenstein also allegedly discussed “recruiting cabinet members to invoke the 25th Amendment” and the recordings with both the FBI and the Justice Department. However, it appears that nothing ever came of the suggestions, and the recordings have yet to be identified.
• The Times never disclosed where it got the info, saying only that it came from an “anonymous source” and referencing documents penned by FBI director Andrew McCabe. But Rosenstein firmly denies the information is real; is he protecting his own rear end, or telling the truth?
• This led to the man’s defenders coming to his aid by claiming such comments were little more than an attempt at sarcasm. But others, including Times writer Michael Schmidt, were quick to pin this as false. “If this was a joke,” Schmidt said, “we don’t think it would have been so difficult for us to have worked to get to this information.”
• Schmidt also reminded the public of the fact that jokes don’t often make it into FBI documentation. “If this was a joke,” he said, “this would not have been memorialized, documented, and discussed in the FBI in the way that it was.” As much as some of us may want to call the entire FBI a big joke, especially after the last 12 months, he has a point.
• This ignited a firestorm of so-called “leaks” in the media. Suddenly, every paper suggested that Rosenstein was about to be ousted. It was so believable that even the White House allegedly began penning press releases and other resignation announcements for the eventuality.
• Flat-out fighting on social media accounts between some of Trump’s biggest supporters, including Laura Ingraham and Sean Hannity, further fueled the fire. For a few short hours, it was the biggest political news in the entire country (and in some cases, even beyond; the BBC also covered it).
• That’s about when things really spun out of control. “Dueling leaks” claimed Rosenstein was going to resign, wasn’t going to resign, was to be fired by Trump, was going to force Trump to fire him, and had already attempted to resign only to have his attempt be refused. Vanity Fair claimed it was little more than an attempt to distract from Kavanaugh, but Rosenstein himself seemed to have little to say on the topic.
• So what actually happened? It ended up being much ado about nothing. Rosenstein has yet to be fired, and in fact, spent a significant amount of time in a telephone call with the President talking about the news flurry. President Trump is also planning to meet with him to discuss the issue on Thursday, as confirmed here by Sarah Huckabee Sanders.
• For now, Rosenstein remains the Attorney General – and to be frank, it isn’t even clear what Trump may be considering right now. It’s just too early to make a prediction on how this might unfold, especially with all the back and forth and fake news being released from all sides. Keep watching United Voice over the next few days; as soon as we know, we’ll update you with the hard truth – even if it’s inconvenient.