Former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday and faced an intense grilling from Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, over his role in the Russia collusion investigation.
Cruz opened by comparing the abuse of power under the Obama administration to what was seen from former President Richard Nixon, presenting a damning layout of what took place under former President Barack Obama.
“By any measure what the Obama-Biden administration did in 2016-2017 makes everything Richard Nixon even contemplated pale in comparison, Cruz charged. “And Richard Nixon rightfully faced impeachment and ultimately resigned as a consequence of his misconduct.”
“The evidence that has been made public has made clear the Obama Administration targeted his political opponents,” he continued, “targeted President Trump and his campaign, unleashed, weaponized, and politicized the Department of Justice, F.B.I., and intelligence community, and that the decision making to do so went right up to the very top.”
Ironically, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., the failed 2020 presidential candidate who is under serious fire for failing as a prosecutor to rein in the police officer involved in the death of George Floyd, took umbrage over the comparison to Nixon.
Determined to run interference for Barack Obama, after pointing out it was “absurd” to be holding the hearing to get to the bottom of what went on at the DOJ, Klobuchar went after Cruz.
“Then I heard Senator Cruz, and I have to say, to compare Richard Nixon to Barack Obama — Richard Nixon who left the White House in disgrace to compare him with President Obama, who left the White House with grace and dignity.”
After taking a prerequisite shot at President Trump for embracing faith — these are Democrats, after all — she got back to the task at hand, which was covering Obama’s backside.
“I would like the record to reflect that this comparison is not only wrong today — between Richard Nixon and Barack Obama — it will never stand the test of time,” she said.
The Republican senator laid out that the FBI concluded that former national security advisor Mike Flynn was “no longer a viable candidate to be part of this larger case.”
Yet, on the very next day after making that determination, former bureau director James Comey “is sitting in the Oval Office with Barack Obama, with Joe Biden, Cruz noted, and “tells the president, we are investigating Michael Flynn by the book.”
He cites former national security advisor Susan Rice’s memo she emailed to herself, calling it “one of the most remarkable CYA memos written in Washington” — in the infamous email, Rice noted how Obama said everything must be “by the books.”
“Well, unless the book is Richard Nixon’s Watergate, the day before the FBI said they were closing the investigation, and there is James Comey telling Barack Obama we are going after Gen. Flynn, a decorated three star general, the incoming national security advisor of the president, with Joe Biden sitting right there nodding along,” Cruz said.
He also pointed out that Biden himself “personally unmasks Michael Flynn’s name.”
After establishing that Rosenstein was aware of the Justice Department inspector general report documenting 17 repeated material misstatements and noting that a bureau attorney “fraudulently altering an email creating counterfeit evidence that became the predicate for a sworn statement in the FISA court,” and that he appointed Robert Mueller as special counsel, he lowered the boom on Rosenstein.
“You came into a profoundly politicized world, yet all of this was allowed to go forward under your leadership that unfortunately leads to only two possible conclusions,” Cruz said. “Either that you were complicit in the wrongdoing, which I don’t believe was the case, or that the performance of your duties was grossly negligent.
“Was there any more important case the Dept. of Justice had than an investigation into weather the president of the United States is a Russian asset, colluding against the United States?” he then asked.
Rosenstein replied that was Cruz’s characterization of the investigation, before adding that he viewed this “as one of the most important” cases — a remarkable answer given the question.
He would go on to deny knowing that the primary source behind the Steele dossier had disavowed it, and that there was significant exculpatory material omitted. He also said he was not aware than a bureau attorney had fraudulently altered the material as a basis for an investigation.
Rosenstein denied knowing the DNC paid for the infamous dossier, answering, “I don’t believe so.”
When Cruz asked him if he asked about any of these things, Rosenstein tried to fall back on the expectation that the information had been verified.
“You were the acting Attorney General of the United States and had a responsibility not to allow political targeting,” Cruz fired back.
The senator recapped how a three star general and incoming national security advisor was being targeted via the antiquated Logan Act, which he called an “unconstitutional law” and suggested John Kerry is violating at that very moment, to ask Rosenstein if that struck him as odd.
“Why did you not laugh this out of the room?” the animated Republican asked. “Why did you not get answers on this? Why did you let this pile of partisan lies consume the country for two years?”
Rosenstein answered by saying that he did make some changes when he went in and that in regard to Flynn, his understanding was that he had lied to the FBI and the vice president and that was “the primary issue that was under investigation at the time.”
As to why he didn’t ask more questions, Rosentstein concluded by saying, “Obviously you always wish you could have done more.”
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