Rod Rosenstein Calls Congressional Republicans’ Bluff

Releases Comey’s Memos


House Intelligence Committee Chair Devin Nunes, and House Judiciary Chair Bob Goodlatte have been throwing a fit in recent days (with Twitter support from Trump), demanding the Justice Department release memos fired FBI Director James Comey wrote detailing his interaction with President Trump. And by “Justice Department” they meant Assistant Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who’s in charge of the Russia investigation. Most recently they threatened to subpoena Rosenstein and hold him in contempt of Congress and even initiate impeachment proceedings against him if he didn’t release them.

Part of the reason for the histrionics is the Congressmen figured he would, in fact, not release the memos, and they could use that to help Trump lay the groundwork for firing Rosenstein and replacing him with someone more “protective” of the President, chalking up Brownie points in the process. (The Associated Press reports in fact, that some members of Congress have already been permitted to see the memos, just not take hard copies with them, nor have hard copies delivered to Capitol Hill.)

But guess what? Their little plan didn’t quite work because Rosenstein went ahead released the memos to Congress late last night. And, of course, they leaked almost immediately. Click on the image below for all of them (15 pages). Or here, if that doesn’t work.



What’s in them? At first blush, everything Comey’s already talked about in numerous interviews and in his book. So not much we (or the Congessmen) didn’t actually know already. But they are a bit more detailed. Perhaps one semi-new thing: that Trump expressed doubts about his original National Security Adviser Michael Flynn’s judgment pretty early on.

Of course Trump, without referring to the specific content of the memos, Tweeted that they totally put him in the clear.

Rosenstein’s been pretty active during the past week with some calculated, proactive moves to head off impetuous, reactive moves by Trump. Including telling Trump he is not currently a target of the Mueller investigation, which is all the President seems to care about.



In Other Trump-Related Legal News…


Possible criminal prosecution for former FBI acting director Andrew McCabe. The Inspector General at the Justice Department has referred his findings about McCabe’s actions to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Washington, D.C. The accusations mostly have to do with McCabe allegedly leaking, and then lying to investigators about his leaks.

Trump turning to an old compadre to bolster his legal team. Rudy Giuliani defining his role for Trump as negotiating with Mueller to bring the Trump/Russia investigation to a swift conclusion.


Trump and Giuliani during the 2016 campaign


And weeks after hiring and then deciding not to hire husband and wife lawyers Joe diGenova and Victoria Toensing, Trump is hiring a more low-key husband and wife legal team: Jane and Marty Raskin, from Miami. The new hires are both former federal prosecutors with many high-profile cases under their belts, but have notched far fewer appearances on Fox. The sudden wave of interest in them following their hiring crashed their firm’s website this morning.



Why Is This Economic Boom Different From All Other Economic Booms?


Usually, when the economy is surging, tax revenues go up, and deficits go down. In fact, governments—even under ‘free-spending’ U.S. Presidents—are even known to run budget surpluses.

That’s what’s happening all around the world right now. Except the U.S. That’s because tax revenues here are going down, and spending is up, because Trump and Republicans decided to cut taxes, and Trump and Republicans and Democrats decided to increase spending at the same time.

And that’s a big potential problem.

In a report by the International Monetary Fund, breezily entitled “Capitalizing on Good Times”, with a sub-section: “Saving for a Rainy Day” (which we think is great!), the IMF reports the U.S. is the sole major economy in the world projected to carry increasingly heavier debt over the next 5 years.

And they released this slick animated Tweet to illustrate their scary point:



This is how their projections look in the report itself:

Washington Post columnist Catherine Rampell fairly calls it “exceptional fiscal recklessness”.

Why is the U.S. being a huge, undisciplined outlier in this so important? Governments generally know they should aim to stockpile some cash when things are going well, because it gives them some flexibility and padding if there’s a sudden, unexpected downturn. Same as why it’s good when you’ve got a couple of extra bucks in the bank.