Rod Rosenstein Signed Off on the Michael Cohen Raid, and Boy, Trump Is Not Happy

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Rod Rosenstein Signed Off on the Michael Cohen Raid, and Boy, Trump Is Not Happy

Inject this into our collective veins:

These “thoughts,” vomited out this morning by our commander-in-chief, reference a story that had Trump outraged in a way that even an all-caps triple-exclamation tweet can’t quite capture. Turns out, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein gave the personal okay for the FBI to raid the offices of Trump personal attorney Michael Cohen. As the Times points out, Rosenstein was supposed to be Trump’s boy:

The early-morning searches enraged Mr. Trump, associates said, setting off an angry public tirade Monday evening that continued in private at the White House as the president fumed about whether he should fire Mr. Rosenstein. The episode has deeply unsettled White House aides, Justice Department officials and lawmakers from both parties, who believe the president may use it as a pretext to purge the team leading the investigation into Russia meddling in the 2016 election.

That…that would be a bad idea. It may prevent them from finding some dirt on them, but it will magnify the suspicion felt by huge swaths of the country that he’s trying to bully his way into keeping some bad information under wraps. And the fact that Rosenstein gave his approval to the raid adds weight to the idea:

Searching a lawyer’s files is among the most sensitive moves federal prosecutors can make as they pursue a criminal investigation. Mr. Rosenstein’s personal involvement in the decision signals that the evidence seen by law enforcement officials was significant enough to persuade the Justice Department’s second-in-command that such an aggressive move was necessary.

As you might guess, Team Trump is trying like hell to keep the head honcho from canning Rosenstein and essentially throw the rest of his presidency into the flames of conspiracy. They might even refuse a direct order, as White House counsel did when he tried to fire Mueller last summer. But there’s cause to be mad, of course—it’s hard to paint the whole thing as a liberal or deep state conspiracy when your own hand-picked justice department no. 2 is basically endorsing the other side. (Not to mention that along with Rosenstein, Mueller and Christopher Wray and Geoffrey Berman, the top officers involved in the raid, are all Republican.)

And by the way, those raids on Cohen’s office? They were looking for information on payments to two women with whom Trump allegedly conducted extramarital affairs. We can’t say this is about to get good, since it’s already good, but it’s about to get better.

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