If you work for the Justice Department, Donald Trump is not your president or your boss. Barack Obama still is via his surrogate Rod Rosenstein, the Deputy Attorney General who is really running the show at Justice.
“Trump has very few friends in here (the DOJ),” one insider said. “Rosenstein is running all the high profile cases and he is no friend to Trump.”
Even more baffling, Rosenstein won’t hire Trump loyalists and he won’t fire Obama left overs who have knives out for the new White House administration.
Jeff Sessions is recused from so many cases — and few insiders seem to know exactly why — which leaves Rosenstein in charge of everything having to do with Russia-related investigation.
But perhaps even worse, Rosenstein is in charge of bringing in new talent to the DOJ. And he has snubbed referrals from Trump loyalists and refused to fire Obama leftovers, many of which are suspected of leaking case intelligence to the media to embarrass Trump and administration officials.
Meanwhile, Sessions is not engaged in the hiring process. Rosenstein can and has vetoed new and qualified lawyers who are loyal to Trump for key positions. In essence, Rosenstein — a Democrat appointed by George W. Bush as U.S. Attorney in Maryland — is running an extended Barack Obama’s Justice Department.
“Is he running things for Obama?” a DOJ insider said. “Yes and no. To be fair, he might be running things for Obama and Bush, neither are fans of Trump.”
The Bush family actually loathes Trump. And the feelings are mutual per Trump’s camp.
Rosenstein is a Bush loyalist who worked under now-U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller at Justice before his post in Maryland, a democratic stronghold. Even after Obama took office he did not replace Rosenstein. That is likely because Rosenstein is a close associate of Eric Holder, disgraced former AG under Obama.
Rosenstein and Mueller are in fact implicated in the unfolding Uranium One scandal which unfolding during their service to Obama and then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. They likely have criminal culpability in the case. Yet no one in Justice seems to really care because well, Rosenstein has packed the court with his cronies. After all, how can Rosenstein run Russia-related cased for Sessions when he himself has possible criminal ties to his own Russian scandal?
But that is not his only scandal at DOJ. There are others.
In fact, Rosenstein played a key role in a bizarre legal theater concocted by Holder who appointed Rosenstein to prosecute General James Cartwright, a former Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, for leaking Intel to the media.
Rosenstein secured a guilty plea from Cartwright who was pardoned by President Barack Obama. DOJ insiders said the “show case” was nothing more than a sophisticated scheme only meant to shake down Cartwright through intimidation to expose his media leaks and other intelligence to be used privately by Holder’s DOJ hit squad. And yes. both Holder and Attorney General Loretta Lynch did maintain “hit” squads to professionally neutralize lawyers or FBI and DEA unfaithful to Obama’s doctrines.
“They ruined Cartwright for absolutely no reason, took him out,” one DOJ insider said. “It was ugly to watch and it was meant to send a message. This was like mafia shit, except it was Justice and not La Cosa Nostra.”
Trump is president. But he is not in control of “his” Justice Department and likely won’t be until Rosenstein is removed from power. Or until Trump can replace Sessions and fire Rosenstein.