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Alexandra Erin @alexandraerin
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Boy, I wish I had the confidence of the pundits who are saying Rod Rosenstein wouldn't resign if he didn't know that Mueller's investigation was safe.
Sometimes it's less dramatic and more about projecting calm. This strikes me as more in the same vein as "Don't worry, Trump has secretly been put on house arrest and Orrin Hatch is the shadow president." Especially given some of the clods spreading it.

t's certainly possible that Rosenstein has convinced himself his presence no longer matters. But A of all, that doesn't mean that he's right and it could be either direction, and B, a lot of statements about what Trump can't do are based on predictions about what he won't do.
Now, as a counterpoint: I don't think Rosenstein's resignation is a time to panic. It doesn't mean the investigation is about to be shut down. It just means the political drama is moving along.
My assumption is that Rosenstein is leaving a job that has been untenable for a long time, at what feels like the natural moment to hand off the duties. He could be assuring himself the investigation is safe to salve his conscience. He could also be saying "Not my problem now."
People are telling me he's behaved honorably but I don't think they are grasping that there are people for whom when you have a job, you do the job, but there's no greater sense that it must be you doing the job. That's way more common than All-Purpose Honour.
Rosenstein has been put in a very uncomfortable position and his exit ramp is coming up. Surely he must be aware that at the point where no one can articulate a reason why Trump can't fire him (because he's no longer in charge of the investigation), he'll be fired anyway.
And if he's made a study of Trump, he might be aware he's likely to be subjected to even worse stresses and humiliations than he has been so far in the run-up to being fired, because Trump doesn't like to fire people, he'd rather drive them away unless he feels he's in control.
There's nothing in it for him to stay. To the people on the inside who have to make the mental compromise of working with Trump, this does not look like a great struggle for the soul of a nation. It's a bunch of bureaucratic spats with an incompetent, greedy oaf.
Does a prosecutor like Rod Rosenstein not realize Trump is a criminal? I mean, sure. Sure he is. But he is -- to contrast with a term used in a recent GOP message - a legal criminal. He does the "yeah, you have to expect a bit of that" crimes.
He does them in greater volume -- both in the sense of amount and the sense of how loud he is -- than your typical white-collar criminal, but still: yeah, you have to expect a bit of that.
If Rod Rosenstein regarded Trump as a traitor and an existential threat to the nation, he would have behaved differently.

How could he miss those things?

Well, because if he had seen them, he would have had to have behaved differently. He had a powerful incentive to normalize.
I'm not saying Rosenstein is Team Trump. I'm sure he thinks the guy is a real piece of work and it's even possible that he'll quietly root for Mueller. But his work in that area has been more along the lines of "I'm not sticking my neck out for you again." after Comey.
I know this is ancient history at this point, but we do all remember that when the White House went to Rosenstein and asked him to draft a memo analyzing James Comey's conduct, it was initially cited as the reason Comey was fired? They said he recommended it.
So, yeah, anyway. Rosenstein has been real By-The-Book since then, not willing to bend much or do anything that has a whiff of special favors. But that does not speak to some deep desire to See Things Through And Set Them Right.

My read is: dude has wanted out for a long time.
And now he can get out.

What happens after that will be what happens after that. Que sera, sera. Trump might try to fire Mueller, but he might always have been going to do that.
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