The fallout from #MemoGate continues.
On Friday, Fox News Analyst Greg Jarrett told Sean Hannity that “a congressional source” informed him that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein threatened Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA), who authored the memo detailing alleged malfeasance at the F.B.I. on January 10. Later, he tweeted that this threat was confirmed by another source in Congress.
If Jarret’s statements are true, it’s about to get real. Here are the facts so far:
Rosenstein Threatened Congress?
On Sean Hannity’s show, Jarret stated that Rosenstein was fed up with the House Intelligence Committee’s probe into the F.B.I.’s conduct during their investigation of Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election. “I can tell you a congressional source tells me that Rod Rosenstein in a meeting three weeks ago, threatened Chairman Nunes and members of Congress,” Jarret said. He stated that the Deputy Attorney General threatened to “subpoena their texts and messages because he was tired of dealing with the intel committee.”
After his appearance on Hannity’s show, Jarrett announced on Twitter that another source confirmed that Rosenstein made the alleged comments. He tweeted:
“A 2nd source has now confirmed to me that, in a meeting on January 10, Deputy A-G Rosenstein used the power of his office to threaten to subpoena the calls & texts of the Intel Committee to get it to stop its investigation of DOJ and FBI. Likely an Abuse of Power & Obstruction.”
What Should We Believe?
While this story appears damning, there is not yet enough evidence to confirm the claims of Jarret’s sources. Is it possible that the Deputy AG could have threatened retaliation against Nunes? Sure. Rosenstein’s name comes up multiple times in the FISA memo that Nunes produced, and it does not paint him in a positive light.
Moreover, the memo exposes the fact that the Bureau was dishonest in how they went about obtaining the warrant to conduct surveillance on Carter Page. We now know that they did not inform the courts that the dossier upon which their application was based was the product of opposition research paid for by the Democrats and Hillary Clinton’s campaign. It’s clear that they were willing to bend the rules to achieve their objectives.
On the other hand, Jarret’s claims are based on information from anonymous sources — which are not always reliable. Last year, the media published stories damaging to the Trump administration that featured quotes from anonymous sources. Indeed, an unnamed source told CNN that former F.B.I. Director James Comey would refute Trump’s claims that the Director told him he was not under investigation. It didn’t happen.
Right now, there isn’t enough evidence demonstrating that the Deputy AG made any threats against members of Congress — there are only anonymous sources. But if the story turns out to be true, it is a disturbing indicator that the F.B.I. is becoming more politicized. When high-ranking officials at the Bureau abuse their power, they must be removed quickly. Rep. Nunes has already stated that the FISA memo is just the beginning. As the Intel Committee deepens their investigation, it is possible that evidence of actual malfeasance will be uncovered.