News & Politics

MSNBC Host Argues that Rod Rosenstein Cleverly Outsmarted Trump's Attempt to Weaponize the FBI

While some saw the deputy attorney general capitulating, others saw him outmaneuvering Trump.

Photo Credit: MSNBC

Observers hotly debated whether Deputy Attorney General had completely succumbed to President Donald Trump's will over weekend by following the president's order to start an investigation into whether probe of the Trump campaign was started with political intent. MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell argued Monday night, however, that Rosenstein wasn't overpowered, but he was actually cleverly outsmarting the president's attempts to weaponize the FBI.

The issue arose after Trump tweeted on Sunday that he was demanding an investigation into origins of the Russia probe, which recent reports say involved an FBI informant contacting members of Trump's campaign. While many expected that Rosenstein would resign rather than follow a corrupt order, the deputy attorney general shortly issued a statement saying he would direct the inspector general to look into the matter.

But in O'Donnell's view, the details of Rosenstein's statement were critically important.

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"Rosenstein was ready for this, he could see this one coming," O'Donnell said."Rod Rosenstein issued a statement saying, 'If anyone did infiltrate or surveil participants in a presidential campaign for inappropriate purposes, we need to know about it and take appropriate action.'"

He continued: "Now understand, Rod Rosenstein is in a position to already know whether anyone did 'infiltrate or surveil participants in a presidential campaign.' He already knows that that did not happen. Rod Rosenstein certainly already knows what is publicly reported, that someone in England had a couple of conversations with a couple of people who were affiliated with the Trump campaign, and that source in England told the FBI about those conversations. That is not 'infiltrated or surveilled' as Donald Trump put it."

And so, O'Donnell argued, there's nothing to find — and Rosenstein knows it. 

"Rod Rosenstein knows that there was an investigation of Russian interference in the presidential campaign, and possible Russian influence and assistance to the Trump campaign and that that investigation was not conducted for political purposes," he concluded.

Watch the clip below:

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Cody Fenwick is a reporter and editor. Follow him on Twitter @codytfenwick.