Historian Douglas Brinkley Worries Rosenstein Story Validates Trump Deep State 'Narrative'

September 21st, 2018 6:16 PM

The shocking revelation in the September 21 New York Times that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein suggested secretly recording President Donald Trump as well as invoking the 25th Amendment to remove him from office is stunning. It is also disturbing because this just feeds into Trump's "narrative" about the "Deep State" working to undermine him.

The latter is a seems to be of great concern to CNN's historian commentator Douglas Brinkley as well as others in the liberal mainstream media. 

WASHINGTON — The deputy attorney general, Rod J. Rosenstein, suggested last year that he secretly record President Trump in the White House to expose the chaos consuming the administration, and he discussed recruiting cabinet members to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove Mr. Trump from office for being unfit.

...Mr. Rosenstein made the remarks about secretly recording Mr. Trump and about the 25th Amendment in meetings and conversations with other Justice Department and F.B.I. officials. Several people described the episodes, insisting on anonymity to discuss internal deliberations. The people were briefed either on the events themselves or on memos written by F.B.I. officials, including Andrew G. McCabe, then the acting bureau director, that documented Mr. Rosenstein’s actions and comments.

Wow! So what was Brinkley's reaction? Well, during the CNN Newsroom interview with anchor Erica Hill soon after the shocking revelation, Brinkley expressed his worry that this served to validate what Trump has been saying all along about the Deep State.

ERICA HILL: We should point out here that Rod Rosenstein in a statement has called this report inaccurate and factually incorrect. He says he does not see any basis to invoke the 25th Amendment based on his personal dealings with the president. Here is the other thing, though, there can be chaos in the White House; there can be chaos in the Oval Office. Is chaos enough of a reason to invoke the 25th Amendment?

DOUGLAS BRINKLEY: No. And it’s why the 25th Amendment doesn’t get used. We talk about it a lot. It is a kind of break on brakes. It’s a backup plan that we haven’t executed yet in U.S. history. So the thought was that Rod Rosenstein was that concerned about Donald Trump’s erratic behavior in May of 2017. And the really stunning revelation which seems to me to be sourced that he was considering wearing a wire to essentially go in and secretly tape the president of the United States. Usually the Justice Department or FBI will do that with mafia kingpins or — or, you know, drug dealers, and here he was on the verge of doing it with Donald Trump.

The net effect of all this is to kind of play into Trump’s narrative that there’s a deep state, people are out to get me, you know, the witch-hunt of the Mueller investigation. I think Rod Rosenstein needs to come public with something more than a kind of mealy mouth statement he just said, and did he ever talk about bringing a wire in? Did he really, you know, start threatening let’s get a grassroots 25th Amendment movement going or not?

Got that? The net effect of all this according to Brinkley is to "play into Trump's narrative that there's a deep state." That seems to be uppermost in Brinkley's mind and he is not alone in this concern since it is starting to be echoed by others in the media including the HuffPost with same worry:

If Trump does decide he wants to fire Rosenstein, the president will look for any justification to do so — like casting Rosenstein as part of a “deep state” effort to undermine his administration.

The narrative of Rosenstein as a subversive working within the Justice Department to thwart the president would feed into Trump and his allies’ conspiratorial narrative that he is battling a “deep state” of political foes working to undermine him.

Can it really be called a "narrative" when it is confirmed by the actions of the Deputy Attorney General?