Donald Trump, The Manchurian Candidate and The Russia Probe. The Rosenstein Comey Mueller Intrigue

Rod Rosenstein

This article was first published in September 2018.

Reports confirm that: “Mueller’s investigation did not find evidence of collusion between Russia and the Trump 2016 presidential campaign. It made no final recommendation on whether there was obstruction of justice by President Donald Trump.”

Let us recall the history of the RussiaGate affair and the Rosenstein-Mueller intrigue.


Deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein was slated to be fired by President Trump on Thursday September 27 [2018].   That meeting has been postponed until next week to avoid an overlap with the Senate hearings on the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. In the meantime, Rosenstein has agreed to meet privately with Republican lawmakers. 

The outcome of the Rosenstein affair is uncertain. It is intimately related to the history of Russia-Gate which was launched prior to the November 2016 elections. Russia-Gate consisted in presenting Trump as a Manchurian candidate controlled by the Kremlin.

Already prior to his inauguration, the media had described “Trump as sleeping with the enemy”. The underlying political narrative focussed on “Impeachment”.

Belleville National Democrats, Jan 13, 2017,

The objective from the very outset during the 2016 election campaign was to discredit Trump, presenting him as a Manchurian candidate serving the interests of the Kremlin.

Prior to the November 8 elections, former Secretary of Defense and CIA Director Leo Panetta had already intimated that Trump represented a threat to National Security. The Atlantic (October 8, 2016),  described Trump is a “Modern Manchurian Candidate”.

Vanity Fair November 1 2016

The Atlantic October 8 2016

This anti-Trump campaign continued unabated in the wake of the elections. Ironically, Rod Rosenstein who had been nominated for the position of Deputy Attorney General by president Trump in February 2017, acted against Trump almost immediately following his confirmation on April 27, 2017.

Trump’s Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein’s mandate was to organize the so-called Russia Probe pertaining to alleged Kremlin interference in the November 2016 elections. Rosenstein’s first step consisted in the firing of FBI Director James Comey and appointing former FBI Director Robert Mueller as Special Council to lead the Russia Probe.

Fast Track Chronology

  • February 1, 2017, Rod Rosenstein is nominated by President Trump for the position of Deputy Attorney General;
  • April 27, 2018: Rod Rosenstein assumes office as Deputy Attorney General;
  • May 9, 2017 Rosenstein fires FBI Director James Comey. Upon his firing, Andrew McCabe, a Hillary Clinton crony is appointed Acting FBI Director;
  • May 19, 2017. Ten days later the Attorney General’s office appoints former FBI Director Robert Mueller as Special Council to lead the Russia Probe.

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein was largely instrumental in the firing of FBI Director James Comey. That decision did not emanate from president Trump.

Rod Rosenstein (image right) prepared a three page memorandum, which  criticized James Comey for his handling of the Clinton email investigation and the release of his October 28, 2016 Second Letter to Congress 11 days before Election Day.

This action by Comey referred to as “October Surprise” (2016)  was largely detrimental to Clinton’s candidacy. It certainly did not go against the interests of Donald Trump.  In this regard,  Comey could not be accused of coverup of the corruption and fraud within the Democratic National Committee (DNC).

What was the purpose of the May 9, 2017 firing of FBI Director James Comey: Cui Bono?  Who was behind it?

While Trump reluctantly endorsed the firing of Comey, based on Rosenstein’s recommendation, that decision was largely detrimental to Trump. It provided a greenlight to Rosenstein to appoint Mueller and initiate the Russia probe.

Screenshot of CNN and Trump twit, September 24, 2018

In practice, the decision was taken by the Attorney General’s office overriding the Presidency, precisely with a view to removing potential obstacles in the conduct of the alleged “Trump-Moscow collusion” investigation. With Comey out of the way, the corruption and fraud underlying the Democratic Party’s DNC including Clinton’s emails would not be addressed by the Russia Probe.

In this regard, Comey was slated to be removed. He was viewed as unpredictable and uncooperative. Moreover, the decision was also intended to weaken the presidency of Donald Trump.

And in the immediate wake of Comey’s dismissal, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein appointed former FBI Robert Mueller to serve as special counsel for the United States Department of Justice to investigate the alleged interference of the Kremlin in the November 2016 presidential elections. That appointment was conducive to establishing the so-called Russia-probe. It was explicitly intended to sustain the Russia-Gate legend as well as undermine the Trump presidency.

Image left. Comey and Mueller

The Mueller investigation under the auspices of the Department of Justice had a mandate to “exploring any coordination between Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and the Russian government as part of the alleged Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections”.

Rosenstein was the architect behind that process. Who was behind him?

At this juncture, the firing of Rosenstein is in limbo. If he is fired, it opens up a can of worms. The Russia Probe led by Special Council Robert Mueller would potentially be in jeopardy.

What this means is that if Rosenstein is fired by Trump, Mueller’s mandate as Special Council in the Russia Probe could be aborted with far-reaching implications for US foreign policy.

Will that take place? A power struggle against Trump is ongoing with a view to maintaining Rosenstein in office and protecting Robert Mueller.

The Democrats have called upon Republicans in the US Congress “to pass legislation to protect special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference”.

The stakes are high. The power struggle pertains to “protecting” the Russia-Gate narrative of alleged Kremlin interference not only in the US, but also  among America’s closest allies including Britain, France and Canada (where the issue of Russian meddling has been raised). It also pertains to an ongoing  battle to impeach Donald Trump.

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About the author:

Michel Chossudovsky is an award-winning author, Professor of Economics (emeritus) at the University of Ottawa, Founder and Director of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG), Montreal, Editor of Global Research.  He has taught as visiting professor in Western Europe, Southeast Asia, the Pacific and Latin America. He has served as economic adviser to governments of developing countries and has acted as a consultant for several international organizations. He is the author of eleven books including The Globalization of Poverty and The New World Order (2003), America’s “War on Terrorism” (2005), The Global Economic Crisis, The Great Depression of the Twenty-first Century (2009) (Editor), Towards a World War III Scenario: The Dangers of Nuclear War (2011), The Globalization of War, America's Long War against Humanity (2015). He is a contributor to the Encyclopaedia Britannica.  His writings have been published in more than twenty languages. In 2014, he was awarded the Gold Medal for Merit of the Republic of Serbia for his writings on NATO's war of aggression against Yugoslavia. He can be reached at [email protected]

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