Judicial Watch Reveals Reza Zarrab’s Lawyer May Have Pitched Rosenstein on Special Counsel Pick

I love when Judicial Watch liberates documents they think are damning but actually demonstrate that conspiracy theories are false, as they did when they liberated Bruce Ohr documents showing he actually helped the FBI vet the Steele dossier. Then there’s the recent release showing that current US Attorney George Terwilliger was pushing Bill Barr’s theory that Jim Comey deserved to be fired the weekend before Robert Mueller was hired.

But there’s something potentially more important in that batch.

The WaPo’s coverage of Rudy Giuliani and Michael Mukasey’s efforts to pressure Rex Tillerson to push DOJ to release Turkish money launderer Reza Zarrab contextualizes the fall 2017 meeting by recalling that Trump and Erdogan met on May 16, 2017

The two leaders finished their first meeting and performed their ceremonial handshake at about 1PM.

Just half an hour earlier, at 12:30 PM, Andrew McCabe had explained to Rod Rosenstein that he had opened an investigation into Donald Trump. The two then discussed Rosenstein’s thoughts about appointing a special prosecutor. Rosenstein said he was choosing between two candidates, one (who must be Mueller) who could start immediately.

At 1:09, former Deputy Attorney General Mark Filip (and Bill Barr colleague) called Rosenstein from his Kirkland and Ellis phone, left a message, and asked Rosenstein to call him.

At 3:25, Rosenstein wrote back and told him “Mukasey might call.” It’s unclear whether this is Marc or Michael Mukasey, but it doesn’t much matter, because Michael was already representing Zarrab and Marc was very very close to Giuliani.

In other words, within hours after Erdogan met Trump at the White House and asked for Zarrab’s release, someone effectively representing Zarrab appeared to be in touch with Rosenstein, who then suggested that whichever Mukasey it was call Filip.

The thing is, by all appearances, this Mukasey call pertained to question about hiring a Special Counsel. That’s because shortly thereafter, Rosenstein writes Filip back and tells him he’s going with Mueller (which suggests Filip may have been his other candidate).

If all that’s right, it suggests one of Zarrab’s lawyers may have weighed in on the Special Counsel decision just minutes after Erdogan requested Trump release him and (simultaneously) a key McCabe-Rosenstein meeting.

That’s not all that surprising. After all, the Mike Flynn investigation had already developed to include at least two of four strands, the lies about Russia and the lies about Turkey.

But then Rosenstein chose to appoint Mueller, not his other choice (who may have been Filip).

From that moment, Republicans were pushing the Bill Barr line. And Bill Barr is now in charge (and was, for the closure of the Mueller investigation). And that push may have had as much to do with Turkey as it did Russia.

20 replies
  1. John Forde says:

    Live at the Trump rally, aka opposite world . None of these people have a clue as to what is happening, what is about to happen or even what is real.

  2. Molly Pitcher says:

    And along those lines, apparently Lindsey Graham just got pranked by a couple of Russians into sharing in “private” that the US needs to support Turkey with their “Kurd problem”. The exact opposite of what he said in public for the last 24 hours. I think he has been playing possum where Trump and the Russians are concerned.


    [FYI, link edited to remove tracking. /~Rayne]

    • Marinela says:

      Few things:

      How are these people re-elected?

      Really, why would he even bother to criticize Trump when everybody knows he is a phony? I guess what is the logic behind criticizing Trump on Syria move, when he actually agrees to Trump privately? Why the game?
      Controlled opposition?

      MSM needs to start treating this guy like the hypocrite he is. So tired to see him getting interviews like he has any credibility, he is a propaganda machine. But then there is hardly anybody interviewing, or giving TV time, to Ilhan Omar or other juniors, maybe they have a more substantive message than a word salad from this guy. And some of these juniors are truly independent.

  3. gnorrn says:

    My head is spinning. Can someone smarter than me spell out what the theory is here? Is is that Turkey wanted Mueller as Special Counsel? Why would Turkey want that?

    • Pat says:

      Do we know what it was that Gen. Flynn had admitted to have done, that made the judge ask about charging him with treason?

  4. Eskimo says:

    Waiting for Mogilevich to dispense with Firtash and rouse the sleepers.

    The unsurpassable Susan Simpson:

    “There is no public record of GEP doing any actual business. In fact, the only public record of activity by GEP is making large donations to Republican candidates and PACs. Which makes total sense, because GEP is in no way capable of doing any real energy business on its own.“

    Full thread:


    The peerless Diane Francis:

    “ The significance of this situation cannot be overstated. Naftogaz is Ukraine’s largest corporation, and is Europe’s conduit for Russian gas. Russia is behind these and other efforts to squeeze and hold it hostage, then to destroy it (and Ukraine) by building Nord Stream 2 and another pipeline through Turkey to control gas to Europe.”

    Full essay:


    Kurds know about pipelines.

    Gopus delendus est ⚡️

  5. Marinela says:

    At the time Rosenstein choose Mueller, instead of Mark Filip, it sounds like R. made the appropriate decision for the special counsel. Do we know how Mark Filip would conduct the investigation, knowing what we now know about Mueller, and how it ended?

    • Desider says:

      Well, at the time we thought Rosenstein was a straight shooter, rather than the “survivor” he came out looking like. What cards did he hold on Mueller, and what would his decision factors between Mueller & Filip on influencing the investigation is still unclear, but we know enough now to re-examine everything skeptically. As much heavy lifting as Mueller did, the hesitancy with which he seems to have pursued witnesses, and largely carrying the Barr view on the limitations in indictment & charges as well as less spinning out of charges to other FBI units than we were led to believe all seem rather irritating at this point, as well as Mueller’s “I’ve said what I came to say, don’t ask me for more” – the WhistleBlower was much clearer in a few pages, which has made the last month much more productive. Now, what that has to do with a Turkey defendent & Erdogan’s talk, I’ve no idea – unless there was somehow dirt on Mueller or there was strong reason to think Filip would be more aggressive than Mueller in carrying this out (or would scoff at Barr’s pre-conditions?) – but Mukasey would likely know a thing or two. (note: Mukasey was nominated as AG after Alberto Gonzales was forced to resign – good times under the Bush administration)

      • Marinela says:

        Mueller was not aggressive enough (didn’t interview Trump, etc), he acted too “cautious” in my view of the world, but we know he recorded the facts at least for later investigations. Him and his team comes across to me as fair investigators, wanting to get to the bottom of the Trump messy entanglements, as a republican is really something in this political climate.
        The fact he was not fired it means “the fix was in” by the time he released the report.

      • gnorrn says:

        > the WhistleBlower was much clearer in a few pages

        Is this fair? The whistle blower had Trump directly involved in an near-explicit quid pro quo. Mueller’s collusion / conspiracy narrative didn’t have such good material to work with: the ingredients for a quid pro quo were all there, but the pieces didn’t fit together as neatly, Trump’s personal involvement was less easily shown, and the overall picture was far more complex.

        • P J Evans says:

          And, as Mueller pointed out in his report, evidence was intentionally destroyed or hidden from his investigation. (Read the summaries, at least, before complaining about what he didn’t do.)

  6. Michael says:

    Speaking of tRump, Giuliani and Erdogan …

    “Trump asked Tillerson to help broker deal to end U.S. prosecution of Turkish trader represented by Giuliani”


    It includes obstruction, a deal with a foreign doofus, and, most important, gold. How could tRump *not* wade into this? But tRump being tRump, he tapped Rex Tillerson to be his cut-out. Tillerson revolted; complained to John Kelly, who told him to circular-file POTUS’ request.

    [FYI, link fixed. /~Rayne]

    • viget says:

      Not to mention that when Tillerson got tapped for this, he probably immediately realized what it meant… cutting the US (and by extension ExxonMobil, his former firm) out of any possibility of developing the Leviathan gas fields. Looks like Russia made a deal with Turkey behind our backs as Eskimo alludes to.. this is about natural gas supremecy in the coming decades.

      I know, I know, Seth Abramson warnings blah blah blah, but if he’s right about the Red Sea Conspiracy to elect Trump, this whole thing was basically Russia playing a whole lot of folks. Cause UAE, Saudi Arabia, Baharain, Egypt, Israel (maybe, not sure who’s side they’re on), definitely Ukraine, they’re all going to be losers in this. Turkey, Qatar and Russia, as well as some of the former Soviet Republics are the big winners.

  7. Michael says:

    Thanks for stitching my link back together. Would be a shame if the helter skelter link kept folks from that story.

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