FILE PHOTO: U.S. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein speaks at a news conference with other law enforcement officials at the Justice Department to...
Yuri Gripas

Trump promotes tweet targeting Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein

Donald Trump has long been a little too fond of throwing around the word “treason,” though he took his interest in the subject in an unsettling direction.

This seemed to start in January, when he falsely accused a pair of FBI officials of having committed treason. A month later, while whining that Democrats failed to applaud his State of the Union address to his satisfaction, the president said “they certainly didn’t seem to love our country very much” – and then raised the prospect of Democratic “treason.”

In the months that followed, Trump suggested – over and over and over again – that news organizations may be guilty of “treason” by covering the news in a way he disapproves of.

All of which brings us to the president’s Twitter use this morning.

President Donald Trump on Wednesday morning retweeted a meme calling for a number of prominent Democrats and law enforcement and intelligence officials to be imprisoned.

Behind text that reads, “NOW THAT RUSSIA COLLUSION IS A PROVEN LIE, WHEN DO THE TRIALS FOR TREASON BEGIN?” the meme features images of special counsel Robert Mueller, Hillary Clinton campaign chair John Podesta, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, Hillary Clinton, former Attorney General Eric Holder, Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, former President Bill Clinton, former FBI Director James Comey, and former Attorney General Loretta Lynch, all behind bars.

The president’s interest in incarcerating Hillary Clinton has never been subtle – “lock her up” remains a staple of Trump’s rallies – but his promotion of this tweet suggests his list of prosecutorial targets is quite long.

There’s obviously no point in trying to fact-check this nonsense, but of all the images included in the message the president retweeted, one stood out as particularly important.

Unless there was an unannounced shake-up at Main Justice this morning, Rod Rosenstein is still the deputy attorney general, helping run the Department of Justice. There has been tension from time to time between Rosenstein and the Trump White House, but he’s still at his post – which has included overseeing Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation for over a year.

So why is it that the president is promoting online garbage that shows his own deputy attorney general behind bars, alongside Trump’s other perceived enemies?