W ith the release of an explosive memo last week that Republicans say proves that the FBI and Justice Department showed bias in their investigation of the 2016 Trump presidential campaign, all eyes are now on Rod Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general.

It was Rosenstein who signed off on at least one of the FISA applications that federal investigators used to surveil Carter Page, a volunteer advisor on the campaign who had raised suspicions with his ties to Russia. But Republicans say the FBI relied on a piece of partisan opposition research, the so-called Steele dossier, to convince the court of Page’s possible guilt.

President Trump, along with fellow Republicans, sees the memo as concrete proof that the investigation into the president’s ties with Russia was biased from the outset. They further claim that the FBI and Justice Department acted improperly at several turns.

On the other hand, Democrats say the Republicans omitted key facts from the so-called Nunes memo and are using it to divert attention away from the Russia investigation headed by special prosecutor Robert Mueller — and onto Rosenstein, the man who hired him.

After speaking to insiders from both sides of the aisle, I’m amazed (but not surprised) at how each camp manages to interpret the memo in diametrically opposed fashions.

Trump’s supporters say the dossier is the clearest proof yet that the Justice Department and the FBI collaborated to undermine his presidential campaign and his administration. They say the dossier proves that the entire investigation is, as Trump says, “a hoax,” no more than an excuse to hound the president, and that the time has come to end it — the sooner the better.

This is where Rod Rosenstein comes in. The deputy attorney general appointed Robert Mueller as special counsel after Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself in March. Republicans claim that Rosenstein can no longer serve in his position after demonstrating his political bias and failing to uphold his duties.

This brings us to what the Democrats on Capitol Hill are screaming at every opportunity — that from the outset, the aim of the Nunes memo was to pressure Rosenstein to resign. According to Democrats, Trump would then install a crony in his place who could fire Mueller or quash the investigation.

The Democrats further claim that had the FBI really wanted to sabotage Trump’s campaign, the agency could have done better than to target a relative small fry in Carter Page. Furthermore, they say, let’s not forget that former FBI director James Comey announced on October 30, a mere 10 days before the election, that he was reopening the investigation against Hilary Clinton, a statement that caused tremendous harm to her election campaign. How, they ask, does that mesh with the claim that the FBI was seeking to undermine Trump?

It’s hard to underestimate the drama being playing out in Washington these days. The talk everywhere is that the Russia investigation will soon reach a boiling point. The only question is who’ll blink first. Will Trump try to fire Mueller himself? Will the head of the FBI resign in protest after Trump casts doubt on the integrity of the organization? Or will Mueller come forth with concrete evidence that will turn the tables?

One thing’s for sure: the president and the law enforcement agencies are on a collision course, and someone’s going to get hurt. (Excerpted from Mishpacha, Issue 697)