Interest
National Security
Rosenstein says he regrets approving surveillance of Trump campaign adviserWASHINGTON - Former deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein conceded that, in hindsight, he would not have signed an application to continue monitoring a former Trump campaign adviser during the FBI's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, and claimed he did not know of the significant problems that have since been identified with it. The comment came at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing meant to broadly examine the Russia probe, including flaws in the applications to monitor former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page. The Justice Department inspector general found numerous errors and omissions in the applications, and the department has told a court it now believes it had "insufficient predication" to continue the surveillance. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., asked Rosenstein, who signed one of the applications, if - given what he knows now - he would have approved it. "No, I would not," Rosenstein responded. Conservatives probably will seize on the admission, and others from Rosenstein, as more ammunition for their attacks on the Russia investigation. Rosenstein offered some defense of steps he took in the case - particularly his appointment of Robert Mueller as special counsel to lead it - but at times, he was conciliatory toward Republicans skeptical of the investigation. After Graham asked whether Rosenstein would agree that there was ultimately "no there there" to support the "concept that the campaign was colluding with the Russians in August 2017," Rosenstein responded, "I agree with that general statement." In that month, Rosenstein wrote a memo detailing the scope of Mueller's investigation; the probe was far from over. But Rosenstein seemed to stress at other points that his conclusion about a conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russia came only in hindsight. He noted, for...