Former DEA head addresses CircleUp group

by Peter J. Teagle - Posted on Sep 05, 2018 - 01:27 PM

Photo: More than 100 people turned out for the Aug. 26 meeting of CircleUp at the Mathews Boys & Girls Club. Guest speaker Chuck Rosenberg (center, standing) moved around the room answering questions and engaging with attendees in a moderated open forum-style discussion. Rosenberg formerly headed the DEA, served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney, and worked under former FBI Director James Comey as his Chief of Staff. Currently, Rosenberg is a legal analyst and contributor for MSNBC. He also works as Senior Counsel for the firm Crowell & Moring of Washington, D.C. Photo by Peter J. Teagle

More than 100 people turned out for the Aug. 26 meeting of CircleUp at the Mathews Boys & Girls Club. Guest speaker Chuck Rosenberg (center, standing) moved around the room answering questions and engaging with attendees in a moderated open forum-style discussion. Rosenberg formerly headed the DEA, served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney, and worked under former FBI Director James Comey as his Chief of Staff. Currently, Rosenberg is a legal analyst and contributor for MSNBC. He also works as Senior Counsel for the firm Crowell & Moring of Washington, D.C. Photo by Peter J. Teagle

The former head of the federal Drug Enforcement Agency, Chuck Rosenberg was featured speaker at the Aug. 26 monthly meeting of the community action group CircleUp Middle Peninsula. The meeting was held in the Mathews Boys & Girls Club.

From lawn chairs in the building’s main gym, attendees engaged with Rosenberg in an open forum-style discussion. Backdropped by an American flag, the former DEA head walked around the room with microphone in hand.

Issues brought up by the attendance mostly focused on the rule of law as it pertains to the ongoing Mueller investigation and reported Russian meddling in U.S. elections.

Other topics included political action, checks and balances, “as private citizens, assuring that all voices are heard,” and questions over enforcing laws when government officials and law enforcement agents are the ones accused of breaking said laws.

In reference to the ongoing investigation by Robert Mueller, Rosenberg explained that the buzzword synonymous with the event (“collusion”) is actually separate from what federal agents and prosecutors are investigating.

In the letter of appointment for Mueller by the Attorney General, the investigator is tasked with looking into “links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign” and the word “collusion” actually never appears in the appointment document.

Rosenberg, an Assistant U.S. Attorney from 1994-2000 and the former Chief of Staff to FBI Director James Comey, explained that there would need to be “evidence of an attempt to defraud the United States of the rule of law, violate federal election law, or a conspiracy to obstruct justice” for charges to be levied.

While “collusion” has been frequently discussed in national media outlets on both sides of the aisle, Rosenberg explained that “proving collusion” is not really what federal investigators are tasked with doing in the first place as it pertains to this case.

“Criminal liability,” Rosenberg explained, “is to include only those who are aware of intent” to commit one of the aforementioned crimes.

In addition to discussing this investigation, Rosenberg and the audience discussed issues of First Amendment speech. 

Rosenberg explained that actions such as the vilifying of cabinet members, verbally attacking the press, or otherwise critiquing free speech are often protected by the First Amendment provided it is not a call to action or a call to otherwise commit conspiracy or obstruct justice. 

This event represented the August meeting for CircleUp, which was formed in 2017. Each month a moderated open discussion is held in the gym of the Mathews Boys & Girls Club with guest speakers adding professional knowledge to the forum.

The next meeting will be held from 3-5 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 16.