The Trump regime and all its members have always denied that they have an explicit policy for separating immigrant children from their parents.
Separating children from their parents is just an unintended consequence of prosecution, they've always said, even though prosecution is at their discretion. But now we know without any doubt that the truth is prosecution was just their excuse in an explicit effort to separate families.
According to the Justice Department’s inspector general, former Attorney General Jeff Sessions explicitly and literally called for taking children away from their families before the policy was implemented, and former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein backed him by saying even the smallest infants should be separated.
When local prosecutors raised alarms about separating small children, Sessions and Rosenstein told them that's exactly what they should do.
“We need to take away children,” Mr. Sessions told the prosecutors, according to participants’ notes. One added in shorthand: “If care about kids, don’t bring them in. Won’t give amnesty to people with kids.”
Rod J. Rosenstein, then the deputy attorney general, went even further in a second call about a week later, telling the five prosecutors that it did not matter how young the children were. He said that government lawyers should not have refused to prosecute two cases simply because the children were barely more than infants.
The Justice Department’s top officials were “a driving force” behind the policy that spurred the separation of thousands of families, many of them fleeing violence in Central America and seeking asylum in the United States, before Mr. Trump abandoned it amid global outrage, according to a draft report of the results of the investigation by Michael E. Horowitz, the department’s inspector general.
This obviously isn't a big surprise because we knew this was their goal even if we didn't know exactly how explicit their internal deliberations were, but one thing that is news to me is Rod Rosenstein's ghoulish order to separate every family including those with infant children.
The inspector general's report includes other details, such as one local prosecutor's dismay that they were separating breast-feeding mothers from their babies. And that was Rosenstein's directive.
Given everything we know about him now between this report and other recent reports that he had a larger role in containing the Mueller investigation than we previously knew, I have a significantly different impression of Rosenstein than I did a few years ago.
Jeff Session has always been a klansman in a suit so his words and behavior do not shock the senses, but Rosenstein was clearly just as instrumental in enabling some of the Trump regime's worst offenses. This further explains why Sessions felt comfortable recusing himself from the Mueller investigation and allowing Rosenstein to oversee it. Ideologically, there may not have been much distance between them.
Contacted by the New York Times for comment, Rosenstein blamed the local federal prosecutors who were under his direction at the time and denied that he ever explicitly ordered them to separate small babies from their mothers.