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Photo: Mark Wilson / Getty Images

The Tea Party Patriots, a conservative activist group, is launching an advertising campaign calling on Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to "do his job, or resign."

Why this matters: The campaign is modest — initially a six-figure spend on digital and TV in Washington D.C. — but the attack is a canary in the right-wing coal mine. I expect other conservative groups to follow. Such attacks have outraged many in the Justice Department and the FBI.

I

The ad:

Text of ad:

"Rod Rosenstein.
"A weak careerist at the Justice Department. Protecting liberal Obama holdovers and the Deep State, instead of following the rule of law.
"His incompetence and abuse of power have undermined congressional investigations, led to stonewalling and tarnished the credibility of the Department of Justice.
"Time for him to stand up for the rule of law and stand up for the American people. 
"It’s time for Rod Rosenstein to do his job, or resign."

What we're hearing: A conservative movement leader told me Rosenstein is "becoming a conversation at every conservative gathering.”

Another movement leader told me:

"If there's one personality right now who's unifying the movement it's this guy."

In recent days, major figures in the conservative movement have been emailing around this Wall Street Journal column by Kimberley Strassel. The column suggests — without explicitly stating so — that Rosenstein is part of the left-wing resistance against President Trump:

"The slippery shadow in all this is Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ recusal put Mr. Rosenstein in charge of digging into the actions—right or wrong—of the Justice Department and FBI in 2016. Instead of taking up that challenge, he named an old and dear friend of the FBI as special counsel, and directed him only to look at Mr. Trump. And Mr. Rosenstein appears to have signed up as an active participant in the effort to thwart any congressional investigation of the other side of the issue."

Update: CNP Action, a sister group of the Council for National Policy, an influential group among conservative leaders, has sent the Tea Party Patriots ad to its allies. The email urges them to keep applying pressure to Rosenstein and to spread the word to other activists:

"Call DAG Rosenstein at (202) 514-2000 and demand he commit publicly to doing his job and stop the politicization of critically important institutions or resign immediately."

Go deeper

Updated 2 hours ago - World

In photos: Israel-Hamas aerial bombardments enter second week

A ball of fire and a plume of smoke rise above buildings in Gaza City as Israeli forces shell the Palestinian enclave, early on May 17. Photo: Mahmud Hams/AFP via Getty Images

Israel and Hamas continued aerial bombardments into Monday morning, as fighting entered a second week.

Why it matters: The worst violence in the region since 2014 has resulted in the deaths of 197 people in Gaza, ruled by Hamas, and 10 in Israel. 58 Palestinian children and two Israeli children are among those killed since the aerial exchanges began on May 10, Reuters notes.

Lawmakers call for Israel-Hamas ceasefire amid aerial bombardments

Combination images of Republican Sen. Todd Young and Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy. Photo: Michael Reynolds-Pool/Getty Images/Greg Nash-Pool/Getty Images

Sen. Todd Young (R-Ind.) and 28 Senate Democrats on Sunday called for a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas as fighting continued into the night.

Driving the news: Young, a ranking member of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Near East, South Asia, Central Asia and Counterterrorism, joined panel Chair Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) in a bipartisan statement saying: "Israel has the right to defend itself from Hamas' rocket attacks, in a manner proportionate with the threat its citizens are facing.

Bill Gates faces scrutiny over relationship with Microsoft employee, Epstein ties

Photo: Alessandro Di Ciommo/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Representatives for Bill Gates pushed back on claims Sunday that he left Microsoft's board because of an earlier sexual relationship and against two other reports detailing more extensive ties with Jeffrey Epstein than had previously been reported.

Driving the news: Microsoft said in an emailed statement to Axios that it "received a concern" in 2019 that its co-founder "sought to initiate an intimate relationship with a company employee in the year 2000," but denied a Wall Street Journal report that its board members thought Gates should resign over the matter.