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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

1 hour ago - Health

FDA advisory panel recommends Pfizer boosters for those 65 and older

A healthcare worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine at the Key Biscayne Community Center on Aug. 24, 2021. Photo: Eva Marie Uzcategui/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A key Food and Drug Administration advisory panel on Friday overwhelmingly voted against recommending Pfizer vaccine booster shots for younger Americans, but unanimously recommended approving the third shots for individuals 65 and older, as well as those at high-risk of severe COVID-19.

Why it matters: While the votes are non-binding, and the FDA must still make a final decision, Friday's move pours cold water on the Biden administration's plan to begin administering boosters to most individuals who received the Pfizer vaccine later this month.

1 hour ago - World

France recalls ambassadors from U.S. and Australia over submarine deal

Secretary of State Antony Blinken (L), French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian (C), and French ambassador to the U.S. Philippe Etienne. Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images

France has taken the extraordinary step of recalling its ambassadors to the U.S. and Australia after both countries blindsided their French allies with a new military pact and submarine contract, the French Foreign Ministry announced on Friday.

The backstory: While sealing an agreement with the U.S. and U.K. to acquire nuclear submarines, Australia ripped up an existing $90 billion submarine deal with France. That led senior French officials to accuse the U.S. of a "stab in the back."

Updated 2 hours ago - World

In reversal, Pentagon now says drone strike killed 10 Afghan civilians

Caskets for the dead are carried towards the gravesite as relatives and friends attend a mass funeral for members of a family that is said to have been killed in a U.S. drone airstrike, in Kabul on Aug. 30. Photo: Marcus Yam/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

A U.S. drone strike launched on Aug. 29 killed 10 civilians in Afghanistan, including seven children, rather than the Islamic State extremists the Biden administration claimed it targeted, the Pentagon said Friday.

Why it matters: U.S. Central Command said at the time that officials "know" the drone strike "disrupted an imminent ISIS-K threat" to Kabul's airport, and that they were "confident we successfully hit the target."