Former Deputy Attorney General calls disgraced former FBI director
Former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein branded fire FBI director James Comey as a ‘partisan pundit’ for his public criticisms of the Justice Department’s approach to the investigation into collusion between Trump and Russia.
Rosenstein was delivering a speech to business and civic leaders in Baltimore and recounted writing the memo that was used by President Donald Trump to warrant Comey’s dismissal back in May 2017.
Rosenstein appointed Robert Mueller to head the Russia investigation after then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself.
Rosenstein defended his actions against Comey, who said that the former deputy attorney general’s soul had been ‘eaten’ by Trump.
“Now the former director seems to be acting as a partisan pundit, selling books and earning speaking fees while speculating about the strength of my character and the fate of my immortal soul,” Rosenstein said.
“I kid you not. That is disappointing.”
According to a report from CNN, Rosenstein delivered his speech to 1,000 people at the annual Greater Baltimore Committee dinner.
Rosenstein asserted that his decisions were driven by the rule of law and not partisan politics.
“People spend a lot of time debating whose side I was on, based on who seemed to benefit the most from any individual decision,” Rosenstein said.
“But trying to infer partisan affiliation from law enforcement decisions is what you might call a category error. It uses the wrong frame of reference.”
Comey’s firing was justified due to his handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation, according to Rosenstein.
The FBI has been investigating Clinton for using a personal email server for official Government activities while acting as secretary of state.
But Comey concluded there was s not enough evidence to indict Clinton.
A report from the DOJ last year revealed that the former FBI Director James Comey ‘deviated’ from the usual standard of practices of the agency when dealing with the Hillary Clinton classified email probe.
‘While we did not find that these decisions were the result of political bias on Comey’s part, we nevertheless concluded that by departing so clearly and dramatically from FBI and department norms, the decisions negatively impacted the perception of the FBI and the department as fair administrators of justice,’ the report read.
Former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein told graduating law students that they’ll “face pressure to compromise on things that matter most” in a commencement address that hinted at his rocky tenure at the Justice Department https://t.co/I5c0ybPSvG pic.twitter.com/TKNYvlgG7z
— CNN (@CNN) May 13, 2019
Former Top FBI Official: Comey’s Trump Bashing Does ‘Damage’ to the FBI | Neon Nettle..🚨I don’t think CO-MO’s gonna be having any SLEEP for awhile.😂😂 https://t.co/NOxHpCazr0
— Q-tip22 (@Brenda08193612) May 11, 2019
The public manner in which Comey concluded the investigation, including relaunching the investigation ten days before the 2016 elections, has been criticized by many.
In the Memo detailing Comey’s dismissal, Rosenstein said Comey ‘was wrong to usurp the Attorney General’s authority.’
Rosenstein slammed Comey’s comments during his press conference about the Clinton investigation as, ‘derogatory and unfair.’
Rosenstein also told the audience that he declined the President’s request to include in the memo about Comey that Trump was not under investigation.
He said his refusal was ‘because number one, I had no personal knowledge of what the director said to the President, and number two, in any event, it was not relevant to my memo.’
Rosenstein added he didn’t regret appointing Mueller to handle the Russia investigation.
‘As acting attorney general though it was my responsibility to make sure that the Department of Justice would conduct an investigation that was independent both in fact and in perception, complete it expeditiously, hold perpetrators accountable if warranted by the facts and the law, and work with partner agencies to counter foreign agents and deter crime,’ Rosenstein said.
‘We achieved those goals.’