Rod Rosenstein, the U.S. deputy attorney general who oversaw the Mueller investigation, spoke publicly on April 25 for the first time since the report was released. He criticized the reaction of the Obama administration to Russian hacking and its decision “not to publicize the entire story” to the American people.
Rosenstein, who spoke at the Armenian Bar Association’s Public Servants Dinner in New York, defended his handling of the probe and criticized former officials in the process.
Rosenstain said, “The previous administration chose not to publicize the full story about Russian computer hackers and social media trolls, and how they relate to a broader strategy to undermine America.”
“The FBI disclosed classified evidence about the investigation to ranking legislators and their staffers,” he said. “Someone selectively leaked details to the news media. The FBI director [Comey] announced at a congressional hearing that there was a counterintelligence investigation that might result in criminal charges. Then the former FBI director alleged that the president pressured him to close the investigation, and the president denied that the conversation occurred.”
He defended his probe: “I did pledge to do it right and take it to the appropriate conclusion. I did not promise to report all results to the public, because grand jury investigations are ex parte proceedings. It is not our job to render conclusive factual findings. We just decide whether it is appropriate to file criminal charges.”
— Byron York (@ByronYork) April 26, 2019
The Obama administration’s handling of Russian interference has been criticized. Trump blamed Obama for not acting fast enough during the campaign to stem the influence of Russia.
After the release of the 448-page Mueller report, the Justice Department came under fire from critics. A four-page summary by Attorney General William Barr that determined that while Russia had interfered with the presidential election in 2016, the Trump campaign did not collude with the effort.
Mueller said he did not draw a conclusion as to whether President Trump obstructed justice.