Former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein blasted fired FBI Director James Comey on Monday in a blistering speech to the Great Baltimore Committee.
“Now, the former director is 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. “That is disappointing. Speculating about souls is not a job for police and prosecutors. Generally, we base our opinions on eyewitness testimony.”
Rosenstein slammed Comey for usurping the DOJ in July of 2016 and exonerating Hillary Clinton in a press conference.
“The clearest mistake was the director’s decision to hold a press conference about an open case, reveal his recommendation and discuss details about the investigation, without the consent of the prosecutors and the attorney general,” Rosenstein said. “Then, he chose to send a letter to the Congress on the eve of the election stating that one of the candidates was under criminal investigation, expecting it to be released immediately to the public.”
Rosenstein added: “Those actions were not within the range of reasonable decisions. They were inconsistent with our goal of communicating to all FBI employees that they should respect the attorney general’s role, refrain from disclosing information about criminal investigations, avoid disparaging uncharged persons, and above all, not take unnecessary steps that could influence an election.”
NEW: Former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein defends Russia investigation handling, hits back at James Comey. “I would never have allowed anyone to interfere with the investigation.” https://t.co/RT7QVKxtn3 pic.twitter.com/toFYKGYdWU
— ABC News (@ABC) May 14, 2019
Fresh out of his job as deputy attorney general, Rod Rosenstein said that he would have never allowed anyone to interfere with it and that closing it had not been an option.
The speech before a Baltimore advocacy group for business and civic leaders marked Rosenstein’s most expansive remarks on the recently concluded probe into Russian election interference and potential coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia.
“I was responsible for overseeing that investigation,” Rosenstein said, according to his prepared remarks. “I knew from preliminary briefings with the agents and prosecutors that it was an important investigation. If it was not done correctly, there would always be lingering doubts about the scope of Russian efforts and the extent of American involvement.
“I would never have allowed anyone to interfere with the investigation,” he added.
“But at my confirmation hearing, I promised that I would conduct the investigation properly and see it through to the appropriate conclusion,” Rosenstein said. “In my business, you keep promises. And in my business, the appropriate conclusion is the one that results when you follow the normal process and complete an independent investigation.”
He said in his speech that though he did not blame Comey for being upset with him, “now the former Director is a partisan pundit, selling books and earning speaking fees while speculating about the strength of my character and the fate of my immortal soul.
“That is disappointing,” Rosenstein added. “Speculating about souls is not a job for police and prosecutors. Generally we base our opinions on eyewitness testimony.”
He also said the memo was “correct” and “reasonable under the circumstances,” even if Trump’s reasons for firing Comey were different from his own.
This article was edited by TheBL.