Rosenstein Says Obama, Comey Misled Trump
The Washington Examiner's Byron York shared an eyebrow-raising excerpt from his speech. (Fox News)
Rosenstein, the U.S. deputy attorney general who supervised the Mueller investigation, spoke out publically for the first time since the report was released, criticizing the Obama administration’s real-time reaction to Russian hacking and its decision "not publicize the full story" to the American people.
Rosenstein, who was speaking in New York at the Public Servants Dinner of the Armenian Bar Association, defended his handling of the probe and criticized former officials in the process. He also called out former FBI Director James Comey for alerting Congress about the investigation into Russian collusion at the height of the 2016 presidential campaign.
“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.
The Obama administration has been criticized for its handling of the Russian interference. Trump has blamed Obama for not acting quickly enough to stem Russia’s influence during the campaign.
After Trump's victory over Hillary Clinton, NBC News reported the Obama administration did not respond forcefully to Russian interference because high-level officials did not want to appear to have meddled in the election.
One unnamed aide told NBC, "They thought [Hillary Clinton] was going to win, so they were willing to kick the can down the road."
Rosenstein also lambasted "mercenary critics" of the administration, who have benefited financially by becoming cable news fixtures expressing "passionate opinions about any topic, often with little or no information. They do not just express disagreement. They launch ad hominem attacks unrestricted by truth or morality. They make threats, spread fake stories and even attack your relatives."
Rod Rosenstein speaking in NYC:— Philip Bump (@pbump) April 26, 2019
"Last week, the big topic of discussion was, what were you thinking when you stood behind Bill Barr at that press conference with a deadpan expression?"
"The answer is: I was thinking, 'My job is to stand here with a deadpan expression.'" pic.twitter.com/t3vvi7Q9VH