Giving a speech to the Greater Baltimore Committee (GBC) on Monday evening, former deputy attorney general, Rod Rosenstein unloaded on former FBI Director James Comey.
Rosenstein slammed Comey’s turn as a “partisan pundit,” and reiterated that he deserved to be fired, and faulted him for trampling “bright lines that should never be crossed.”
During his speech, Rod Rosenstein blasted Comey’s comments earlier this month where the former FBI Director implied that Rosenstein and Attorney General Bill Barr lacked the “inner strength” to “resist the compromises necessary to survive Mr. Trump.”
Comey also ridiculed Rosenstein’s “character” and suggested his “soul” had been consumed “in small bites.” (Related: Comey Says ‘Trump Eats Your Soul In Small Bites’, Huckabee & diGenova Swipe Back: ‘Comey Ate The Soul Of The FBI’)
Rosenstein said on Monday, “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. Speculating about souls is not a job for police and prosecutors. Generally, we base our opinions on eyewitness testimony.”
Although Rosenstein emphasized that he “did not dislike” and even “admired” Comey in the past, he asserted that the former FBI head’s handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation in 2016 was a grievous and defining professional error, reported Fox News. (Continued Below)
Rosenstein continued, “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. 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.”
Comey later said he felt compelled to hold the dramatic July 2016 news conference — in which he said that “no reasonable prosecutor” would charge Clinton, even though he said she had been “extremely careless” in handling classified information — because then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch had compromised the DOJ’s appearance of impartiality by allowing Bill Clinton to meet her privately on an airport tarmac as the investigation was ongoing, per Fox News.
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.” (Continued Below)
From Fox News:
Rosenstein called his memorandum supporting Comey’s firing “reasonable under the circumstances,” and said he would have provided a more fleshed-out analysis of the “pros and cons” of terminating the FBI director had he been “asked to make a recommendation before the removal decision was made.”
But, Rosenstein emphasized, Trump “did not tell me what reasons to put in my memo.” The president repeatedly has suggested that Comey’s refusal to acknowledge publicly — as he had privately — that Trump was not under investigation ultimately played a role in his termination.
But, in another shot at Comey’s deeply personal criticisms, Rosenstein went on: “My soul and character are pretty much the same today as they were two years ago. I took a few hits and made some enemies during my time in the arena, but I held my ground and made a lot of friends. And thanks to them, I think I made the right calls on the things that mattered.”
(Related: DiGenova Reveals A ‘Bombshell’ Comey Report That Is Due Out Within Weeks: ‘There Will Be Criminal Referrals In It’)