“The former director is a partisan pundit.”
Former deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein fired back at James Comey in a speech Monday – calling the former FBI director a “partisan pundit.”
Speaking to the Greater Baltimore Committee, Rosenstein made clear that his criticism was in response to a May 1 op-ed by Comey in The New York Times. Comey faulted Rosenstein and Attorney General Bill Barr for allegedly spinning the Mueller report on behalf of President Donald Trump.
Comey – whom Trump fired in 2017, citing a memo by Rosenstein – accused the men of “lacking inner strength.” He also repeated his assertion that Trump obstructed justice, though Barr decided otherwise.
On stage Monday, Rosenstein pointed to his track record as a non-partisan lawman and characterized Comey as a chaser of fame and fortune.
“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,” he said. “That is disappointing. Speculating about souls is not a job for police and prosecutors. Generally, we base our opinions on eyewitness testimony.”
Rosenstein also defended the memo he wrote to justify Comey’s firing, saying again that the then-director’ mishandled the FBI investigation of Hillary Clinton’s emails – though he acknowledged the process could have been handled more delicately by rump.
“If I had been the decision-maker, the removal would have been handled very differently, with far more respect and far less drama, so I do not blame the former director for being angry,” Rosenstein said, but he added that “there are bright lines that should never be crossed.”
Since losing his job, Comey has remained in the public spotlight. He went on a tell-all book tour and has repeatedly written and spoken out against Trump.
Other Obama administration officials have also trashed the president in the media since leaving office, including former National Security Director James Clapper and former CIA Director John Brennan, who accused Trump of treason.
In response to Republican accusations of a “deep state” plot to take down Trump, Barr has appointed a U.S. attorney to examine whether the FBI’s surveillance of his 2016 campaign was “lawful and appropriate.”
- ormer Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein speaks at the Great Baltimore Committee annual meeting on May 13, 2019.: Screen grab