“Speculating about souls is not a job for police and prosecutors. Generally we base our opinions on eyewitness testimony.”
Former Deputy Attorney Rod Rosenstein and former FBI Director James Comey have ventured into a public spat over President Donald Trump and Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into Russian collusion.
Comey wrote earlier this month that Rosenstein did not have the strength to “resist the compromises necessary to survive Mr. Trump.”
Rosenstein lashed out at Comey for becoming a “partisan pundit” and showed disgust that the former director would speculate “about the strength of my character and the fate of my immortal soul.”
We all know that Rosenstein did not get along with Trump. Like, at all. Trump never disguised his dislike and distrust for Rosenstein. We even heard that Rosenstein supposedly tried to convince Trump’s Cabinet to unseat Trump via the 25th Amendment.
Since he resigned from his post, Rosenstein did not bite his tongue. Instead of going after Trump, he pointed his fury at Comey.
Comey wrote in The New York Times:
How could Mr. Barr go before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday and downplay President Trump’s attempt to fire Mr. Mueller before he completed his work?
And how could Rod Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general, after the release of Mr. Mueller’s report that detailed Mr. Trump’s determined efforts to obstruct justice, give a speech quoting the president on the importance of the rule of law? Or on resigning, thank a president who relentlessly attacked both him and the Department of Justice he led for “the courtesy and humor you often display in our personal conversations”?
What happened to these people?
But more often, proximity to an amoral leader reveals something depressing. I think that’s at least part of what we’ve seen with Bill Barr and Rod Rosenstein. Accomplished people lacking inner strength can’t resist the compromises necessary to survive Mr. Trump and that adds up to something they will never recover from. It takes character like Mr. Mattis’s to avoid the damage, because Mr. Trump eats your soul in small bites.
It starts with your sitting silent while he lies, both in public and private, making you complicit by your silence. In meetings with him, his assertions about what “everyone thinks” and what is “obviously true” wash over you, unchallenged, as they did at our private dinner on Jan. 27, 2017, because he’s the president and he rarely stops talking. As a result, Mr. Trump pulls all of those present into a silent circle of assent.
Ouch. I noticed since Comey’s firing he has an attitude and thinks highly of himself. He needs to come down a peg or two.
Rosenstein addressed Comey’s comments when he spoke to officials in Baltimore on Monday. From The Wall Street Journal:
Speaking to a group of city officials in Baltimore on Monday, his second day as a private citizen, Mr. Rosenstein defended a memo he wrote in May 2017, which the White House initially cited as grounds for ousting Mr. Comey. As the head of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Mr. Comey was leading its probe into possible Trump campaign ties to Russian election interference.
“I do not blame the former director for being angry,” Mr. Rosenstein said, according to prepared remarks that offered his fullest public accounting yet of his views on Mr. Comey’s firing. “But 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.”
Again, Rosenstein did not get along with Trump. I do not know why Comey believes Rosenstein lacked the strength needed to resist Trump because Rosenstein appointed Mueller:
“I recognized that the unusual circumstances of the firing and the ensuing developments would give reasonable people cause to speculate about the credibility of the investigation,” Mr. Rosenstein said Monday, defending his decision, which defined the course of his tumultuous time as the Justice Department’s No. 2 official. “I determined that I needed a special counsel to help resolve the election-interference investigation in a way that would best protect America from foreign adversaries and preserve public confidence in the long run.”
He said, “based on what I knew in May 2017, the investigation of Russian election interference was justified, and closing it was not an option.”
Rosenstein also defended his memo that “criticized Mr. Comey’s handling of the Hilary Clinton email probe.” However, he did not like the process of Comey’s firing as he would have done it “with more respect and far less drama.”
Rosenstein brought up the fact that people have tried to determine which side he lands on:
“People spend a lot of time debating whose side I was on, based on who seemed to benefit most from any individual decision” to appoint Mr. Mueller, he said. “That is because partisans evaluate things in terms of the immediate political impact, and cable TV pundits fill a lot of time by pretending there is always serious breaking news. But trying to infer partisanship from law enforcement decisions is a category error. It uses the wrong frame of reference.”
Mr. Rosenstein added: “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.”
I do not expect this fight between Comey and Rosenstein to end any time soon.DONATE
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