Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein on Thursday night issued an odd statement warning Americans against trusting news stories that cite “anonymous ‘officials.'”
It was not immediately clear what stories Rosenstein was referring to in the cryptic statement, but it followed several Thursday evening reports about the status of the investigations into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election and potential collusion between Trump campaign associates and Russian operatives.
“Americans should exercise caution before accepting as true any stories attributed to anonymous ‘officials,’ particularly when they do not identify the country – let alone the branch or agency of government – with which the alleged sources supposedly are affiliated. Americans should be skeptical about anonymous allegations,” he said in the statement. “The Department of Justice has a long-established policy to neither confirm nor deny such allegations.”
Rosenstein’s statement echoed President Donald Trump’s attempts to delegitimize news stories about his administration, albeit with a more measured approach. Trump constantly blasts “fake news,” while Rosenstein issued a warning about anonymous sourcing.
An anonymous Justice Department official told a CNN reporter Friday morning that Trump did not order Rosenstein to issue the statement on anonymous sources.
A Justice official says the White House didn't order Rosenstein's statement. @evanperez
— Shimon Prokupecz (@ShimonPro) June 16, 2017
A Washington Post report that special counsel Robert Mueller is looking at Jared Kushner’s finances cited anonymous sources, but described them as U.S. officials. The Washington Post reported earlier this week that Mueller is investigating whether Trump tried to obstruct justice, citing unnamed “officials.”
However, Trump appeared to confirm himself on Friday morning that he is under investigation by the FBI.
I am being investigated for firing the FBI Director by the man who told me to fire the FBI Director! Witch Hunt
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 16, 2017
This post has been updated.