NYT: ‘Upset’ Rosenstein Believed WH Used Him To Justify Comey Firing

on October 17, 2017 in Washington, DC.
WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 17: Deputy U.S. Attorney General Rod Rosenstein speaks during a news conference October 17, 2017 at the Justice Department in Washington, DC. Rosenstein held a news conference to announce th... WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 17: Deputy U.S. Attorney General Rod Rosenstein speaks during a news conference October 17, 2017 at the Justice Department in Washington, DC. Rosenstein held a news conference to announce that federal grand juries in the Southern District of Mississippi and the District of North Dakota have indicted two Chinese nationals and their North American based traffickers and distributors for separate conspiracies to distribute large quantities of fentanyl and fentanyl analogues and other opiate substances in the U.S. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images) MORE LESS

Attorney General Rod Rosenstein believed the White House used him to help justify President Trump’s firing of FBI director James Comey last May, the New York Times reported Friday.

“Shaken,” “unsteady,” “overwhelmed,” “frantic” and “upset” were among the adjectives Rosenstein acquaintances offered to the newspaper to describe his mood in the days after Comey’s abrupt dismissal.

Both Rosenstein and Attorney General Jeff Sessions wrote memos rationalizing Comey’s firing, citing his unprecedented public discussion of the FBI’s election-year investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server. Rosenstein defended the memo to Congress last year, saying, “I stand by it.”

The deputy attorney general is in an uncomfortable position. He bore witness to that firing and then appointed Robert Mueller as special counsel in the federal Russia investigation, which is now probing whether Comey’s firing constituted obstruction of justice. Some lawmakers have called for Rosenstein to recuse himself from overseeing Mueller’s investigation because of that conflict.

The Times also reported that Rosenstein did not consult with Sessions before deciding to appoint Mueller, a move that blindsided the attorney general and infuriated the President. Sources told the paper he made that step privately because he feared being fired by Trump.

Dear Reader,

When we asked recently what makes TPM different from other outlets, readers cited factors like honesty, curiosity, transparency, and our vibrant community. They also pointed to our ability to report on important stories and trends long before they are picked up by mainstream outlets; our ability to contextualize information within the arc of history; and our focus on the real-world consequences of the news.

Our unique approach to reporting and presenting the news, however, wouldn’t be possible without our readers’ support. That’s not just marketing speak, it’s true: our work would literally not be possible without readers deciding to become members. Not only does member support account for more than 80% of TPM’s revenue, our members have helped us build an engaged and informed community. Many of our best stories were born from reader tips and valuable member feedback.

We do what other news outlets can’t or won’t do because our members’ support gives us real independence.

If you enjoy reading TPM and value what we do, become a member today.

Latest Muckraker
Comments
Masthead Masthead
Founder & Editor-in-Chief:
Executive Editor:
Managing Editor:
Associate Editor:
Investigations Desk:
Reporters:
Newswriters:
Director of Audience:
Editor at Large:
General Counsel:
Publisher:
Head of Product:
Director of Technology:
Associate Publisher:
Front End Developer:
Senior Designer: