Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein had a lot to get off his chest Thursday night.
At a Public Servants Dinner of the Armenian Bar Association, Rosenstein unloaded on the Obama administration, saying that its handling of the Russian election interference disadvantaged the probe from the start.
“The previous administration chose not to publicize the full story about Russian computer hackers and social media trolls, and how they relate to a broader strategy to undermine America,” he said. “The FBI disclosed classified evidence about the investigation to ranking legislators and their staffers. Someone selectively leaked details to the news media. The FBI director announced at a congressional hearing that there was a counterintelligence investigation that might result in criminal charges. Then the former FBI director alleged that the President pressured him to close the investigation, and the President denied that the conversation occurred. So that happened.”
He sprinkled in a colorful metaphor to fully depict the burden he shouldered when he took on the deputy AG gig.
“There is a story about firefighters who found a man on a burning bed. When they asked how the fire started, he replied, ‘I don’t know. It was on fire when I lay down on it,'” Rosenstein said. “I know the feeling,” he quipped.
Nevertheless, he was quick to illustrate the aplomb with which he and his team handled the tough hand they were dealt: “Today, our nation is safer, elections are more secure, and citizens are better informed about covert foreign influence schemes.”
But, in case listeners forgot how hard Rosenstein labored to be a beacon of judicial integrity in the swamp of Washington, he added: “Not everybody was happy with my decision, in case you did not notice.”
He rounded out the evening with a quick potshot at the news media, a must in the time of Trump.
“Some of the nonsense that passes for breaking news today would not be worth the paper it was printed on, if anybody bothered to print it,” he said.
Read his full comments here.