Former U.S. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein thoroughly gutted former FBI chief James Comey in public comments on Monday, calling Comey a “partisan pundit” and slamming him for selling books at the cost of the truth.
This is pretty stark. You don’t see career government officials tear into each other like this very often, at least not in public. Sure, politicians do it all the time, but career government officials rarely do this.
Former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein slams former FBI Director James @Comey: "The former director seems to be acting as a partisan pundit, selling books and earning speaking fees while speculating about the strength of my character and the fate of my immortal soul" pic.twitter.com/fs9aWBmWAM
— Ryan Saavedra (@RealSaavedra) May 14, 2019
Rosenstein’s slam of Comey does not come out of the blue. Comey has already gone on the attack against the now former Deputy AG.
As Fox News reported:
Comey also derided Rosenstein’s “character” and suggested his “soul” had been consumed “in small bites.” The former FBI boss, who has taken to posting numerous photographs of himself in nature staring wistfully at trees and roadways since leaving public office, had been showered with media attention in recent months, and his memoir earned him over $2 million.
But it appears that Rosenstein has had enough of all this garbage, especially from someone with such low character as Comey.
In his address, Rosenstein slammed Comey:
“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,” Rosenstein said. “That is disappointing. Speculating about souls is not a job for police and prosecutors. Generally, we base our opinions on eyewitness testimony.”
Rosenstein went on to criticize Comey for how he handled the Hillary email investigation:
“The clearest mistake was the director’s decision to hold a press conference about an open case, reveal his recommendation and discuss details about the investigation, without the consent of the prosecutors and the attorney general,” Rosenstein said. “Then, he chose to send a letter to the Congress on the eve of the election stating that one of the candidates was under criminal investigation, expecting it to be released immediately to the public.”
You’ll recall that Comey went public with his preconceived notion that Hillary’s clear violations of the national security act by using a private email server hidden in her New York home was “extremely careless” but that Hillary did not “intend” to break the law. “Intent” is not a legal excuse for anything, but Comey invoked it anyway as if it was a mitigating legal reason for avoiding prosecution.
Rosenstien slammed Comey’s distortion of the law;
“Those actions were not within the range of reasonable decisions. They were inconsistent with our goal of communicating to all FBI employees that they should respect the attorney general’s role, refrain from disclosing information about criminal investigations, avoid disparaging uncharged persons, and above all, not take unnecessary steps that could influence an election.”
Rosenstein called his memorandum supporting Comey’s firing “reasonable under the circumstances,” and said he would have provided a more fleshed-out analysis of the “pros and cons” of terminating the FBI director had he been “asked to make a recommendation before the removal decision was made.”
This is a much deserved and thorough slam on Comey.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.