Comey, the media, Obama … no one is spared in Rosenstein’s candid parting shots, but Trump

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Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein may not be at the Justice Department for much longer but he is apparently making sure his exit won’t soon be forgotten.

The embattled DOJ official, who oversaw special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, threw the Obama administration under the bus as he dropped some new information about Russia and the 2016 election during a private speech on Thursday.

(Video: YouTube/Fox News)

In what Mike Huckabee called an “unusually candid moment,” Rosenstein, in his first public remarks since the redacted report was released, fired back at the media, his critics and even took shots at the Obama administration and his ex-FBI boss James Comey during a speech in New York at the Public Servants Dinner of the Armenian Bar Association.

“At my confirmation hearing in March 2017, a Republican Senator asked me to make a commitment. He said: ‘You’re going to be in charge of this [Russia] investigation. I want you to look me in the eye and tell me that you’ll do it right, that you’ll take it to its conclusion and you’ll report [your results] to the American people,'” Rosenstein said, after telling the audience that he had “served under five Presidents and nine Senate-confirmed Attorneys General — ten, if you count Bill Barr twice.”

He explained that “some critical decisions” about the Russia investigation had already predated him as he proceeded to reveal the role of former Obama administration officials.

“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. The FBI disclosed classified evidence about the investigation to ranking legislators and their staffers,” Rosenstein recounted.

“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,” he continued.

“So that happened,” he joked.

While many would have expected Rosenstein to unload on President Trump, who often took shots at the deputy attorney general throughout the investigation process, but the targets of his criticism may have been surprising for some, even though he did not name names.

His reference to Trump at one point, in which he did use his name, was actually a positive comment quoting the president on the rule of law.

Rosenstein also took aim at “mercenary critics” who made financial gains by expressing “passionate opinions about any topic, often with little or no information. They do not just express disagreement. They launch ad hominem attacks unrestricted by truth or morality. They make threats, spread fake stories and even attack your relatives.”

He noted that he ran in to one of the “professional provocateurs” at a holiday party.

“He said, ‘I’m sorry that I’m making your life miserable.’ And I said, ‘You do your job, and I’ll do mine,'” Rosenstein recalled.

“In our Department, we disregard the mercenary critics and focus on the things that matter,” he told the audience Thursday. “A republic that endures is not governed by the news cycle. Some of the nonsense that passes for breaking news today would not be worth the paper was printed on, if anybody bothered to print it. It quickly fades away. The principles are what abide.”

Rosenstein’s coming exit from his current office may not bode well for Democrats who, until now, expected – and looked forward to – what he would spill about the Trump administration. Based on Thursday’s preview, they may not want to hear what he has to say.

“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.’ I know the feeling,” he said in his speech.

The impact of Rosenstein’s comments sparked quick reaction on Twitter where Fox News Channel’s Brit Hume summed it all up with one word.

Frieda Powers

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