In a speech before the Greater Baltimore Committee on Monday, retired Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein hit back at former FBI Director James Comey, criticizing him as a “partisan pundit” who should perhaps keep his mouth shut when it came to speculating on the “character” of those who stayed to serve in the Trump administration. Rosenstein, whose memo on Comey led to the FBI Director being fired, maintained to the audience that Pious Jim got exactly what he had coming to him.
In a speech that followed a CNN town hall where Comey said that Rosenstein did not possess the “inner strength” to resist having his soul eaten by President Trump, Rosenstein said that the former FBI director was out of his depth.
“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 said that Comey had badly mishandled the Hillary Clinton investigation in 2016.
“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.
“Those actions were not within the range of reasonable decisions,” he continued. “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 didn’t go there, but for our money, Comey’s public missteps regarding the Clinton investigation were the least of his errors. Far more egregious was the fact that he was well on his way to clearing Clinton before the FBI had even interviewed her. Also unacceptable was the fact that he recommended no charges despite her having broken both the letter and the spirit of the law. But even those two colossal mistakes pale in comparison to his oversight of the Trump/Russia probe. For that, there is no excuse.
But we certainly agree with Rosenstein on one thing: If there’s anyone less qualified to speak on the subject of “character” than Jim Comey, their name isn’t coming immediately to mind. Alas, they say the best defense is a good offense. And something tells us that when the DOJ Inspector General’s report lands, Comey is going to need one damn good defense.