Outgoing Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein spent his Thursday soaking up accolades during his retirement ceremony at the Department of Justice. But not everyone had such kind things to say for the man who essentially shepherded Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s two year investigation to its final, labyrinthine conclusion.
Speaking at a CNN town hall with Anderson Cooper that evening, former FBI Director James Comey—whose firing President Donald Trump claims was predicated on advice from Rosenstein himself—described Rosenstein as a “person of accomplishment” who nevertheless was not a person of “strong character,” which in high-level cop-talk I guess means a real sack of crap.
Comey continued, painting Rosenstein as a weak-willed sycophant who justified his increasing kowtowing to Trump’s authoritarianism as some vein attempt at heroic self-preservation.
[People like Rosenstein] start telling themselves a story to justify their being trapped which is “yeah he’s awful but the country needs me”—Republicans are doing this in Congress—“Yeah it’s awful but if I speak I’ll get defeated and this nation needs me here right now” and so they start to make little compromises to stay on the team: Echo [Trump’s] words. Use the term spying. Talk about collusion, or just be silent, thinking “that’s what I need to do to survive” and in the process, [Trump] has eaten their soul.
Damn, Rod, I don’t think he likes you very much.
Comey, whose last-minute decision to re-open the investigation into Hillary Clinton may very well have handed Trump the presidency, has filled the time since his firing with milquetoast tweets, annoying platitudes about the power of free speech, and gripes about his former DOJ peers. And while Rod Rosenstein has yet to respond publicly to Comey’s swipe, the fact that he’s now a private citizen means it might only be a matter of time before he sets up a Twitter account dedicated to some post-retirement whining of his own.