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‘Shaken’ Rosenstein Felt Used by White House in Comey Firing


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Join date : 2012-12-21

 ‘Shaken’ Rosenstein Felt Used by White House in Comey Firing Empty ‘Shaken’ Rosenstein Felt Used by White House in Comey Firing

Post by rocky on Sat 30 Jun 2018, 12:49 pm

‘Shaken’ Rosenstein Felt Used by White House in Comey Firing

Image ‘Shaken’ Rosenstein Felt Used by White House in Comey Firing Merlin_139587330_200c7b1c-288d-4764-ac32-40ded760ff55-articleLarge
Rod J. Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general, publicly expressed confidence about the firing of James B. Comey, the F.B.I. director, but privately appeared conflicted about his role in the dismissal and the tumult it unleashed.CreditZach Gibson for The New York Times
By [size=10]Michael S. Schmidt  and Adam Goldman

  • June 29, 2018

    • [url= Rosenstein Felt Used by White House in Comey firing&][/url]

    • [url= Rosenstein Felt Used by White House in Comey Firing][/url]

[size=13]WASHINGTON — In the days after the F.B.I. director James B. Comey was fired last year, the deputy attorney general, Rod J. Rosenstein, repeatedly expressed anger about how the White House used him to rationalize the firing, saying the experience damaged his reputation, according to four people familiar with his outbursts.
In public, Mr. Rosenstein has shown no hint that he had second thoughts about his role — writing a memo about Mr. Comey’s performance that the White House used to justify firing him. “I wrote it. I believe it. I stand by it,” Mr. Rosenstein said to Congress last year.
But in meetings with law enforcement officials in the chaotic days immediately after [size=13]Mr. Comey’s dismissal , and in subsequent conversations with colleagues and friends, Mr. Rosenstein appeared conflicted, according to the four people.

He alternately defended his involvement, expressed remorse at the tumult it unleashed, said the White House had manipulated him, fumed how the news media had portrayed the events and said the full story would vindicate him, said the people, who in recent weeks described the previously undisclosed episodes.[/size]
[size=13]According to one person with whom he spoke shortly after Mr. Comey’s firing, Mr. Rosenstein was “shaken,” “unsteady” and “overwhelmed.”
Another person in touch with Mr. Rosenstein around that time said he sounded “frantic, nervous, upset and emotionally dis-regulated.” In one of these conversations, with the acting F.B.I. director at the time, Andrew G. McCabe, Mr. Rosenstein became visibly upset.

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Mr. Rosenstein’s meetings show his mind-set at one of the most critical points in Mr. Trump’s administration — the eight days between when Mr. Comey was fired and Mr. Rosenstein appointed Robert S. Mueller III as special counsel . In that stretch, Mr. Rosenstein went from a supporting actor in the dismissal of Mr. Comey to the official overseeing the investigation in which the firing was a focus.
His public and private views demonstrate the dueling forces pulling at Mr. Rosenstein in the special counsel’s investigation of the president and his associates.
Mr. Rosenstein is both the ultimate supervisor of that case — and will determine what information is eventually provided to Congress — and a key participant in the matter being investigated. Mr. Trump’s lawyers also regard him as one of the essential witnesses for the president’s defense because Mr. Rosenstein, they say, wanted to get rid of Mr. Comey.[/size]


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[size=13]Yet even the president’s critics are loath to call for Mr. Rosenstein’s recusal, fearing that Mr. Trump will seize on that opportunity to install a political ally in his place.

Image ‘Shaken’ Rosenstein Felt Used by White House in Comey Firing Merlin_139107054_a2b6df1c-2979-4ba2-90f8-56c4aae770e3-articleLarge
[size=10]In the days after the F.B.I. director James B. Comey was fired last year, the deputy attorney general, Rod J. Rosenstein, repeatedly expressed anger about how the White House used him to rationalize the firing.[size=8]CreditJustin Tang/The Canadian Press, via Associated Press[/size][/size]
[size=13]A spokeswoman for the Justice Department, Sarah Isgur Flores, disputed the accounts of Mr. Rosenstein’s behavior. If he was angry in the days after Mr. Comey was fired, she said, it was because Mr. McCabe concealed from him the existence of memos by Mr. Comey about his interactions with Mr. Trump. Detailing the president’s requests for loyalty and to end the investigation into Michael T. Flynn, then his national security adviser, the memos were recounted in articles in The New York Times around that time.
“To be clear, he was upset not because knowledge of the existence of the memos would have changed the D.A.G.’s decision regarding Mr. Comey, but that Mr. McCabe chose not to tell him about their existence until only hours before someone shared them with The New York Times,” Ms. Flores said.
A person close to Mr. McCabe disputed Ms. Flores’s account, saying Mr. Rosenstein did not bring up the memos with him. Their discussion came at the conclusion of a larger meeting of law enforcement officials, and Mr. McCabe recounted it to colleagues. He also documented some of his interactions with Mr. Rosenstein in contemporaneous memos that have been handed over to the special counsel, according to two people briefed on the matter.
In the months since, Mr. Rosenstein has reached out to people — including in late-night texts — to discuss how his reputation has fared and his frustrations with the White House and members of Congress who have targeted him, according to people who spoke to him.
A graduate of Harvard Law School, Mr. Rosenstein joined the Justice Department in 1990. A Republican, he was nominated in 2005 by President George W. Bush to be United States attorney in Maryland and was the longest-serving United States attorney until Mr. Trump appointed him deputy attorney general last year.

[size=13]He was in the job only two weeks — [size=13]photographs of his swearing-in ceremony  show a smiling Mr. Rosenstein alongside his family — when the president fired Mr. Comey, thrusting Mr. Rosenstein’s crucial role in the Russia investigation into the spotlight. He was overseeing the inquiry because Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself amid growing scrutiny over his meetings with Russians during the campaign, citing his role as a top Trump supporter during the election.
Mr. Rosenstein’s conversations last spring offer new insights into the tumultuous week that followed Mr. Comey’s firing.
In a series of meetings at the Justice Department, senior F.B.I. officials argued for Mr. Rosenstein to appoint a special counsel to run the Russia investigation and investigate Mr. Comey’s firing, according to people briefed on the matter. Some of Mr. Rosenstein’s own allies turned on him , accusing him of sullying his reputation by allowing himself to be used by the president.
Even before he enlisted Mr. Rosenstein to write the justification, Mr. Trump had already decided to fire Mr. Comey. Mr. Trump had grown frustrated that Mr. Comey refused to say publicly that, in the investigation of the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia, the president himself was not under scrutiny. Mr. Trump wrote a rambling firing letter, but White House officials urged him not to send it. Instead, they turned to Mr. Rosenstein.
His resulting memo, however, focused on Mr. Comey’s handling of the 2016 investigation of Hillary Clinton. Mr. Rosenstein faulted him for holding a rare and unusually candid news conference to discuss that case and then, days before Election Day, publicly announcing over the objection of the Justice Department that the investigation had been reopened.
Those views of Mr. Comey were widely held by veteran prosecutors in both parties, and were echoed in a report this month by the Justice Department’s inspector general, which labeled Mr. Comey “insubordinate.” Mr. Rosenstein’s memo was nevertheless peculiar: Mr. Trump has long argued that Mr. Comey was too soft on Mrs. Clinton, but the memo and subsequent White House statements suggested that Mr. Comey was fired for actions that hurt her candidacy.[/size]
[size=13]Mr. Trump’s intent is a key to whether he was trying to obstruct justice. The president has only muddied that question.

 ‘Shaken’ Rosenstein Felt Used by White House in Comey Firing Merlin_135547098_d335cbea-d835-4d2b-b81e-d56adb0fda12-superJumbo

[size=10]On the afternoon that the appointment of Robert S. Mueller III as special counsel was announced, Attorney General Jeff Sessions was in the Oval Office with the president discussing candidates for F.B.I. director.[size=8]CreditJ. Scott Applewhite/Associated Press[/size][/size]
[size=13]Shortly after the firing, Mr. Trump told senior Russian officials in the Oval Office that the dismissal relieved “great pressure” on him. And his lawyer, Rudolph W. Giuliani, has said Mr. Comey was fired for refusing to publicly exonerate Mr. Trump.
Mr. Rosenstein did not engage with Mr. Sessions as he deliberated whether to appoint a special counsel.
On the afternoon that Mr. Mueller’s appointment was announced, Mr. Sessions was in the Oval Office with the president discussing candidates to be F.B.I. director when they both learned that Mr. Rosenstein had made his decision. Mr. Trump erupted in anger, saying he needed someone overseeing the investigation who would be loyal to him. Mr. Sessions offered to resign.
Mr. Sessions felt blindsided by Mr. Rosenstein’s decision. After leaving the White House, Mr. Sessions’s chief of staff, Jody Hunt, confronted Mr. Rosenstein, demanding to know why he had not given them advance warning, according to a lawyer briefed on the exchange. Mr. Rosenstein has told others that he was worried at the time he would be fired by the president.
Andrew C. White, a former federal prosecutor who worked with Mr. Rosenstein and remains close to him, said he believed Mr. Rosenstein “had every right to be furious.”
“The White House put Greyhound tire tracks on his back,” Mr. White said. “They threw him under the bus.”

Mr. White said that Mr. Rosenstein has never worried about his reputation and was only concerned about the Justice Department.
More recently, Mr. Rosenstein has emerged as one of the chief interlocutors for House Republicans seeking sensitive information about the open investigation. Citing their oversight authority, Republicans close to Mr. Trump have peppered the department with increasingly bold demands and congressional subpoenas; when the Justice Department or F.B.I. has balked, Republicans have threatened Mr. Rosenstein’s job and, in some cases, called for him to step down.
In a hearing on Thursday, Mr. Rosenstein angrily pushed back on House members who questioned his integrity. “You should believe me because I’m telling the truth and I’m under oath,” he said.
Democrats say Republicans are merely picking fights to give the president cause or cover to fire Mr. Rosenstein and replace him with someone who will undercut the Russia investigation.
This month, Mr. Rosenstein hinted at his inner turmoil during a speech in Philadelphia, quoting the city’s favorite fictional son, Rocky: “It ain’t about how hard you hit,” he said . “It’s about how hard you can get hit, and keep moving forward.”
He added, “That advice applies in boxing, in law and in life.”

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