Rosenstein unloads on Comey, says he broke ‘bright lines that should never be crossed’

As reported by FoxNews

Rod Rosenstein unloaded on former FBI Director James Comey in remarks to the Greater Baltimore Committee (GBC) on Monday evening, slamming Comey’s turn as a “partisan pundit,” reiterating that he deserved to be fired, and faulting him for trampling “bright lines that should never be crossed.”

Rosenstein formally stepped aside as deputy attorney general two days ago. His speech specifically took aim at Comey’s comments earlier this month implying that Rosenstein and Attorney General Bill Barr lacked the “inner strength” to “resist the compromises necessary to survive Mr. Trump.”

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.

“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.”

Although Rosenstein emphasized that he “did not dislike” and even “admired” Comey in the past, he asserted that the former FBI head’s handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation in 2016 was a grievous and defining professional error.

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Former FBI director James Comey, seen here in June 2018, was the target of a blistering speech by Rod Rosenstein. (Justin Tang/The Canadian Press via AP, File)

“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.”

Comey later said he felt compelled to hold the dramatic July 2016 news conference — in which he said that “no reasonable prosecutor” would charge Clinton, even though he said she had been “extremely careless” in handling classified information — because then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch had compromised the DOJ’s appearance of impartiality by allowing Bill Clinton to meet her privately on an airport tarmac as the investigation was ongoing.

Rosenstein added: “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.”

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