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- Former deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein shared a Justice Department letter stressing the importance of adhering to “established policies and procedures,” in an apparent rebuke of former FBI director James Comey, following a recent report concluding that Comey had violated protocol.
- On Thursday, the Justice Department’s inspector general released a report finding Comey had violated departmental policies by sharing copies of memos on his conversations with President Donald Trump, after he left the FBI.
- Rosenstein, who resigned from the Justice Department in May, tweeted a link on Thursday to a 2018 Justice Department letter saying, “It is important … to follow established policies and procedures.”
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Former deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein shared a year-old Justice Department letter stressing the importance of adhering to “established policies and procedures,” in an apparent rebuke of former FBI director James Comey, following a recent report concluding that Comey had violated protocol.
On Thursday, the Justice Department’s inspector general released an 83-page report that said Comey violated departmental policies by sharing copies of memos on his conversations with President Donald Trump after he left the FBI. Comey shared one of the unclassified memos with a friend, Columbia University law professor Daniel Richman, who leaked it to The New York Times.
The Justice Department’s watchdog concluded Comey had violated DOJ and FBI policies, but declined to criminally prosecute the former director.
“Department policy states that employees may not, without agency permission, remove records from the Department – either during or after employment,” the inspector general’s report said. “The FBI policies are no different.”
“What was not permitted was the unauthorized disclosure of sensitive investigative information, obtained during the course of FBI employment, in order to achieve a personally desired outcome,” the report added.
Rosenstein, who resigned from the Justice Department in May, tweeted a link on Thursday to a 2018 Justice Department letter he wrote to Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, who was the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee at the time.
Rosenstein highlighted a passage of his letter which reads:
“It is important … to follow established policies and procedures, especially when the stakes are high … We should be most on guard when we believe that our own uncomfortable … circumstances justify ignoring … principles respected by our predecessors.”
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Following his tweet, former federal prosecutor and CNN legal analyst Renato Mariotti criticized Rosenstein and alleged he was complicit after Attorney General William Barr left out crucial details from a summary of the former special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.
“It’s even more important for a president not to corruptly use his power to try to quash investigations of him and his friends,” Mariotti said on Twitter, referring to allegations that Trump had attempted to obstruct Mueller’s investigation. Mueller ultimately declined to charge Trump with obstruction of justice, though he told Congress he hadn’t exonerated the president either.
“You speak up about Comey failing to ‘follow established policies and procedures’ but stood silently beside Barr when he misled the public about Trump,” Mariotti added, in an apparent reference to the criticism of Barr’s handling of the summary of Mueller’s report.
Rosenstein replied to Mariotti by calling him a “pundit” who “completely misses the point and thereby illustrates it.”
Rosenstein replied in another tweet: “Many employees dislike supervisors, but most keep faith with government institutions.”
Comey, who said his rationale for the memos were to spur the DOJ to appoint a special counsel, reacted to the inspector general’s report by reiterating it “found no evidence that Comey or his attorneys released any of the classified information contained in any of the memos to members of the media.”
“I don’t need a public apology from those who defamed me, but a quick message with a ‘sorry we lied about you’ would be nice,” Comey said on Twitter.