Fox News’ Martha MacCallum aired an interesting interview with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein this week in which the Rosenstein reaffirmed something that I have previously said: the memos leaked by James Comey were FBI documents and their release violated FBI rules and regulations. The media has largely ignored indications that some of the memos were indeed classified and that Comey broke FBI rules by leaking material to his friend (with the intent of his giving the information to the media). Rosenstein however did not address one glaring issue of his own: his own conflict of interest in continuing to oversee the Special Counsel investigation while being an obvious and important witness in that investigation.
“As a general proposition, you have to understand the Department of Justice. We take confidentiality seriously, so when we have memoranda about our ongoing matters, we have an obligation to keep that confidential.”
When asked about releasing the memos in light of those rules, Rosenstein stated “As a general position, I think it is quite clear. It’s what we were taught, all of us as prosecutors and agents.”
That is a pretty damning statements against Comey who did not have to leak the memos in order to have them considered by investigators, as I have previously discussed
One matter that was not discussed was Rosenstein’s much delayed recusal. I believe that Rosenstein has a glaring and troubling conflict given his interactions with Trump before and after the termination of Comey. I am frankly flabbergasted by Rosenstein’s refusal thus far to recuse himself. Presumably the Justice Department Ethics Office said that this conflict is both clear or pressing. If not, the office is a paper tiger. Rosenstein is showing a willful blindness to his conflict. At some point, further delay will look less like sheer stubbornness and more like arrogance in refusing to acknowledge his curious positions as both a potential focus and ultimate authority in this investigation.
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