Tags: deputy attorney general rod rosenstein | president donald trump | rep. jim jordan | robert mueller

Rosenstein Growing 'Steel in the Spine' as Criticism Grows

Rosenstein Growing 'Steel in the Spine' as Criticism Grows
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein (Getty Images)

By    |   Saturday, 07 July 2018 03:55 PM

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who has faced criticism from President Donald Trump and on down since he appointed former FBI Director Robert Mueller to investigate Russian activities during the 2016 election, appears to be fighting back, Washington insiders are saying.

"I don't know if it's comfort, but I think at some point he made a decision that he would stay within the ethical bounds that he's in, but he wouldn't be a punching bag," James Trusty, a former Justice Department official and Rosenstein friend, told The Washington Post. "You see a little steel in the spine every now and then, where he's just decided, 'I'm going to keep doing it my way.' "

Trump has threatened to fire Rosenstein, who appointed Mueller to oversee the investigation after Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself, notes the Post, and conservative congressional Republicans have talked about impeaching him over documents he hasn't turned over.

Rosenstein declined comment to the newspaper, but there have been some visible signs that the quiet attorney is becoming more tough.

For example, during a hearing last week at the House Judiciary Committee, Rosenstein and Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, squared off after the lawmaker questioned the deputy attorney general's credibility.

Jordan, after telling Rosenstein his questions were not "personal," then asked him, "Well, now, who are we supposed to believe? Staff members who we've worked with, who have never misled us? Or you guys, who we've caught hiding information from us, who tell a witness not to answer our questions?"

Rosenstein drew laughs when he retorted, "Thank you for making clear it's not personal, Mr. Jordan."

After that, the House passed a resolution to call on the Department of Justice to comply with document requests by Friday. When Friday rolled around, DOJ officials reported they believed they'd "substantially complied" and any other materials would be finished "expeditiously."

Trusty said his friend doesn't overreact to threats, and even though Trump and congressional allies have threatened to remove Rosenstein, that hasn't happened yet. However, the DOJ and the FBI have assigned more people to process document requests.

Rosenstein has said the DOJ can't open all its files to Congress, and suggested that his opponents should understand that his department "is not going to be extorted."

Georgetown law professor Paul Butler worked with Rosenstein at the DOJ in the past, and told the Post colleagues often likened Rosenstein to "Opie," referring to the small boy on 60s TV's "Andy Griffith Show" because of his boyish face.

However, Butler said Rosenstein is much more shrewd than some may believe, and that "there is a line with him that you can't cross."

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Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who has faced criticism from President Donald Trump and on down since he appointed former FBI Director Robert Mueller to investigate Russian activities during the 2016 election, appears to be fighting back, Washington insiders are...
deputy attorney general rod rosenstein, president donald trump, rep. jim jordan, robert mueller
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2018-55-07
Saturday, 07 July 2018 03:55 PM
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