Conservative writer blasts outgoing Rosenstein as ‘cowardly’ and ‘weak’ in blistering column: 'He's no Mueller'
On Monday, Deputy U.S. Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein announced his resignation, effective Saturday, May 11. Conservative Washington Post writer Jennifer Rubin, one of President Donald Trump’s most persistent critics on the right, looks back on Rosenstein’s months in the U.S. Justice Department in an April 30 column—and her assessment is not favorable. Rosenstein, Rubin laments, is “no Mueller.”
The Mueller she’s referring to is, of course, Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who completed his Russia investigation in March. Rubin says of Rosenstein, “No one in the saga of the Mueller report has gone through so many shifts in public perception or gone through such wild swings in his professional reputation.”
Rosenstein, Rubin recalls, was once “the darling of Democrats, seeming to hold back the tide against interference” in Mueller’s investigation. But she adds that “informed legal observers had their suspicions about him from the start. How did he get roped into writing a memo that served as the phony excuse for firing then-FBI Director James B. Comey? Why didn’t he recuse himself once it became apparent he was witness to a key event in a possible obstruction of justice case?”
Rubin goes on to write that “a mortal blow to Rosenstein’s reputation among legal observers, former Justice officials and Democrats” came after Mueller gave Attorney General William Barr the final report for his Russia investigation and Barr wrote a letter to Congress summarizing Mueller’s findings—a letter Rubin describes as “grossly misleading.” Unlike Comey, Rubin writes, Rosenstein “crossed every ethical line” when he was “groveling for his job” and feared “he’d be fired by tweet.”
For her column, Rubin interviewed former federal prosecutor Mimi Rocah—who is often featured as a legal analyst on MSNBC. And Rocah also takes a dim view of Rosenstein’s time as deputy attorney general, telling Rubin, “Rosenstein talks a lot about the rule of law in very eloquent ways. But his recent actions—signing on to Barr’s letter, which misrepresented the Mueller report and gave a legally indefensible and unnecessary conclusion, standing behind Barr at a press conference that was more like a defense closing argument—directly threaten the rule of law because he no longer looks like someone leading the DOJ in neutral ways.”
Rubin closes her column by stressing that “history is not likely to treat Rosenstein well. He was weak when strength was required, cowardly when courage was called for. He’s no Mueller.”