Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein came to Chicago on Thursday to address the nation’s leading organization of lawyers, but made no mention of the firestorm he is facing in Washington as he stressed the importance of being governed by laws not “by the whim of any person.”
Rosenstein made only thinly veiled references to the political situation in Washington during the keynote speech about the rule, or supremacy, of the law at the American Bar Association’s annual conference.
“The goal is to be governed by the law — by a system of clear rules and neutral processes — not by the whim of any person,” Rosenstein said.
“The Department of Justice, in which I serve, must never be a partisan actor. In all cases, agents and prosecutors are obligated to make neutral decisions, preserve personal privacy, protect national security, and insulate investigations from political interference.”
The topic of the speech was an interesting one in light of tweets from President Donald Trump attacking Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who recused himself from the investigation into Russian interference in the presidential election, leading to Rosenstein’s appointment of former FBI Director Robert Mueller to handle the probe as special counsel.
That investigation focuses in part on whether or not members of Trump’s presidential campaign, including the president, colluded with the Russian government.
Trump has fired off tweets blasting the “Robert Mueller Rigged Witch Hunt,” and calling on Sessions to “stop this Rigged Witch Hunt right now, before it continues to stain our country any further. Bob Mueller is totally conflicted.”
And Rosenstein, who oversees Mueller’s investigation, has found himself in the cross hairs.
A group of 11 conservative House Republicans led by a Trump loyalist have filed articles of impeachment against Rosenstein, contending he has not been forthcoming in providing lawmakers with documents relating to the probe. But they have conceded they most likely don’t have the votes to proceed with the impeachment.
On Thursday, Rosenstein said his boss, Sessions, has emphasized that “we do ‘not represent any narrow interest or any subset of the American people. We represent all of the American people and protect the integrity of our Constitution,’” regardless of any backlash they may face for doing their jobs.
“Our decisions do not please all the people all the time, in case you haven’t noticed,” Rosenstein said with a laugh. “But they reflect the care, caution and wisdom required by the law. That is what the President appointed us to do. It is what the Senate confirmed us to do. It is what the oath of office obligates us to do.”
Rosenstein also took three pre-selected questions from Hilarie Bass, president of the American Bar Association, on countries meddling in American elections, the administration’s prosecutorial discretion as it relates to their zero tolerance immigration policy and the use of safe injection sites which some say could help with the opioid crisis, a stance he doesn’t support because of potential consequences, he said.
In terms of cyber warfare and election meddling, Rosenstein said it was a “significant threat,” but “informing people is an important form of deterrence.”
On the administration’s zero tolerance policy, Rosenstein said there has been a 200 percent increase year over year in the number of people crossing the country’s southern border, prompting the department’s controversial “zero tolerance” policy.
“The broader challenge we face is that large numbers of people are blatantly violating immigration laws,” Rosenstein said. “This is a very generous country — most of us are descendants of immigrants and we accept immigrants from many places for many reasons — but we have rules, we have laws …”
Russian Collusion with the Trump Campaign, one of the most successful in history, is a TOTAL HOAX. The Democrats paid for the phony and discredited Dossier which was, along with Comey, McCabe, Strzok and his lover, the lovely Lisa Page, used to begin the Witch Hunt. Disgraceful!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 1, 2018
Paul Manafort worked for Ronald Reagan, Bob Dole and many other highly prominent and respected political leaders. He worked for me for a very short time. Why didn’t government tell me that he was under investigation. These old charges have nothing to do with Collusion - a Hoax!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 1, 2018
..This is a terrible situation and Attorney General Jeff Sessions should stop this Rigged Witch Hunt right now, before it continues to stain our country any further. Bob Mueller is totally conflicted, and his 17 Angry Democrats that are doing his dirty work are a disgrace to USA!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 1, 2018
.....remain in the FBI while he himself was being investigated. This is a real issue. It won’t go into a Mueller Report because Mueller is going to protect these guys. Mueller has an interest in creating the illusion of objectivity around his investigation.” ALAN DERSHOWITZ....— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 1, 2018
Collusion is not a crime, but that doesn’t matter because there was No Collusion (except by Crooked Hillary and the Democrats)!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 31, 2018
....Also, why is Mueller only appointing Angry Dems, some of whom have worked for Crooked Hillary, others, including himself, have worked for Obama....And why isn’t Mueller looking at all of the criminal activity & real Russian Collusion on the Democrats side-Podesta, Dossier?— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 29, 2018
Is Robert Mueller ever going to release his conflicts of interest with respect to President Trump, including the fact that we had a very nasty & contentious business relationship, I turned him down to head the FBI (one day before appointment as S.C.) & Comey is his close friend..— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 29, 2018
There is No Collusion! The Robert Mueller Rigged Witch Hunt, headed now by 17 (increased from 13, including an Obama White House lawyer) Angry Democrats, was started by a fraudulent Dossier, paid for by Crooked Hillary and the DNC. Therefore, the Witch Hunt is an illegal Scam!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 29, 2018