Rod Rosenstein: Anonymous sources conflict with the man himself

Rod Rosenstein: Anonymous sources conflict with the man himself


Last Wednesday, a day after President Donald Trump fired FBI Director James Comey, the Washington Post published a detailed account of what led to the firing.

"Inside Trump’s anger and impatience — and his sudden decision to fire Comey," read the headline.

For four paragraphs, the authors -- Philip Rucker, Ashley Parker, Sari Horwitz and Robert Costa, described an agitated and infuriated Trump, who was trying desperately to avoid the worst subject to him: Russia.

In the fourth paragraph, an anonymous source was mentioned. Trump was ready to fire the "sanctimonious" Comey. (Isn't that too big a word for Trump to use?)

"Trump summoned the two of them [Attorney General Jeff Sessions and newly appointed Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein] to the White House for a meeting, according to a person close to the White House," stated the article.

The president gave the two Justice Department officials a directive, said the article: to explain in writing the case against Comey.

"The pair quickly fulfilled the boss’s orders, and the next day Trump fired Comey — a breathtaking move that thrust a White House already accustomed to chaos into a new level of tumult, one that has legal as well as political consequences," the four repoters wrote.

The next paragraph was stated with certainty.

"Rosenstein threatened to resign after the narrative emerging from the White House on Tuesday evening cast him as a prime mover of the decision to fire Comey and that the president acted only on his recommendation, said the person close to the White House, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter."

Once again, the Washington Post was using anonymous sources as the bulwark of their narratives about the President and the inner workings of the White House.

In fact, the idea that Rosenstein was a "patsy" was widely circulated and ridiculed by many media.

The only problem was, Rosenstein himself -- the person at the center of this detailed narrative -- has denied that he tried to quit and stated that he is very happy with his job, at the same time he stated that he was not concerned about his reputation.

View the article on Rosenstein's denial on www.cnbc.com.

Here is the source of the cnbc article from Sinclair Broadcasting, along with the video of reporter Michelle Macaluso asking him if the allegations were true.

Rosenstein gave a speech at a law enforcement awards dinner in Baltimore in which he said that he told a friend: "There is no place I would rather be,"  according to an article by CNN.

"Many people have offered me unsolicited advice over the past few days about what I should do to promote my personal reputation," Rosenstein was quoted in The Baltimore Sun as telling "about 1,000 people gathered for the Greater Baltimore Committee's annual dinner meeting at a downtown hotel."

He continued: "I took an oath to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States. There is nothing in that oath about my reputation. If you ask me, one of the main problems in Washington, D.C., is everybody is so busy running around trying to protect their reputation instead of protecting the republic, which is what they're supposed to be doing."

The Sun article reported that Rosenstein declined to comment on the recent allegations that President Trump had shared classified information with the Russian foreign minister and ambassador, or that Trump had stated that no special prosecutor was needed.

When he began his remarks, he said, "It's nice to be in Baltimore and it's really nice not to be in Washington, D.C." for a few hours.

Read the article and watch the video of his speech here.

Wednesday night update: Rod Rosenstein has appointed a special prosecutor to investigate Russian meddling in the 2016 election, choosing former FBI Director Robert Mueller. See Buzzfeed's story on the move.

The news came as a surprise to most in the media and government, even the President and attorney general, according to an anonymous source quoted in the Los Angeles Times.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions had recused himself in March from any investigations pertaining to the 2016 election.

In fact, CNN just reported last week based on an anonymous source that Rosenstein would not be appointing a special prosecutor.

"Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein doesn't see a need at this point for a special prosecutor in the probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 election, people familiar with his thinking tell CNN," wrote Evan Perez and Manu Raju.

Perhaps the fast-moving developments of this week, namely the anonymous report that Trump revealed classified information to the Russian foreign minister, served to change his mind. But that idea would be speculation. Still, relying solely on anonymous sources as the basis for a headline that is shared by most established media outlets is perhaps not the wisest idea.

For the record, this was President Trump's statement on the appointment:

“As I have stated many times, a thorough investigation will confirm what we already know – there was no collusion between my campaign and any foreign entity. I look forward to this matter concluding quickly. In the meantime, I will never stop fighting for the people and the issues that matter most to the future of our country.”

As many expected, the president also tweeted about the matter the next morning, prompting many corporate media to call him "angry" and the tweets a "freak out" or characterizing the tweets as Donald Trump "lashes out."

This story was updated 10:15 pm Friday May 19, 2017.

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