Here is Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein’s resignation letter to Trump today — he’ll officially leave on May 11.
“We keep the faith, we follow the rules, and we always put America first.” pic.twitter.com/4DrfQcNFjq
— Zoe Tillman (@ZoeTillman) April 29, 2019
Courtesy of Politico:
Rosenstein didn’t mention Mueller in his resignation letter, which was addressed to Trump. But he referenced the Justice Department’s work in combating foreign interference over the last two years, writing that “our elections are more secure, and our citizens are better informed about covert foreign influence efforts and schemes to commit fraud, steal intellectual property, and launch cyber-attacks.”
Rosenstein’s tenure was marked by broadsides against him by the president and congressional Republicans, who questioned his role in overseeing the Mueller investigation and criticized him for what they saw as stonewalling documents requests.
Just a few months ago, Trump attacked Rosenstein as “totally conflicted” and retweeted an altered image that depicted the deputy attorney general behind bars, suggesting he should be jailed for treason. He also wrote that Rosenstein appeared to be “planning a very illegal act” with the deputy FBI director, Andrew McCabe, in the early days of his administration, when the pair reportedly discussed ways to remove him from office. Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), chairman of the House Freedom Caucus, went so far as to file articles of impeachment against Rosenstein last summer.
Despite the attacks, Rosenstein told Trump in his resignation letter that he was “grateful to you for the opportunity to serve; for the courtesy and humor you often display in our personal conversations; and for the goals you set in your inaugural address: patriotism, unity, safety, education and prosperity.”
I have to admit that when I first heard about this letter I thought it might be another “official” letter that Trump had dictated and made the individual sign, as he has done numerous times in the past.
However having read this letter I don’t think that is the case, mostly because it does not read as if it was initially jotted down in crayon.
I am a little concerned that Rosenstein mentioned “personal conversations” that he had with Trump, which seem a little out of place considering the investigation that Rosenstein has been overseeing these last two years.
However, it should be noted that Rosenstein took pains to push back a little on Trump’s uber partisan approach to government:
Facing “corrosive skepticism and cynicism concerning the administration of justice” in 1975, Edward Levi urged us to “make clear by word and deed that our law is not an instrument of partisan purpose used in ways which are careless of the higher values within us all.” In 2001, John Ashcroft called for “a professional Justice Department free from politics uncompromisingly fair…defined by integrity and dedicated to upholding the rule of law.”
However, the question remains, did Rod Rosenstein stand as a bulwark against Trump’s attempts to undermine or sabotage the Mueller investigation, or did he compromise himself in order to save his job?
At this point, the argument could be made either way.
Personally, I am hoping that the Democratically controlled Congress has plans to question him about that very thing.