Rosenstein docs also show ‘off the record’ leaks to 60 Minutes, The New York Times and The Washington Post around and on the date of Mueller’s appointment.
Judicial Watch released 145 pages of Rod Rosenstein’s communications that include a one-line email from Rosenstein to Robert Mueller stating, “The boss and his staff do not know about our discussions” and “off the record” emails with major media outlets around the date of Mueller’s appointment.
Judicial Watch filed the lawsuit after the DOJ failed to respond to a September 21, 2018, Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of Justice (No. 1:19-cv-00481)). Judicial Watch seeks:
Any and all e-mails, text messages, or other records of communication addressed to or received by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein between May 8, 2017, and May 22, 2017.
The time period referred to in this suit is critical. On May 8, 2017, Rosenstein wrote a memo to President Donald Trump recommending that FBI Director James Comey be fired. The next day, President Trump fired Comey. Just three days later, on May 12, Rosenstein sent an email assuring Mueller that “The boss and his staff do not know about our discussions.”
In a May 16, 2017 email, sent the day before Mueller’s appointment, Rosenstein emailed former Bush administration Deputy Attorney General and current Kirkland & Ellis Partner, Mark Filip stating, “I am with Mueller. He shares my views. Duty Calls. Sometimes the moment chooses us.”
And on May 17 Rosenstein appointed former Mueller to investigate Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.
Also, during the same time period, between May 8 and May 17, Rosenstein met with then-acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe and other senior Justice Department FBI officials to discuss wearing a wire and invoking the 25th Amendment to remove President Trump.
The documents also show that, again during the same time period, Rosenstein was in direct communication with reporters from 60 Minutes, The New York Times and The Washington Post. In an email exchange dated May 2017, Rosenstein communicated with New York Times reporter Rebecca Ruiz to provide background for this article about himself. Ruiz emailed Rosenstein a draft of the article, and he responded with off-the-record comments and clarifications.
- In an email exchange on May 17, 2017, the day of Mueller’s appointment, Rosenstein exchanged emails with 60 Minutes producer Katherine Davis in which he answered off-the-record questions about Mueller’s scope of authority and chain of command:
Rosenstein: “Off the record: This special counsel is a DOJ employee. His status is similar to a US Attorney.”
Davis: “Good call on Mueller. Although I obviously thought you’d be great at leading the investigation too.”
- On May 17, 2017, in an email exchange with Washington Post journalist Sari Horwitz and the subject line “Special Counsel” Rosenstein and Horwitz exchanged:
Rosenstein: “At some point, I owe you a long story. But this is not the right time for me to talk to anybody.”
Horwitz: “Now, I see why you couldn’t talk today! Obviously, we’re writing a big story about this. Is there any chance I could talk to you on background about your decision?”
“These astonishing emails further confirm the corruption behind Rosenstein’s appointment of Robert Mueller,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “The emails also show a shockingly cozy relationship between Mr. Rosenstein and anti-Trump media reporters.”
On September 11, Judicial Watch released 14 pages of records from the Department of Justice showing officials’ efforts in responding to media inquiries about DOJ/FBI talks allegedly invoking the 25th Amendment to “remove” President Trump from office and Rosenstein offering to wear a “wire” to record his conversations with the president.
On September 23, Judicial Watch released a two-page memo, dated May 16, 2017, by McCabe detailing how Rosenstein proposed wearing a wire into the Oval Office “to collect additional evidence on the president’s true intentions.” McCabe writes that Rosenstein said he thought it was possible because “he was not searched when he entered the White House.”