At my confirmation hearing in March 2017, a Republican Senator asked me to make a commitment. He said: “You’re going to be in charge of this [Russia] investigation. I want you to look me in the eye and tell me that you’ll do it right, that you’ll take it to its conclusion and you’ll report [your results] to the American people.”
I did pledge to do it right and take it to the appropriate conclusion. I did not promise to report all results to the public, because grand jury investigations are ex parte proceedings. It is not our job to render conclusive factual findings. We just decide whether it is appropriate to file criminal charges.
Some critical decisions about the Russia investigation were made before I got there. The previous Administration chose not to publicize the full story about Russian computer hackers and social media trolls, and how they relate to a broader strategy to undermine America. The FBI disclosed classified evidence about the investigation to ranking legislators and their staffers. Someone selectively leaked details to the news media. The FBI Director announced at a congressional hearing that there was a counterintelligence investigation that might result in criminal charges. Then the former FBI Director alleged that the President pressured him to close the investigation, and the President denied that the conversation occurred.
So that happened.
It sounds to me like Rosenstein is offering a justification for the Team Mueller mess of the last two years, suggesting that he had no alternative than to act as he did, take the course of action that he did. That he really meant to do the right thing all along, but, well, stuff happens.
While I don't buy those excuses for a moment, it's about what you'd expect at this point from a guy who finds himself more or less in the same boat with the FBI and Team Mueller after a 2-3 year deep dive into all things Trump has come up absolutely empty--and a new sheriff is in town and promising a real investigation. Hey, it wasn't me! It was that guy Comey that I trusted! How was I to know that Mueller would run totally amok with Hillary partisans as his sidekicks? How was I to rein it in once it got started? Sure I pledged to do it right, but, but, ... I didn't count on this amount of SHTF!
I just hope his cooperation will be worth any deal that he gets.