Rod Rosenstein, the former deputy attorney general who once wrote a memo to support the firing of then-FBI Director James Comey, said Wednesday that he stands by his tenure as the No. 2 official at the Justice Department.
“In retrospect there are things that I might do differently,” he told The Washington Post in an interview, adding, “I think we got all the big issues right.”
He highlighted an overhaul of the Justice Department’s policy manual, the development of a new policy for corporate fraud enforcement, and the agency’s efforts to tackle opioid overdoses and violent crime, according to the Post.
Rosenstein’s career at the Justice Department spanned three administrations, starting with former President George W. Bush. But it wasn’t until his last two years on the job that he was thrust into the national spotlight.
During that period, Rosenstein wrote a memo that contributed to Comey’s firing, and he later appointed Robert Mueller as special counsel for the Russia investigation.
During Wednesday’s interview, Rosenstein said he did not regret writing the Comey memo.
“I would have written that memo if any president asked me about my opinion about Jim Comey, and as you know, my view was 100 percent vindicated by the lengthy and detailed inspector general investigation,” he said. “And my dispute with Mr. Comey was not personal. He violated some very important principles, and that’s consistent with what the inspector general found.”
The Justice Department’s Office of Inspector General published a report in August that found Comey had violated bureau policies and his employment agreement with his handling of official memos. The investigation concerned memos detailing Comey’s interactions and conversations with President Trump.
The Post said that Rosenstein, who left the Justice Department in May, declined to discuss some of the most controversial aspects of his time in the Trump administration, including allegations that Rosenstein suggested wearing a wire to record Trump.
He told the Post that although his relationship with the president had its “ups and downs,” he believes he “left on relatively good terms.”
His remarks came the same day he was named a partner at King & Spalding, a law and lobbying firm.