WEST PALM BEACH — Deputy U.S. Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, the man overseeing Special Counsel Robert Mueller‘s investigation of possible collusion between Russia and President Donald Trump‘s 2016 campaign, has been tight-lipped about the case in his public appearances.
“In your testimony in front of the House Judiciary Committee, you declined to discuss the specifics of the Mueller investigation,” Forum Club of the Palm Beaches President Tony Pirozzi reminded Rosenstein in the preface to a question.
Rosenstein cut him off.
“That’s because I was waiting for this opportunity,” Rosenstein said.
He was joking, and the crowd of about 950 at the Palm Beach County Convention Center laughed.
While scrupulously avoiding the Mueller probe, Rosenstein did talk about the rule of law, the separation of powers and the federal posture toward marijuana legalization during the lunch.
Rosenstein attended an event focused on human trafficking on Thursday in Miami. He told the Forum Club that the headline afterward was “Rosenstein visits Miami … and does not talk about Russia.”
Then, he added: “They will be able to write the same headline today in Palm Beach.”
Some highlights of Rosenstein’s remarks:
• “I have seen stories speculating that I may be sued, fired, or held in contempt — and that was just the last 24 hours.”
• “Our Constitution establishes a government based on the principle that the law must be enforced fairly, and applied evenly to all persons…When you follow the rule of law, it does not mean that you will always be happy about the outcome. To the contrary, you know for sure that you are following the rule of law when you are not always happy with the outcome. ”
• “At the Department of Justice, we must always pursue justice. And justice must be based on truth. Truth is about credible evidence, not strong opinions.”
• “People who seek the truth must remain open to the possibility that it may not match their preconceptions. Fair-minded investigators must never reach a conclusion first and then ignore contradictory facts.”
• “Lots of people are allowed to talk to reporters about federal investigations. Witnesses are allowed to talk to reporters. Suspects are allowed to talk to reporters. Private lawyers are allowed to talk to reporters. And all of those people have friends and relatives who are allowed to talk to reporters. One of the consequences is that the people who talk to reporters usually do not know all of the relevant facts, so the stories frequently are wrong in either stark or subtle ways.”