President Donald Trump’s young administration has so far been marred with infighting, factionalism and intelligence leaks, which is why it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein released a statement urging Americans to “exercise caution” and think twice “before accepting as true any stories attributed to anonymous ‘officials.’"
The press release created quite a buzz and left many people wondering what is going on at the Department of Justice now that Attorney General Jeff Sessions has recused himself from the ongoing Russian investigation.
“Americans should exercise caution before accepting as true any stories attributed to anonymous ‘officials,’ particularly when they do not identify the country — let alone the branch or agency of government — with which the alleged sources supposedly are affiliated,” read the statement. “Americans should be skeptical about anonymous allegations. The Department of Justice has a long-standing policy to neither confirm nor deny such allegations.”
Given that the statement came shortly after The Washington Post reported that special counsel Robert Mueller was now investigating Trump for possible obstruction of justice, prompting the president to send out a couple of raging tweets, many wondered if Rosenstein's statement was in fact dictated by the White House.
Between this bizarre statement—and equally bizarre explanation of Comey firing—hard to conclude Rosenstein's integrity isn't compromised. pic.twitter.com/W2rtMoLZ7b— Matt McDermott (@mattmfm) June 16, 2017
Americans should also exercise caution before accepting as true lies about firing of FBI Director & defamation of a war hero special counsel pic.twitter.com/KQUPpppcAI— Preet Bharara (@PreetBharara) June 16, 2017
Where is Rod Rosenstein's overdue statement responding to the President's repeated attacks on his appointment of Robert Mueller? pic.twitter.com/y7dwtWTQ4G— Preet Bharara (@PreetBharara) June 16, 2017
There were, of course, also speculations about what Rosenstein was referring to in his statement.
Was he talking about the leaks concerning Russian investigations or something that might go public in the near future?
Could it be an attempt to distract people from something important or an attempt to discredit and upcoming story?
Well, social media users — particularly journalists — had a lot to say about Justice Department’s cryptic message.
Rosenstein's statement clearly came from trump. Why, when this clown potus says "jump", does rod say "how high"? ??????????— steven pasquale (@StevePasquale) June 16, 2017
Hmmm, why would DAG Rosenstein's weird memo mention "country" affiliation? Is he suggesting Russian officials may be leaking information? https://t.co/TC0kl85ae5— Ted Lieu (@tedlieu) June 16, 2017
This statement by the DAG was clearly dictated from the WH. He should either quit, or recuse, if he's going to be their mouthpiece.— Ronald Klain (@RonaldKlain) June 16, 2017
If Rosenstein wanted to prompt questions about undue pressure without saying it outright, he chose an excellent way to do so.— Matt Ford (@fordm) June 16, 2017
Can't stop thinking about that Rosenstein statement. It's just so... weird.— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) June 16, 2017
I'm gonna guess Rosenstein got an angry phone call tonight. pic.twitter.com/5j7G2P4pY7— southpaw (@nycsouthpaw) June 16, 2017
I would put that Rosenstein statement more in the "giving Trump enough rope" bucket than in the "succumbing to pressure" bucket.— Matthew Yglesias (@mattyglesias) June 16, 2017
Rod Rosenstein is making me think something is going to be leaked soon.— Red T Raccoon (@RedTRaccoon) June 16, 2017
This has a preemptive feel to it. pic.twitter.com/aR0FJTI1vo
What an odd statement - that feels consistent with the White House's recent war on leaks pic.twitter.com/Ci1CZ3uE7I— Jonathan Lemire (@JonLemire) June 16, 2017
Pay close attention to that "identify the country" nugget in the statement. Lots of talk today that 5eyes about to release bad dirt on Trump— Susan Keckler (@SusanKeckler) June 16, 2017
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