Rosenstein was involved in the firing of FBI Director James Comey
He is a newly confirmed deputy attorney general
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein suggested Monday night that he’s not all that concerned about his reputation amid the scandal surrounding the firing of FBI Director James Comey.
“When I took the oath to preserve, protect and defend the constitution of the United States, there is nothing in that oath about my reputation,” he said at an awards dinner in Baltimore.
Rosenstein made brief remarks as he accepted an award, presented by a local business group, for demonstrating courage in public service during his time as US Attorney in Maryland.
After keeping a relatively low profile for decades, Rosenstein has drawn widespread scrutiny during his brief tenure as deputy attorney general, after White House officials and President Donald Trump himself used a memo written by Rosenstein to defend Comey’s dismissal.
In the days following Comey’s firing, Rosenstein expressed frustration at how the White House handled the issue, including how they used his reputation as cover for how it was done, sources familiar with the matter told CNN.
On Monday, Rosenstein told attendees at the dinner that he has received “unsolicited advice” from many people, especially on what he should do to preserve his reputation.
“If you ask me, one of the main problems in Washington, DC, is that everybody is so busy running around trying to protect their reputation instead of protecting the public which is what they’re supposed to be doing,” he said.
’There is no place I would rather be’
The newly-confirmed deputy general has been on the job for less than a month, after leaving his job as US Attorney in Maryland. He has been gradually moving up the ranks of the Justice Department for the past 27 years.
Last week, Rosenstein denied that he threatened to quit after Comey’s firing. He also said he is not planning to resign.
At Monday’s dinner, Rosenstein said that a friend had texted him, “You need to get out of there.”
“I said ‘there is no place I would rather be.’”
CNN’s Andrea Gonzales contributed to this report.