Rosenstein did not explain why he issued the statement
Trump has furiously railed against leaks coming out of his administration
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein issued a statement Thursday night warning Americans not to “accept as true” stories based on “anonymous officials.”
“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. Americans should be skeptical about anonymous allegations. The Department of Justice has a long-established policy to neither confirm nor deny such allegations,” Rosenstein’s full statement read.
Rosenstein did not explain why he issued the statement. But it was released shortly after The Washington Post reported – citing unnamed US officials familiar with the matter – that the business dealings of President Donald Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, are being investigated by Justice Department special counsel Robert Mueller, who has been investigating Russian meddling in the 2016 election and the Trump administration’s potential ties to Russia.
The interest in Kushner’s activities by the special counsel’s office is no more extensive than the FBI’s interest in his multiple roles on both the Trump campaign and transition team, which CNN reported last month.
A Justice Department official – who declined to speak on the record – told CNN that the White House didn’t order Rosenstein’s statement. The same official said Rosenstein was upset about disparaging stories that may deter people from working in government.
The official added that Rosenstein was troubled by attacks on Mueller that he saw as unfair.
In response to the statement, former US Attorney Preet Bharara, whom Trump fired in March, tweeted early Friday morning that “Americans should also exercise caution before accepting as true lies about firing of FBI director & defamation of a war hero special counsel,” references to criticisms Trump has levied against Mueller and James Comey.
Trump has furiously railed against leaks coming out of his administration and the intelligence community since he took office. When The Washington Post reported this week that Mueller was investigating Trump for obstruction of justice, a spokesman for the President’s private attorney called the leak “outrageous, inexcusable and illegal.”
Meanwhile, the President himself continues to attack the ongoing investigations into Russian meddling.
“After 7 months of investigations & committee hearings about my “collusion with the Russians,” nobody has been able to show any proof. Sad!” Trump tweeted Friday morning.
CNN’s Laura Jarrett contributed to this report.