Rod Rosenstein’s advice to future lawyers
Rod Rosenstein began his post-Justice Department life Monday by talking principles and compromise and quoting Robert Mueller, the man he appointed as special counsel.
Delivering a commencement speech to the University of Baltimore School of Law, Mr. Rosenstein, newly retired from his post as deputy attorney general, urged graduates to find ways to stand up to pressure in tough circumstances.
“As Robert Mueller once said, ‘There [may] come a time when you will be tested. You may find yourself standing alone, against those you thought were trusted colleagues. You may stand to lose [all that] you have worked for. And [it may] not be an easy call,’” Mr. Rosenstein said in his prepared remarks.
Mr. Mueller is finishing two years as special counsel investigating President Trump and the 2016 election. He was named to the post by Mr. Rosenstein, who as deputy attorney general oversaw the investigation for most of its run, only giving way to new Attorney General William P. Barr earlier this year.
Mr. Rosenstein drew the ire of Republicans, including President Trump, for instigating the probe, and for comments he says were meant in jest, such as using the 25th Amendment to oust the president.
More recently, Democrats who’d cheered him for instigating the Mueller probe have blasted him for agreeing with Mr. Barr that there is no criminal conduct with which to charge the president.
Mr. Rosenstein summed up his time as the No. 2 at the Justice Department by recalling his days before taking office, when he assured his daughter his picture wouldn’t be in the paper because “nobody knows the deputy attorney general.”
“I was mistaken about that,” he said. “But I knew when I started that deputy attorney general is usually a controversial job. It is one of those jobs where you frequently need to make decisions that leave someone aggrieved. The median tenure is 16 months.”
Mr. Rosenstein lasted two years.