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AT THIS HOUR
Continuing Coverage of House Judiciary Committee Hearing with Deputy Atty Gen. Rosenstein. Aired 11-11:30a ET
Aired December 13, 2017 - 11:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
REP. SHEILA JACKSON LEE, D-TEXAS: Let me briefly review for the record, the FBI and DOJ brought to justice and put away Timothy McVeigh, domestic terrorist who killed 168 Americans; Klansmen who murdered civil rights workers Goodman, Chaney and Schwerner; the Unabomber; terrorists who bomb U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania; organized crime family kingpins; the murderer who assassinated Medgar Evers; Pan Am 103 bombing; Soviet diplomat that had a spy ring during World War II; Aldrich (ph) Ames, Richard Hansen, Alger Hiss and others, for espionage; World Trade Center bombing in 1993; TWA 847 hijacking; Lindbergh kidnapping; Beltway snipers; Klansmen who killed four little girls in a 16th Street church in Birmingham.
And, of course, on the other hand, Russians are known for shooting down a civilian airline, KAL 007, killing 269 passengers and crew; annexing Crimea and invading Ukraine; killing journalists; propping up Assad, the Butcher of Damascus; building the Berlin Wall; imposing an Iron Curtain against freedom; and committing cyber theft and conspiring and doing a sabotage of the American presidential election in 2016.
Perhaps our friends on the other side of the aisle can show more respect for the FBI and the DOJ, as so many of us do, including myself. So let me ask these questions, and, with my limited time, I really need just a yes or no.
Are you in the business of helping to secure the elections in 2018 and making sure that there is an infrastructure in the DOJ to help states have secure elections? Yes or no?
JACKSON LEE: Special Counsel Mueller -- I'm reminded -- some of us would say we read it in the history books -- of the Saturday Night Massacre. I know you must be aware of it.
During the meeting of May 8th, 2017, with you, Sessions and President -- and the president, the day before Comey was fired, what did you discuss regarding the FBI investigation?
ROSENSTEIN: Congresswoman, as I explained previously, I'm not going to be discussing anything related to that until after the investigation.
JACKSON LEE: Thank you very much, Mr. Deputy Attorney General. Let me, then, go forward with the question of the protection of the
special prosecutor. Do you have in place a protection scheme or system that would void a potential Saturday Night Massacre?
Do you in fact have the authority to stand up against the president, who is putting out the right-wing media to taint the Mueller investigation? Will you protect Mr. Mueller, if he deserves the protection and has done nothing to violate his duties and responsibilities?
ROSENSTEIN: As I've explained, if he hasn't violated...
JACKSON LEE: Is that yes or no, Mr. Deputy Attorney General?
ROSENSTEIN: I won't take any action unless he's violated his duties.
JACKSON LEE: Let me show you these individuals here. It says that the Trump accusers want a day in court, or at least want to be heard. The president is the chief executive and law enforcement officer of the United States. Therefore, he is an officer of the United States.
What does the Department of Justice -- what intentions do you have to allow these women, who are accusing the president of sexual misconduct and have never been heard in terms of a public setting, as many of us on this committee -- women on this committee -- Democratic women on this committee have asked for this committee to hold a hearing with these women -- what does the Department of Justice intend to do, in light of the fact that the president is the chief law enforcement officer of the United States of America?
ROSENSTEIN: I don't think I have any position on that, Congresswoman. If there -- if they file a lawsuit, and they're free to do so, it wouldn't be a department matter.
JACKSON LEE: Would you not believe that it's important to give these women a forum to be heard? The Department of Justice, the FBI investigates -- I just gave a long litany of the great successes of the Department of Justice.
ROSENSTEIN: If there's anything that warrants federal investigation, Congresswoman, we'd certainly look at it.
JACKSON LEE: So can I refer these women -- can we refer these women to the Department of Justice? If they walked up to the Department of Justice, would there be an intake officer, an FBI officer that would take their complaints?
ROSENSTEIN: If somebody wants to file a complaint of a potential federal crime, yes, they can report that to the FBI, or they can write. Anybody can do that at any time, and...
JACKSON LEE: Then let me publicly say to these women, you have one option at this time. It is to go to the Department of Justice, as the Deputy Attorney General has just said to us, to be able to file a complaint. And I would encourage them to do that. I would also encourage this hearing, as well, to do -- this committee to have hearings.
Let me ask this last question regarding the whole question of commutation program and President Obama, and of course the memo by Attorney General Sessions that rescinds memos regarding the charging and sentencing policy, and also the use of private prisons -- that was by Eric Holder.
What is the position of the U.S. Department of Justice as relates to a fair and just commutation program? And also the issues dealing with over prosecution and the sentencing policy that was offered by Eric Holder, which was considered fair and just, and the use of private prisons -- have been known to be abusive to prisoners and do not allow FOIA requests to go forward.
What is your position on that?
GOODLATTE: The time of the gentlewoman has expired. The attorney -- deputy attorney general may answer the question.
JACKSON LEE: I thank you.
ROSENSTEIN: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
You've raised a number of issues, Congresswoman. I don't know that I have time to respond to them all. But I do just want to clarify, anybody is free to report to the Department of Justice when they believe a crime is committed.
It's not a complaint in the way that you might file a complaint in some local police departments. You're free to report any allegations, and the department will conduct appropriate review, as we do with any allegations of alleged criminal conduct. We initiate investigations, though, only if we determine there's proper predication under our policies.
JACKSON LEE: Well, I'm yielding -- I'm yielding back, Mr. Chairman. But he did not answer my questions. Thank you.
GOODLATTE: The time of the gentlewoman has already expired.
The chair recognizes the gentleman from California, Mr. Issa, for five minutes.
ISSA: Thank you, Mr. Deputy Attorney General.
If someone comes in to make that complaint or to file that information, they're going to have their identification checked for who they are, right, to get into the building?
ROSENSTEIN: I'm not certain -- if they were to -- admitted to the building, you actually can walk into most FBI offices, I think, without having to go through security.
ISSA: But you wouldn't consider it draconian if, while they're filing this complaint or allegation, their driver's license was looked at, would you?
ROSENSTEIN: Well, if we're going to conduct an investigation, we need to know who the witnesses are.
ISSA: Thank you. I just wanted to know that that wasn't draconian.
In the case of Mr. Strzok, the -- you know, there was an appearance of impropriety that people are observing. But you -- you'd said, "Well, there may not have been the reason."
But if it wasn't the appearance of impropriety, based on his numerous rather strident tweets -- or not tweets, but texts commenting adversely on the president, what was it?
ROSENSTEIN: If I said that, Congressman, it was inadvertent. The decision to remove Mr. Strzok off that case was made by Director Mueller, based upon the circumstances known to him.
It's important to understand, though, that -- those text messages were uncovered in the course of an inspector general investigation that is not complete. So we won't be able to make any determination about what, if any, discipline is required...
ISSA: Let me go to the inspector general, now. This is Michael Horowitz, right?
ISSA: Michael Horowitz has repeatedly complained that he cannot, in fact -- he does not have the authority to look for impropriety by lawyers, as to their conduct as lawyers, because the office of the -- OPF -- the OPR has that authority. That's still true, isn't it?
ROSENSTEIN : It's true, but he does have authority for certain types of misconduct by lawyers.
ISSA: OK. So we have a situation in which he can look at some of the misconduct, not others. So one of the pieces of misconduct he cannot look at would be the question of bias or the appearance of bias in their investigations, in how they're conducting it or -- and/or decisions. That is uniquely excluded to the inspector general in your Cabinet position, versus all other Cabinet positions, if I...
ROSENSTEIN: I'm not certain about that. And if I may, I'll -- I'll check and get back to you on that, but it would either...
ISSA: But he is excluded? ROSENSTEIN: ... it would either be OPR or the Inspector General. And, with regard to conflicts of interest, I believe certain of those are within the jurisdiction of the inspector general, but I'd have to verify.
ISSA: OK. Well, you can get back to me on that.
The -- you know, these political views that Mr. Chabot mentioned -- and they're pretty clear -- that these are people who had a strong preference -- but notwithstanding that, let's be very candid. Nobody up here is going to claim to be without their political bias.
So one of the reasons that, when there is a conflict of interest, people recuse themselves, and when there is a -- an appearance of impropriety, they're excused, and one of the reasons that we look to a special prosecutor and that you appointed a special prosecutor was to not only get past the politics on this dais, but to get past the appearance of any conflict by the Department of Justice. Is that fair to say?
ROSENSTEIN: To minimize any appearance, on either side, of bias. Correct.
ISSA: OK. But the -- a special prosecutor, under the remaining statute, how it's done, is still a group looking for wrongdoing. That is their charge is -- they're not looking for right-doing. They're looking for wrongdoing. That's fair to say -- like any prosecutor, you're not looking for innocence?
ROSENSTEIN : The way I would characterize it, Congressman, is that they're looking for the truth, and then they'll make a determination about whether or not it's appropriate to prosecute.
ISSA: OK. So my question to you is, if that's the case, if we accept that -- my assumption that they're looking to -- if they can, to hang the president or people around him -- hear me out for a moment -- then there really isn't a problem with having people that are dead-set on trying to find anything that will incriminate the administration in a Russian connection, which is somewhat their charge.
So I'll posture to you that maybe it's not that bad to have people who really dislike the president and would like to hang him. Having said that, when there's impropriety, such as Mr. Strzok; when there is, in fact, a history at the FBI of withholding information from Congress; when there is the appearance of impropriety by the Department of Justice; and when the inspector general is limited under the statute, both because he doesn't have full access and because certain portions are out of it, wouldn't you say that this is a classic example where, in order to investigate the FBI and the Department of Justice, a special prosecutor who is equally looking for the truth, if it exists adversely to the conduct of the FBI and the Department of Justice -- is within your charge and responsibility to see that happens?
GOODLATTE: The time of the gentleman has expired... ROSENSTEIN: You've built a number of assumptions...
ROSENSTEIN: ... you've built a number of assumptions...
GOODLATTE: ... Mr. Rosenstein may answer the question.
ROSENSTEIN: ... into your question, Congressman. And my simple answer to it would be that, if we believed there was a basis for an investigation or a special counsel, I can assure you that we would act.
ISSA: Well, Mr. Chairman, I would say that, since we've already had dismissals for wrongdoing, since there's ongoing internal investigations, the elements necessary to ask for a special prosecutor to in fact see what was done wrong already exist.
GOODLATTE: The time of the gentleman has expired.
The chair recognizes the gentleman from Tennessee, Mr. Cohen, for five minutes.
COHEN: Thank you -- thank you, Mr. Chair. First, I want to thank you for your service to the country and for accepting the difficult position under the difficult circumstances that you have.
Has President Trump ever communicated with you about removing Robert Mueller from his role of special counsel?
ROSENSTEIN: Congressman, I am not going to be discussing my communications with the president. But I can tell you that nobody has communicated to me a desire to remove Robert Mueller.
COHEN: You said you're not going to relate your conversations with President Trump. How many conversations have you had, since your appointment, with President Trump?
ROSENSTEIN: I'm the deputy attorney general, Congressman, and it's appropriate for me to talk with the president about law enforcement issues. And I don't believe that's an appropriate issue for discussion.
COHEN: When you chose Robert Mueller to be the special counsel, what were his characteristics, his history and the reasons for you to have chosen him for this important position?
ROSENSTEIN: I think it would be very difficult, Congressman, for anybody to find somebody better qualified for this job. Director Mueller has, throughout his lifetime, been a dedicated and respected and heroic public servant.
He, after college, volunteered to serve as a Marine in Vietnam, where he was wounded in combat. He attended law school and then devoted most of his career to serving as a federal prosecutor. With the exception of brief stints in private practice, he served as United States Attorney in two districts in Massachusetts and in Northern California.
He served in many other positions in the department after he lost his position as the head of the criminal division. When President Clinton was elected in 1992, Mr. Mueller briefly went into private practice, and then he went back at an entry-level position, as a homicide prosecutor trying to help with the violent crime problem in the District of Columbia, in the early 1990s.
He then rose once again through the ranks, and ultimately was confirmed, I believe unanimously, as FBI director, and protected this nation after 9/11. And then, when his tenure term expired, he was so well-respected that he -- his term was extended, I believe, also almost unanimously, for another two years.
So I believe that, based upon his reputation, his service, his patriotism, and his experience with the department and with the FBI -- I believe he was an ideal choice for this task.
COHEN: Thank you, sir. I agree with you. FBI Director Wray agrees with you. He said that -- similar thoughts. He said he was a smart lawyer, a dedicated public servant, well-respected within the FBI.
I think everybody on the other side of the aisle agreed with you, when you appointed him; and everybody in this Judiciary Committee and probably everybody in this Congress agreed with his appointment as FBI director, which was -- which was unanimous; his reappointment, which was unanimous, by Republican Bush and Democrat Obama.
Everybody respects that man in this country. He may be the most (ph)...
(UNKNOWN): I didn't. I don't.
COHEN: ... respected man in this -- obviously, that -- we knew that would be an exception.
But the fact is they didn't start to dislike him until he started to get -- think issues that affected the president that currently serves this country. And, because of that, they said the FBI was in tatters, that the FBI, the chief law enforcement -- top law-enforcement folks in this country, are questionable.
Some of their allies on television said they're like the KGB. They've questioned you. They've questioned the Justice Department. They've questioned some of the most loyal, dedicated, fearless people in our country who serve the rule of law, and I find it repugnant and awful.
Now, I wonder what you think about it, when you hear about the FBI, which works under you -- being suggested it's in tatters, and that there's something wrong with the FBI and that they are somehow like the KGB.
ROSENSTEIN: Congressman, as I know you're aware, I've expressed concern with certain aspects of certain things done by the FBI. But in general, throughout my experience working with FBI agents over the decades, I've found them to be an exceptional group of public servants; very loyal, faithful and dedicated, and I believe some of the finest people that I know are agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
COHEN: I thought about them, sir, When I watched the Army-Navy game, and I thought about them because I have the honor, as everybody up here has, of recommending some folks to be at West Point and at Annapolis. Those are the cream of the crop, and the people at the FBI are -- in law enforcement, there the cream of the crop. And Justice Department attorneys are, too.
It's not easy to get a job in Justice, no matter where you went to law school and what you did. You hire the best; you always have. I compliment you on that. I hope and know you will continue to hold the Department of Justice up as a pantheon of outstanding lawyers and jurists and take justice where it should go, as truth demands and justice dictates.
I yield back the balance of my time.
GOODLATTE: The chair recognizes the gentleman from Iowa, Mr. King, for five minutes.
KING: Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and thank you, Mr. Rosenstein, for your testimony here and your service.
A number of things I'm curious about here -- first of all, in the -- in the interview of Hillary Clinton that took place, reportedly, July 2nd of 2016, how many people were in the room for that? How many people had the opportunity to question her?
ROSENSTEIN: Congressman, I do not know the answer to that. I believe, when the inspector general completes his review, we may have additional information. But I personally do not know.
KING: And would you know who selected that team?
ROSENSTEIN: No, I do not.
KING: Really? OK.
I recall a testimony here by James Comey, and also by then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch, that testified -- one of the two of them -- that there were three representatives of the FBI and three representatives of DOJ in that room, doing that interview. Would that be consistent with practice that you would anticipate? Am I -- am I going to hear I.G. again?
ROSENSTEIN: Yeah, not -- typically we would have at least two agents conduct an interview. And there may be any number of attorneys, based upon who's on the case. I just don't know the details of that particular decision.
KING: OK. And the practice in a -- in an interview like that -- would there be records kept of that interview? ROSENSTEIN: Yes, if there are FBI agents present, typically, they would take notes and produce a report summarizing the interview.
KING: Would there be a video tape, audio tape or a transcript?
ROSENSTEIN: Generally, no.
KING: And why not?
ROSENSTEIN: Well, it's just not -- it's not is not the practice to do it.
KING: It needs to become the practice. And the practice out across the countryside, many of our local law enforcement, is that, if you're a county deputy and you interview somebody for drunk driving, you tape that interview. And we have sheriffs out there that will say, if they don't do that, that's cause for discipline.
Now, we're sitting here with a mystery on what went on in that interview of July 2nd, and there's many questions that have been asked about that, before and after, and they will -- they will trickle through history until we get to the bottom of it.
We don't know yet it who was in the room -- at least you can't tell me who was in the room. Do you have any knowledge that Peter Strzok might have been one of those people?
ROSENSTEIN: I do not, no.
KING: It has been reported in the news that he was one of those people. Are you aware of that?
ROSENSTEIN: I've read a lot of news reports. I may have seen that in the news, but I personally do not know.
KING: I see. And, when I look through a -- just a timeline here, just quickly, to drop this into the record, May -- April, May of 2016, Peter Strzok interviews Huma Abedin and Cheryl Mills, who -- Cheryl Mills, who happened to be in the room with Hillary Clinton and her general counsel and her chief of staff, and a subject of the investigation.
Then, on May 2nd, Comey e-mails FBI officials a draft statement, a couple of months before his recommendation not to prosecute Hillary Clinton. And, in that chain, Peter Strzok's name shows up.
It's been reported that he's the one that swapped out the references from "gross negligence" to extremely -- carelessness. I don't know if that's true. Do you have any knowledge about that?
ROSENSTEIN: No, but I would point out, Congressman, that it's the Inspector General review that has turned up this information.
KING: I thought that was going to be the answer. And then, also, skipping forward to July 24th, FBI interviews Michael Flynn on Russia. It's reported in the news that Peter Strzok is in that interview. No knowledge to disagree with the reports that are in the news, however (ph)?
KING: And then we get the news, later on, that sometime in mid- summer, Peter Strzok had been removed from Mueller's investigative team, but we find out December 4th that that took place, publicly. I kind of understand that. If that had drifted into the -- into the jet stream, perhaps we wouldn't be in the middle of this controversy.
But what about -- if his hands are in so many things -- and I've not touched them all, by any means. But if he has his hands in this many things, what about the fruit of the poisonous tree? It's -- this is the reverse of this. These are the -- this is the voids of the fruit of the poisonous tree.
And I'm looking at what was reported this morning. I just took a picture the television set on my iPhone, just so that we all know what I'm talking about here -- a quote from August 6, 2016, text, Lisa Page to Peter Strzok, and they're talking about President Trump. "And maybe you're meant" -- she's speaking to Peter Strzok, her lover, I hear -- "and maybe you're meant to stay where you are because you are meant to protect the country from that menace."
And Peter Strzok's response is, "Thanks. It's absolutely true that we're both very fortunate. And, of course, I'll try and approach it that way. I just don't know; it will be -- it will be tough at times. I can protect our country at many levels. Not sure if that helps." Does that sound like a declaration that he would use his job to leverage his work against the president of the United States?
ROSENSTEIN: Congressman, the Inspector General's investigation includes interviews of numerous witnesses, and I anticipate, hopefully in the near future, we'll have a report with the Inspector General's conclusions.
KING: Would you have any opinion on the lack of the fruit from the poisonous tree that might've been erased by Peter Strzok?
ROSENSTEIN: Well, as a legal matter, Congressman, I can tell you that, if evidence is tainted, then that would raise a concern for me. But, typically, our cases would be prosecuted based upon witnesses and documents, not upon the agent, unless the agent personally were a witness in the case. But that would certainly concern us, if there were any tainted evidence in the case.
KING: Thank you, Mr. Rosenstein, I appreciate it and I yield back.
GOODLATTE: The chair recognizes the gentleman from Georgia, Mr. Johnson for five minutes.
H. JOHNSON: Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and thank you for your service to the country Mr. Rosenstein. Based on the language in your special counsel order, or your order appointing special counsel, does the special counsel have the authority to investigate any individual who may have obstructed the investigation that FBI Director Comey confirmed on March 20 of this year, which was the Russian interference with the 2016 elections?
ROSENSTEIN: Special counsel does have authority to investigate any obstruction related to his jurisdiction.
H. JOHNSON: Does this authority to investigate possible obstruction include investigating President Trump?
ROSENSTEIN: I hope you won't take an inference one or the other, congressman, but as I've explained, that's simply something we do not do. We do not discuss who may or may not be under investigation.
H. JOHNSON: Well, I'm not asking you whether or not the president is under investigation, I'm just simply asking whether or not your order appointing the special counsel authorizes the special counsel to investigate the president?
ROSENSTEIN: It authorizes him to investigate that anybody who there is predication to believe obstructed justice.
H. JOHNSON: And that includes the president, correct?
ROSENSTEIN: It'll include anybody who is suspected of obstructing justice.
H. JOHNSON: All right. Does -- do you think that it's appropriate for the president to comment publicly on any pending investigation?
ROSENSTEIN: Congressman, the decision about whether people in political positions comment on investigations, is not mine. My responsibilities to ensure that our investigations are not impacted improperly by any opinion whether, be a member Congress or else.
H. JOHNSON: Well, it would not be appropriate for you to comment about the any pending investigation, isn't that correct?
H. JOHNSON: And the president is the chief law enforcement officer. He considers himself in the country. It would be inappropriate for him then to comment on a pending investigation would it not?
ROSENSTEIN: Congressman, I believe over the years there have been presidents who have made comments about investigations and it's simply not my responsibility to make that decision.
H. JOHNSON: Well, do you think it's appropriate for the president to publicly call for the investigation of specific individuals.
ROSENSTEIN: I'm simply on that, congressman, other than to tell you, it's my responsibility, along with the attorney general to make sure that those decisions are made independently by the department based upon the facts and law.
H. JOHNSON: Has the president ever contacted you to urge action in any pending investigation? ROSENSTEIN: Congressman, I have not received any improper orders and I'm not to be talking about particular communications I may have with -- which appropriate communications with the White House.
H. JOHNSON: What would be your legal basis for refusing to answer the question whether or not the president has contacted you to urge any action in any pending investigation? What would be your legal basis for refusing to answer that question?
ROSENSTEIN: Congressman, this is not a partisan issue. I had worked on an investigation where the previous president encouraged the department to do an expeditious investigation and so the question for me is, are we are or are we not appropriately making an independent determination, regardless of who comments on it.
H. JOHNSON: My question -- I respect your question -- but my question is has the president ever contacted you to urge action in any pending investigation?
Yes or no?
ROSENSTEIN: I have nothing further to say about it, congressman.
H. JOHNSON: So you're going to refused to answer a question from a member of Congress seeking to do oversight?
ROSENSTEIN: No, I've told you, congressman that I have not received any improper orders and I'm simply not going to talk about communications -- I think in every administration, the senior law enforcement officers have to be able to communicate with the president and his officials about appropriate matters within their responsibility and not comment on it. So you shouldn't draw any inference, it's simply -- it's simply not appropriate for me to talk about communications I may have with the administration.
H. JOHNSON: So it would...
ROSENSTEIN: I would tell you if something happened that was -- that was wrong -- if somebody heard me do something that was improper, but that has not happened.
H. JOHNSON: Well, it would be improper for the -- for the president to ever contact you about initiating an investigation of someone, would it not?
ROSENSTEIN: We've discussed this previously, congressman. The presidents have commented publicly and...
H. JOHNSON: No, no, no, my question is, it would be improper for president to contact you about initiating an investigation of someone. It would be improper, wouldn't it?
ROSENSTEIN: It would be improper for the president order me to conduct an investigation that wasn't justified.
H. JOHNSON: It would be improper for the president to ask you to initiate an investigation, would it not
ROSENSTEIN: If it were for improper reasons, yes.
H. JOHNSON: And so is it your testimony today that the president has not asked you to investigate someone specifically?
ROSENSTEIN: Congressman, I understand what you're getting at, but as I said, I was in the last administration in the president of the last administration commented on matters...
H. JOHNSON: You're being very -- you're being very artful in...
ROSENSTEIN: No I'm not.
H. JOHNSON: ...jumping around and evading answering my question, and -- and so you're not going to answer it...
ROSENSTEIN: I'm not evading.
H. JOHNSON: That's unfortunate. Are you afraid of President Trump firing you?
ROSENSTEIN: No I am not, congressman.
H. JOHNSON: With that, I will yield back.
GOODLATTE: The chair recognizes the gentleman from Texas, Mr. Gohmert for five minutes.
GOHMERT: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Thanks for being here, Mr. Rosenstein.
ROSENSTEIN: Thank you.
GOHMERT: Did you ever tell Special Counsel Robert Mueller that in essence, everything you do must not only be just and fair, but must also appear beyond reproach? Anything like that?
ROSENSTEIN: In essence, yes.
GOHMERT: Yes. Well, since Attorney General Sessions recused himself, you are effectively the boss of the special counsel and staff, correct?
ROSENSTEIN: It is correct that I am effectively the boss.
GOHMERT: Well, we all know that FBI Director James Comey was fired. We know of your letter. We know your public statements. Here's a question; to your knowledge, who first proposed the idea of firing James Comey as FBI director?
ROSENSTEIN: Congressman, I'm not going to comment on that. The president has explained that he made the decision and I'm not going to comment beyond that.
GOHMERT: At the time you wrote the letter suggesting a firing, did you believe what you put in that = letter?
ROSENSTEIN: Yes I did.
GOHMERT: All right. if an FBI employee goes into a meeting and as part of his job, in furtherance of his job, someone else in the government and he comes out and he makes a memo memorializing the meeting, perhaps in the future -- past memory refreshed, is that memo DOJ property?
ROSENSTEIN: Generally congressman, I would think that it would be. It might depend on what's in the memo, what the subject matter is. But generally the answer would yes.
GOHMERT: Well an FBI employment agreement -- yes, employment agreement, there's a statement that says that -- and this is the person agreeing to work for the FBI -- all information acquired by me in connection my official duties with the FBI and all the official material which I've accessed remain the property United States of America.
I will not reveal by any means, any information material from or related to the FBI files or any other information acquired by virtue of my official employment.