Deputy U.S. Attorney General Rod Rosenstein spoke in Philadelphia last night, delivering an address that focused on the rule of law. He did not directly address the political microscope he finds himself under in Washington.
Since the recusal of his boss, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Rosenstein has overseen special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of whether there are links between the Russian government and Donald Trump’s campaign. He’s taken plenty of political punches in the process.
Several Republicans, including, most recently, South Carolina U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, have suggested Rosenstein recuse himself from the investigation because of his role in the firing of former FBI director James Comey.
Rosenstein spoke in parables about the importance of the law, citing one historical example when Founding Father John Adams contravened the political winds and his own convictions to represent British soldiers.
“Years later, Adams wrote that his decision ‘procured me anxiety, and obloquy. It was, however, one of the most gallant, generous, manly, and disinterested actions of my whole life, and one of the best pieces of service I ever rendered my country,'” Rosenstein said
He also mentioned Abraham Lincoln, Ben Franklin, and Attorney General Robert Jackson, in each case citing their reverence for the rule of law. He mentioned the phrase “rule of law” 17 times in his roughly 20-minute speech.
Though most of his speech focused on the past, he did briefly mention President Donald Trump.
“The rule of law endures,” Rosenstein said. “When President Trump spoke about American values last summer, he said that we treasure the rule of law.”
Rosenstein, who grew up in the Philadelphia suburbs, spoke at the annual dinner for the Associated Alumni of Central High School. Central, located in North Philadelphia, is the alma mater of Rosenstein’s father, Robert Rosenstein.