In a move that stunned many members of the media, on Thursday night Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who is overseeing the Russia probe due to Jeff Sessions' recusal and who earlier this week confirmed only he has authority to fire Special Counsel Robert Mueller, released an unorthodox statement to be "skeptical about anonymous allegations" following the relentless barrage of news reports emerging from the WaPo and the NYT about the evolving probe into Russia's "election interference" and possible collusion with Trump, all based on "anonymous sources."
"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, who many had seen as a Trump foil at the DOJ, did not cite specific reports. The DOJ released Rosenstein's statement after 9 p.m., shortly after The Washington Post reported that the special counsel was investigating the business dealings of Jared Kushner, Mr. Trump's son-in-law and adviser. That report was attributed to unnamed American officials.
As we said, the media and punditry was "stunned" by the official statement: the NYT' Maggie Haberman said "Have literally never seen a statement like this." The new leader of the Trump "resistance", Preet Bharara also chimed in, tweeting "Americans should also exercise caution before accepting as true lies about firing of FBI Director & defamation of a war hero special counsel"