(LAW & CRIME) The Department of Justice (DOJ) on Friday submitted court documents revealing that former U.S. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein was the Trump administration official who authorized the public release of hundreds of text messages between former Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agent Peter Strzok and former FBI lawyer Lisa Page.
In a witness declaration accompanying the DOJ’s motion to dismiss Strzok’s unlawful termination lawsuit, Rosenstein said he made the decision after providing the messages to Congress in order to protect Strzok, Page, and the Justice Department from the damage that would be caused if the messages were instead leaked to the media over a long period of time.
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“The Department’s Office of Public Affairs (OPA) subsequently recommended providing the text messages to the media because otherwise, some congressional members and staff were expected to release them intermittently before, during and after the hearing, exacerbating the adverse publicity for Mr. Strzok, Ms. Page and the Department,” Rosenstein wrote. “Providing the most egregious messages in one package would avoid the additional harm of prolonged selective disclosures and minimize the appearance of the Department concealing information that was embarrassing to the FBI.”