As he takes a job with a high-profile law firm, Maryland’s former longtime U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein isn’t looking to talk much about his time with the Trump administration. He’s turned down book offers, and avoids questions on the subject.
If he did write a book, Rosenstein told The Baltimore Sun Wednesday, “it would probably be a lot about Baltimore.”
The city remains on the former deputy U.S. attorney general’s mind, after 12 years leading federal law enforcement efforts that he said were key to the city experiencing fewer than 200 homicides in 2011. (There were 348 homicides in the city last year.) He remains in touch with protege Robert K. Hur, who succeeded him as U.S. attorney for Maryland.
“It’s important for everybody at the federal, state and local level to agree that reducing murders is a priority,” Rosenstein said. “I’m hopeful they’ll get back to where we were before ... but it’s going to take a long time.”
The law firm of King & Spalding announced that Rosenstein will join its special government investigations team, following about eight months he spent with his family after stepping down as deputy attorney general. Rosenstein said it was Maryland’s former Republican governor Robert Ehrlich who helped connect him to the new job after they had lunch in the summer.
Rosenstein’s tumultuous two-year tenure included writing a memo supporting the firing of FBI Director James Comey and overseeing special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.
Rosenstein has continued to weigh in on Baltimore’s crime rates and on issues of law enforcement. On Jan. 1, he tweeted: “When Baltimore City prosecutors and police worked with federal and state partners to send every violent repeat offender to prison in 2011, only 197 people were murdered. Now criminals murder 350 victims and shoot hundreds more every year. WHAT CHANGED?”
Rosenstein maintains other ties to the city — he was scheduled to speak to a city law club, the Serjeants’ Inn, Wednesday night.
Rosenstein noted that the number of federal prosecutors in Baltimore increased significantly when he was No. 2 at the Justice Department.
“That’s not because I was showing favoritism; we had additional resources and were able to allocate them based on population and crime rates and need,” he said.
He said Hur is “doing a superb job,” and suggested, without citing specific agencies, that other law enforcement partners are not on the same page.
“If people are not being caught and prosecuted locally, they need to find out why that is,” Rosenstein said. “We had a decade of sustained improvements in Baltimore. We had improvements in Prince George’s County [as well] — the PG County improvements have stuck; they have not fallen back. Baltimore is worse today than when I got there 15 years ago.”