Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein cited Eric Holder, who served as attorney general under former President Barack Obama, in the letter he sent Tuesday to Attorney General Jeff Sessions in which he recommended firing then-FBI Director James Comey.
Rosenstein's letter, which Sessions referenced when he recommended that President Trump fire Comey, criticized the former FBI director's handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation.
"I cannot defend the director's handling of the conclusion of the investigation of Secretary Clinton's emails, and I do not understand his refusal to accept the nearly universal judgment that he was mistaken," Rosenstein's memo stated.
Rosenstein cited multiple former Justice Department heads from both Republican and Democratic administrations, including Holder, who made critical comments about Comey's conduct during the email probe.
In his letter, Rosenstein quoted Holder criticizing Comey's actions for negatively affecting "public trust" in the Justice Department and the FBI, CNS News noted.
"Eric Holder ... said that the director's decision 'was incorrect,'" Rosenstein wrote, referencing Comey's actions as the Clinton email probe was conducted. "'It violated long-standing Justice Department policies and traditions. And it ran counter to guidance that I put in place four years ago laying out the proper way to conduct investigations during an election season.'"
"Holder concluded that the director 'broke with these fundamental principles' and 'negatively affected public trust in both the Justice Department and the FBI,'" Rosenstein added.
Democrats were critical of Comey's handling of the Clinton email investigation even though she was not prosecuted. The FBI launched the probe to determine whether Clinton mishandled classified material over her private email server while serving as secretary of state.