Ex-prosecutor: Rosenstein looked like a 'hostage' during Barr press conference

Former federal prosecutor Gene Rossi criticized Attorney General William BarrWilliam Pelham BarrGOP signals unease with Barr's gun plan NRA says Trump administration memo a 'non-starter' Sinema touts bipartisan record as Arizona Democrats plan censure vote MORE's Thursday press conference on the release of special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerLewandowski says Mueller report was 'very clear' in proving 'there was no obstruction,' despite having 'never' read it Fox's Cavuto roasts Trump over criticism of network Mueller report fades from political conversation MORE's Russia investigation report, saying Justice Department officials came off looking bad.

"The optics of that press conference were horrible," Rossi told Hill.TV's Buck Sexton and Krystal Ball. 

"First off, [Deputy Attorney General] Rod RosensteinRod RosensteinLewandowski says Mueller report was 'very clear' in proving 'there was no obstruction,' despite having 'never' read it Nadler's House committee holds a faux hearing in search of a false crime House Democrats seeking Sessions's testimony in impeachment probe MORE looked like he was a hostage for God's sakes. Did you see his eyes? And who was the other guy?" he continued. 

Barr held a press conference prior to the release of the redacted Mueller report, in which he was flanked by Rosenstein and acting principal Associate Deputy Attorney General Ed O’Callaghan. 

Rossi drew attention to the absence of Mueller from the press conference. 

"I saw those two people behind Barr, I'm thinking to myself, where's Robert Mueller?" 

Peter Carr, a spokesperson for the special counsel's office, had said on Wednesday that no one from its prosecution team would be present at the press conference. 

Carr did not specify why Mueller or his team were not attending. 

Barr submitted Mueller's long-anticipated report to Congress on Thursday, also making the redacted version available to the public. In the report, Mueller details the findings of his 22-month investigation, saying there was no evidence of collusion between Trump's campaign and Russian election meddling in 2016. Mueller also declined to take a position on whether Trump obstructed justice with the probe.

The report is redacted to hide grand jury material, classified information, details about ongoing investigations and information that could implicate the privacy of “peripheral” third parties.

— Julia Manchester