“I just fired the head of the F.B.I”. He was insane, a real nut job… In the Oval Office weeks later, Comey told associates, the president asked him to shut down an investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn.
Senate and House committees have both reached out to Mr. Comey asking him to testify on his interactions with Mr. Trump, but he has thus far not agreed to brief lawmakers. And that the reason behind Comey’s dismissal was how irritated Trump had become over … the Russian Federation investigation.
The developments were a blow to White House efforts to tamp down interest in the Russian Federation investigation as Trump and his staff boarded Air Force One for Saudi Arabia, first stop on his first foreign trip as president.
Separately, The Washington Post reported Friday that the FBI investigation into possible coordination between Russian Federation and the Trump presidential campaign was moving closer to the White House.
The Times reports that White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer did not dispute the version of events. Whether it was Sean Spicer, Sarah Sanders, Hope Hicks, or Mike Pence, Trump surrogates rushed out to say that, yes, Donald Trump really was firing James Comey over his treatment of Hillary Clinton during the email investigation and – notably – that the firing had “nothing to do with the Russian Federation investigation”.
In closed-door meetings with lawmakers on Thursday and Friday, Rosenstein said he wrote the memo after Trump told him one day before the May 9 firing that he wanted to dismiss Comey. “Once again, the real story is that our national security has been undermined by the leaking of private and highly classified conversations”.
“That’s taken off. I’m not under investigation”, the president said in his May 10 meeting with the Russian foreign minister and ambassador. “In 2005, when Mr. Comey was deputy attorney general, he participated in selecting me to serve as a USA attorney”.
House of Representative members described Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein’s briefing as “very guarded” and “frustratingly cautious”, deferring many answers to being under the purview of the recently-appointed special counsel, Robert Mueller.
He said he learned on May 8 that Trump meant to remove Comey and “sought my advice and input”.
Trump has cited Rosenstein’s memo on Comey as contributing to his decision to fire him, while Democrats have criticized Rosenstein for agreeing to write it.
“I still have a lot of questions about the motivation and timeframe” of the writing of the Comey memo, said Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ) after the briefing. “It renewed my confidence that we should have no confidence in this Administration”.
However, he also stressed that his memo should not be considered a “a legal brief”, “a finding of official misconduct”, “a statement of reasons to justify a for-cause termination”, “a survey of Federal Bureau of Investigation morale or performance”, nor “a press release”.
“Rosenstein testimony to Senate was profoundly disturbing”, Sen.
“I chose the issues to include in my memorandum”, he said, adding it was reviewed by a senior career attorney.