Senators: Deputy AG Rosenstein knew of Comey firing before memo

Posted May 19, 2017

In subsequent days, however, Trump acknowledged he'd chose to fire Comey even before he read Rosenstein's memo. Claire McCaskill said that Rosenstein, who has come under scrutiny for being perceived as the inspiration for Trump firing Comey, told the senators that Trump was planning on terminating Comey before the deputy attorney general wrote his letter of recommendation.

The President himself said in an interview with NBC that he planned to fire Comey regardless of any recommendation.

President Donald Trump gestures as he gives the commencement address at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy in New London, Conn., Wednesday, May 17, 2017.

Rosenstein's highly-anticipated appearance came after a week of major developments that flowed from the Comey firing.

A former FBI chief was tasked Wednesday with leading a beefed-up investigation into whether Donald Trump's team colluded with Russian Federation to tilt the 2016 election in the president's favour.

McCaskill, and Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., later added to the intrigue when they disclosed that, in a private meeting with senators, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who appointed Mueller, told them Trump was determined to fire Federal Bureau of Investigation director James Comey before Rosenstein wrote a memo critical of Comey.

At the White House, Trump conceded that the allegations and investigations - in the House and Senate and now in the hands of a special counsel named Wednesday night - are distracting him from a host of campaign promises.

"Director Mueller is a career public servant who has shown integrity and commitment to upholding the law, without political agenda", said Sen.

Rosenstein had much to cover in the long-awaited Senate briefing, including the Comey firing, the naming of a special counsel and the Russian Federation probe itself.

"From what we've heard about this case", Zeidenberg said.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., a critic of Trump's inside the GOP, said the Rosenstein briefing led him to believe the nature of the Russian Federation investigation had changed, from one examining how far Russian Federation had meddled in the election to whether any USA citizens were part of the effort.

Trump said Thursday that he respects "the entire thing" but said that he personally has no ties to Russian Federation. "We want to be careful we don't interfere with any criminal investigations", McCaskill said.

"Based on the unique circumstances, the public interest requires me to place this investigation under the authority of a person who exercises a degree of independence from the normal chain of command", Mr Rosenstein said.

Most members of both parties, however, left the briefing saying they didn't learn much new.

"It was a good briefing but there was nothing earth shattering", Sen. "We're doing that", she said.

Graham said Rosenstein did not explain why the investigation had changed.

Now, Republican Senator Marco Rubio was asked that same question.

"We have two very different missions". "I also expect the Senate Intelligence Committee to continue its investigation". "You've got the talking heads pontificating about someone I know well, when they don't know him at all and they don't have all the facts".

In a speech in Baltimore this week, Rosenstein said he didn't spent much time worrying about the controversy.

"Kudos for him for recognizing that appearances are equally important as a fair and just process and investigation", Silverman added.