Senators: Deputy AG knew of Comey firing before writing memo

Candice Alexander
May 19, 2017

The Wednesday decision to name former FBI Director Robert Mueller, an apolitical outsider, to oversee the case seemed meant to restore public faith in an independent Justice Department following a series of headache-inducing headlines.

Rosenstein's decision to name a special counsel seems to have helped redeem his reputation as a nonpartisan operative.

Trump has aired such grievances publicly on a almost weekly basis, arguing that he is being treated unfairly by the news media and by his Democratic opponents.

He called the probe a "witch hunt" and "totally ridiculous" Thursday afternoon.

In another Twitter post Thursday, Trump said: "With all of the illegal acts that took place in the Clinton campaign & Obama Administration, there was never a special councel (sic) appointed!" He did not provide examples or evidence of any alleged "illegal acts".

The announcement, the latest in the shock-a-day Washington saga, was made by deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.

He offered a similar response to whether there was collusion between Russian Federation and his campaign. "We look forward to getting this whole situation behind us".

Instead of being a popular decision, the firing was met by a tsunami of criticism by Democrats because as FBI director, Comey oversaw the investigation of Russian meddling in the USA election and potential ties to Trump's campaign. The FBI's counterterror mission was elevated in those years, as the USA intelligence agencies adjusted to better position America to prevent another attack of such magnitude.

In the memo, Rosenstein wrote that the FBI director had violated long-standing Justice Department practices in his handling of the bureau's investigation of Clinton's use of a private email server when she was secretary of state. "Everybody thinks so", Trump said when asked about the appointment. Mueller was granted broad investigatory powers, which could encompass looking into whether Trump obstructed justice by asking Comey to drop his investigation into former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn.

First reactions from Congress were mainly positive.

Republican Jason Chaffetz of Utah, chairman of the House Oversight Committee, said Mueller was a "great selection".

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And not a moment too soon, Democrats said.

"He is all about the business of investigating, being fair, but thorough", Swecker asserted. Cummings has vigorously urged such an appointment, suggesting it could lead to accusations of obstruction of justice. And he prepared for meetings with Trump meticulously, concerned that the businessman president who has no previous political experience in Washington or with the law would push against legal and ethical guardrails.

The White House will not say whether Trump recorded conversations in the Oval Office.

President Trump has insisted he is not the one under investigation, but that could easily change. During a commencement address Wednesday at the Coast Guard Academy, he complained bitterly about criticism he's faced.

"I believe it hurts our country terribly, because it shows we're a divided, mixed-up, not-unified country", Trump said in an on-the-record statement. "You can't let the critics and the naysayers get in the way of your dreams. And the more righteous your fight, the more opposition that you will face". "I hope you can let this go", Trump said, according to multiple Comey associates. "Instead, his morning tweets make it clear how much the Russian Federation story is distracting him and his White House".

Trump's own timeline and rationale for firing Comey has repeatedly been amended by his administration.

Trump plans to leave the country Friday for a nine-day trip that now promises to be even more fraught for the new president.

After firing Comey as Federal Bureau of Investigation director, Trump suggested on Twitter that there might be "tapes" of his conversations in the White House that he would use to validate his account of his dealings with Comey.

McCabe had other matters on his mind, too.

Sens. Jim Risch, R-Idaho, and Dianne Feinstein of California, the second-ranking Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, doubt that the same thing will happen this time. Joe Lieberman, former Oklahoma Gov. He led the agency under the Bush and Obama administrations, taking the position a week before 9-11.

Other reports by VgToday

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