Rosenstein confirms Trump planned to fire Comey regardless of Justice Dept. recommendation
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein met with the Senate for a closed briefing Thursday about his appointment of a special prosecutor to oversee the FBI investigation into the Trump-Russia affair. Several details emerged after the meeting broke, including Rosenstein’s admission that, despite White House claims, Trump planned to fire ex-FBI director James Comey regardless of the Justice Department’s recommendation.
Senators Claire McCaskill and Dick Durbin told reporters that Rosenstein learned Trump’s intention on May 8, the same day that POTUS asked Rosenstein and Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III to “explain in writing the case against Comey.” As previously reported, Trump’s directive wasn’t humbly seeking advice but soliciting the facade of legal justification for something he already decided. “[Rosenstein] knew Comey was going to be removed prior to writing his memo,” McCaskill said.
For what it’s worth, Senator Marco Rubio denied that Rosenstein admitted this, saying it wasn’t “clear.”
Senators also told reporters that the deputy attorney general confirmed NBC News’ report that the FBI probe is considered a criminal investigation, not a counterintelligence investigation. It’s not clear what charges are being considered for Flynn and Paul Manafort, the probe’s key figures.
“It was a counterintelligence investigation before now,” Beanie Baby Lindsey Graham said. “It seems to be now to be considered a criminal investigation.”
Already, Graham and other Republicans are using the news as an excuse for dropping the Senate Intelligence Committee’s own investigation into Flynn and other Trump associates. Senator John Cornyn said he doesn’t want congressional probes to “inadvertently impede” the special counsel’s investigation, while Graham said it will be hard to “subpoena records of somebody like Michael Flynn, who may be subject to a criminal investigation, because he has a right not to self-incriminate himself.”
I’m sure Flynn appreciates Graham’s free legal advice. It’s always good to see elected officials looking out for the subjects of their own investigations.