Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein reportedly told senators that he knew President Trump was going to fire FBI Director James Comey before writing a memo outlining Comey’s alleged failings. That revelation undercuts the timeline promoted by the White House in recent days.
Sen. Claire McCaskill told reporters after the briefing that Rosenstein had “acknowledged that he learned Comey would be removed prior to him writing his memo.”
“He learned the president’s decision to fire him and then he wrote his memo with his rationale,” Sen. Dick Durbin said.
This contradicts White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer’s claim in the aftermath of the May 9 firing that the decision “was a [Department of Justice] decision” that “was all him” — meaning Rosenstein. It also lends credence to reports that Rosenstein had threatened to resign after learning that the Comey firing was being blamed on him.
President Trump himself has waffled on why he fired Comey, telling NBC’s Lester Holt last week, “I was going to fire regardless of recommendation,” but then saying in a press conference Thursday that he chose to fire Comey only after reading the memo from Rosenstein.