Justice official says he stands by critical memo on Comey

Pauline Gross
May 20, 2017

In his earlier Twitter posts, Trump criticised the naming of former FBI Director Robert Mueller as a special counsel by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, an official he himself appointed.

"I thought the July 5 press conference was profoundly wrong and unfair both to the Department of Justice and Secretary Clinton, Rosenstein told both the US Senate and the House of Representatives in a prepared statement reported by NBC News".

In appointing a special counsel to investigate Russian attempts to influence the 2016 election - and the possible commission of crimes before, during and afterward - Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein acted prudently and for abundant, sound reasons.

Rosenstein told senators that he knew Comey would be fired before he wrote his letter, Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill said.

Burr told reporters Thursday about the response from Flynn's lawyer.

‎He said both Republicans and Democrats both applauded when he responded to a question about the ability of Mueller to decide the contours of the investigation.

The memo, on the heels of Trump's abrupt firing of Comey last week, fueled accusations by lawmakers of possible obstruction of justice and calls for an independent prosecutor to oversee the FBI's ongoing counterintelligence probe into possible collusion between Trump campaign associates and Russian Federation during the presidential campaign. Trump has insisted at times that the decision was his alone, but he also has pointed - as recently as Thursday - to the "very strong" recommendation from Rosenstein.

During Thursday's meeting, it led at least one senator to believe the probe has now turned into a criminal investigation.

On another note, President Trump met with Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos at the White House Thursday afternoon.

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Trump categorically denied he asked Comey to drop his probe of Flynn, whom he fired on February 14 for misleading Vice President Mike Pence, about the extent of his conversations past year with Russia's ambassador. Mark Warner, a Virginia Democrat running the Senate investigation said of the special counsel news: "I think it means our investigation is more important than ever". "Mr. Rosenstein has done the right thing", Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of NY said on the Senate floor.

Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La., offered a similar version of the timeline, saying that Rosenstein referred to the president's remarks in a recent NBC News interview in which Trump said that he had made a decision to fire Comey long ago.

His appointment in the Russian Federation investigation, the Justice Department said Wednesday, was made through the special counsel statute.

Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., also said Rosenstein had declined to provide details of the case, citing "the uniqueness of the investigation".

Trump later said in an interview with NBC News last week that he had made a decision to fire Comey "regardless of the recommendation" from the Justice Department.

He denied media reports from last week that Comey had asked him for additional resources for his investigation before Trump fired him.

Some senators were frustrated at the briefing because Rosenstein did not want to answer all their questions, Durbin said. But he added, "I wrote it". "And numerous questions he declined to answer came down to his concern of whether he might interfere with the investigation by Robert Mueller". "I don't believe it'll have an impact on us at all".

In Rosenstein's meetings with lawmakers, he reiterated the scathing critique laid out in his memo concerning Comey's handling of the investigation into Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server, including Comey's July news conference announcing that the FBI would not recommend charges.

Other reports by GizPress

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