Deputy AG Stands by Comey Memo

Cesar Mills
May 22, 2017

Former FBI director James Comey has agreed to testify before the Senate intelligence committee at a public hearing.

While the White House initially pointed to a memo from Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, outlining Comey's mismanagement of the investigation into Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton's private email server, as the impetus for his termination, Trump later admitted that the Russian Federation investigation - which he has called a "hoax" - played a role. The report did not name the adviser.

White House press secretary Sean Spicer did not dispute the account of the conversation to The Times and, in a statement to NPR, argued that the Russian Federation investigation was harming US foreign policy.

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein told Congress Friday he stands by a memo he wrote bluntly criticizing Comey.

The White House on Friday predicted that the investigation would back up Trump's account.

Trump also asserted in the joint press conference that Comey's erroneous Senate testimony earlier this month on the probe into Hillary Clinton's email server-which the Federal Bureau of Investigation corrected in a letter just half an hour before Comey was fired-was the reason "why the deputy attorney general went out and wrote his very, very strong letter".

Rosenstein was overwhelmingly confirmed by the Senate last month for the No. 2 job at the Justice Department.

The reports, emerging just as Trump jetted off to Saudi Arabia on his first foreign trip as president, were likely to extend the turmoil engulfing his administration since the May 9 firing of former FBI Director James Comey.

It did not deny the Times report that Mr Trump was critical of Mr Comey to the Russians the day after he fired him.

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But Rosenstein did not disclose further details about the memo he wrote, according to House members on Friday.

Most Republicans did not join their Democratic colleagues in calling for a special prosecutor, preferring to keep their faith in the congressional and career FBI investigators. Democratic Rep. Charlie Crist says it was a Q and A with "not a whole lot of A".

"I really think that rather than have all these memorandums and issues circulating around, that we need to put the facts before the American people", she said.

The White House has been thrown into turmoil by a succession of stunning allegations against the president this week, including that he may have obstructed justice by asking Comey to drop an investigation into one of his top advisors. Trump has insisted at times that the decision was his alone, but he also has pointed to the "very strong" recommendation from Rosenstein.

The FBI's investigation has bedeviled the Trump administration, and the president personally. "My memorandum is not a statement of reasons to justify a for-cause termination", he said.

"I don't know how to read it except that, I'm nearly speechless because I don't know why someone would say something like that", McCain said, adding that the United States president should never have met with the Russian officials. "I stand by it", he said. Rosenstein denounced that decision as "profoundly wrong and unfair".

And Senator John Cornyn, a Texas Republican, who had been considered a contender for FBI director but removed himself from the running, said he thought senators were taking the investigation "enormously seriously".

"No. No. Next question", he said.

Other reports by GizPress

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