Embattled, Trump laments 'witch hunt' as divisive and distracting
- Author: Zachary Reyes May 20, 2017,
May 20, 2017, 10:09
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein faced questions by United States senators desperate for details about his appointment of a special counsel to investigate possible collusion between President Donald Trump's associates and Russian Federation.
Repeating his assertion that Comey "was very unpopular with most people", Trump said he was dismissed over inaccurate testimony delivered before Congress as well as his faulty decision making during the presidential campaign.
"I'm sure he's going to try to say it's a partisan effort but I don't think Mueller's going to be viewed as a partisan guy", said Sen. Law enforcement officials now consider a senior Trump adviser a "person of interest" in the probe, the Post reported, citing people familiar with the matter.
Deputy U.S. Attorney General Rod Rosenstein told members of Congress that his memo to President Trump detailing concerns about James Comey's actions as Federal Bureau of Investigation director was "not a statement of reasons to justify a for-cause termination" of Comey. "I wrote it. I believe it".
Senators who attended the closed-door meeting said Mr Rosenstein said he knew on Monday, May 8th, that Mr Trump was planning to fire Mr Comey before he wrote the memo that was initially used by the White House to justify the decision.
One new development from Friday's briefing: Rosenstein said news reports that Comey asked for and was denied more resources for the bureau's Russian Federation probe were not true.
Trott says Rosenstein answered that he didn't want to interfere with the independent investigation that will now be run by former FBI chief Robert Mueller.
Trump said he was about to name a replacement for Comey, another move to settle the waters.
The Justice Department on Friday issued the text of Rosenstein's opening remarks for the briefings on Capitol Hill.
Rosenstein told the U.S. Senate on Thursday that he knew President Donald Trump meant to fire Comey before he wrote the memo.
"The entire thing has been a witch hunt", he declared, echoing one of the tweets he'd sent out just after dawn: "This is the single greatest witch hunt of a politician in American history!"
But the president later told NBC News came to the decision to oust Comey after thinking about how "this Russian Federation thing.is a made up story".
The President's tweets, which have been lampooned around the world as thought bubbles from an infantile, self-absorbed narcissist, could even be seen as a successful attempt to divert attention away from his worst week since entering the White House.
Leahy has been pushing for Rosenstein to appoint a special prosecutor since the attorney's March confirmation hearings before the Judiciary Committee.
Who asked Rosenstein to write the Comey memo?...
Then Trump admitted he had been considering firing Comey for months.
Mueller, a former federal prosecutor at the Justice Department, was confirmed as FBI director days before the September 11, 2001, attacks that would ultimately shape his tenure.
"Robert Mueller is a good guy", former U.S. Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R-Mich.) told KTAR News 92.3 FM's Arizona's Morning News on Thursday. But I think if McCaskill's account is true, it at the very least further discredits the Trump administration's original claim that Trump acted on the recommendation of the Justice Department to fire Comey.
His appointment, by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, was a striking shift for the Justice Department, which had resisted increasingly insistent calls from Democrats for an outside prosecutor.