Deputy AG stands by memo used to justify firing

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said he had no evidence to support some recent news reports that FBI Director James B. Comey requested additional resources for the bureau's investigation involving Russian influence in the 2016 election right before he was sacked, according to House members exiting an all-member briefing with Mr. Rosenstein Friday.

He says his memo is not a finding of official misconduct and is not a statement of reasons to justify Comey's firing.

Just recently, Comey had asked the Justice Department for an increase in funding to continue pursuing the FBI's Russian investigation.

He added, "The investigation would have always continued, and obviously, the termination of Comey would not have ended it". "I strongly disagreed with his analysis, but I believe that he made his decisions in good faith".

In the two days that followed, White House officials and Vice President Mike Pence said Trump was acting on the recommendation of the deputy attorney general.

Trump referred to Comey's testimony at a recent Capitol Hill hearing, after which the Justice Department ended up having to amend part of his testimony regarding last year's probe of Hillary Clinton's email practices.

I thought the July 5 press conference was profoundly wrong and unfair both to the Department of Justice and Secretary Clinton.

If President Donald Trump was hoping to head out on his first big foreign trip with turmoil calmed at home, he's going to have a disappointing Air Force One departure on Friday. But some Democratic lawmakers have emerged troubled from the briefings, in which Rosenstein explained his decision to appoint the special counsel.

"Before I discuss the events of the past two weeks, I want to provide some background about my previous relationship with former Director Comey", Rosenstein said, according to a copy of his prepared remarks released to reporters after the briefing. The press conference "explicitly usurped the role of the Attorney General, the Deputy Attorney General and the entire Department of Justice; it violated deeply engrained rules and traditions; and it guaranteed that some people would accuse the Federal Bureau of Investigation of interfering in the election".

"I chose the issues to include in my memorandum", he said, adding it was reviewed by a senior career attorney.

Combative and complaining, Trump fell short Thursday in trying to resolve investigations into his campaign and his first four months in office.

Rosenstein's opening statement did not mention a New York Times report, published on Tuesday, that Comey had written memos describing what he felt were inappropriate efforts by Trump to influence the FBI's Russian Federation investigation. Some still wanted a clearer understanding of why, exactly, he wrote his memo, but reported that despite being asked numerous times in various ways, Rosenstein would not elaborate.

A similar number, 55 percent, further said they lack confidence in Trump's ability to handle national intelligence in the wake of the reported incident, including 41 percent who said they are "not confident at all" and 14 percent who offered that they are "not too confident" in the president, the poll found. "His answer was everyone is free to characterize anything the way they wish", said Rep. Dave Trott, R-Mich.

  • Joanne Flowers