Senate Dems: Deputy AG knew Comey was being removed before writing memo

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein knew FBI Director James Comey was going to be fired before he wrote a memo recommending Comey’s dismissal, a pair of Democratic senators said Thursday.

“He did acknowledge that he learned that Comey would be removed prior to him writing his memo,” Sen. Claire McCaskillClaire Conner McCaskillMcCaskill welcomes ninth grandson in a row Dem group launches M ad buy to boost vulnerable senators Senate Dems block crackdown on sanctuary cities MORE (D-Mo.) told reporters after leaving a closed-door briefing with Rosenstein.



Sen. Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinAmerica’s waning commitment to the promise of the First Amendment Senate rejects Trump immigration plan What to watch for in the Senate immigration votes MORE (D-Ill.) said Rosenstein knew of Comey’s dismissal one day before Trump announced Comey’s termination.

“He knew it the day before,” Durbin, the Senate minority whip, told reporters, adding that Rosenstein didn't indicate he was pressured to write the recommendation.

Rosenstein on Wednesday evening appointed former FBI Director Robert Mueller to serve as the special counsel for the investigation into Russian election interference and potential links between President Trump’s team and the Kremlin.


The New York Times reported this week that Trump had asked Comey to let "go" of his investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn during a meeting in February.

Trump fired Comey last week, initially citing recommendations from Rosenstein and Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsUnder pressure, Trump shifts blame for Russia intrusion Overnight Tech: Judge blocks AT&T request for DOJ communications | Facebook VP apologizes for tweets about Mueller probe | Tech wants Treasury to fight EU tax proposal Overnight Regulation: Trump to take steps to ban bump stocks | Trump eases rules on insurance sold outside of ObamaCare | FCC to officially rescind net neutrality Thursday | Obama EPA chief: Reg rollback won't stand MORE. In an interview later, Trump said that "this Russia thing" played into his decision to fire Comey.

Comey reportedly kept a paper trail to document what he saw as the president’s improper attempts to influence his investigation.

McCaskill told reporters that Rosenstein is “anxious” to give Mueller the space to determine “where this investigation should go and what it should include.” 

"As a former prosecutor, I respect that decision,” she added.

Updated: 4:01 p.m.