Dem senators grilled Rosenstein on Russia probe, Comey firing: report

Dem senators grilled Rosenstein on Russia probe, Comey firing: report
© Getty Images

Sens. Al FrankenAl FrankenFranken: Trump Jr., Manafort need to testify under oath Trump's DOJ gears up for crackdown on marijuana Sunday shows preview: Scaramucci makes TV debut as new communication chief MORE (D-Minn.) and Kirsten GillibrandKirsten GillibrandTrump's DOJ gears up for crackdown on marijuana OPINION | Hey Dems, Russia won't define 2018, so why not fix your party's problems instead? Dems see huge field emerging to take on Trump MORE (D-N.Y.) grilled Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein over FBI Director James Comey's firing and the Russia investigation during a closed-door briefing Thursday, The Washington Post reported

The pair questioned Rosenstein on Attorney General Jeff SessionsJeff SessionsTrump takes to Twitter to criticize media Dem senator: Administration crackdown on marijuana is ‘backward and inhumane’ Trump's DOJ gears up for crackdown on marijuana MORE’s involvement in Comey’s firing last week and on the scope of the federal investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

Franken’s spokesman told the Post he “was passionate about getting to the bottom of what happened.”

“They weren’t inappropriate, they were asking strong questions that were strongly felt,” a senator told the Post, characterizing the two as “passionate.”

“I didn’t think anybody was inappropriate.”

Rosenstein was also pressed on Sessions’s role in selecting a new FBI director, and on how former FBI Director Robert Mueller’s appointment as special counsel will affect the Russia investigation.

The deputy attorney general’s hotly anticipated meeting with senators came less than 24 hours after he appointed Mueller.

Rosenstein reportedly confirmed that the FBI’s probe of Russian meddling in the 2016 race is now both a criminal and counterintelligence investigation.

Lawmakers present also confirmed that Rosenstein said he was aware President Trump intended to fire Comey before he penned a memo that the White House later used to justify the move.

Comey’s ouster came amid the FBI’s probe into Russian election intrusions last year, including possible ties between Russia and Trump’s campaign.