WATCH: Rosenstein tight-lipped about Comey firing

Lawmakers on Friday emerged from a closed-door House briefing with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein with differing accounts of when the official knew that President Trump intended to fire Jim Comey as FBI director.


Rosenstein wrote a memo critical of Comey that the White House initially described as the primary factor in the firing.

"[Rosenstein] said that he wrote the memo, he wasn't given any instructions on what to put in it; he did assume that the president was going to fire Comey," Rep. Rich Hudson (R-N.C.) told The Hill's Molly K. Hooper in an interview.

Hudson had to leave the briefing just as questions and answers time started because he was meeting constituents in the Capitol.

Asked if Rosenstein said why he assumed Comey would be fired, Hudson said, "he didn't."

Other lawmakers who were in the briefing for a longer period of time came away with different takes.

"He said he knew in advance," Democratic Rep. Jim Costa (Calif.) told The Hill.

Rosenstein on Wednesday announced the appointment of Robert Mueller, a former FBI director, as special counsel to investigate matters related to the Russia investigation being conducted by the FBI.

Rep. Mike Bishop (Mich.) said Rosenstein did not use the word "assume" when talking about Comey's firing, nor did he discuss when he knew of the decision because he "wants to allow the special counsel to review the timeline and weigh in himself."

"That question came up over and over again, as you can imagine, and we just didn't get good answers," freshman Democratic Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (Ill.) said.

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.) wouldn't say how Rosenstein responded to questions on the timeline, tossing up his hands. "When they started getting into ... what did you know, when did you know it? I felt like it started breaking down. This is much to do about nothing."

Asked if Mueller would investigate the timeline, Rep. Frank Lucas (R-Okla.) said Rosenstein "indicated" that the special prosecutor "would have unlimited authority, unlimited scope and unlimited resources."

Lucas cautioned that lawmakers must have "faith" in Mueller "but clearly in a body where no one has any faith in anybody on any occasion anymore, this may be a big leap for my colleagues."

Watch the video above to hear the lawmakers in their own words.