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McCabe: Rosenstein wrote Comey memo under duress
The White House directed the firing of former FBI Director James Comey in a manner that left Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein "shaken" over his role in justifying Comey's ouster, former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe claims in his new book.
In "The Threat: How the FBI Protects America in the Age of Terror and Trump," McCabe reportedly writes that Rosenstein was deeply uncomfortable with Comey's firing, telling him at the time that writing the memo "wasn't his idea," according to excerpts obtained by The Guardian.
"He said it wasn't his idea. The president had ordered him to write the memo justifying the firing," McCabe writes.
In his book, McCabe quotes Rosenstein as saying, "There's no one here that I can trust," according to The Guardian.
McCabe describes Rosenstein as being "glassy-eyed" after he was allegedly ordered by the White House to draft the memo about Comey's job performance, writing that Rosenstein feared he was being used by the Trump administration as a scapegoat for Comey's firing.
Rosenstein testified publicly in May 2017 about the memo and Comey's firing, telling lawmakers at the time, "I wrote it. I believe it. I stand by it."
Excerpts from the book follow reports from The New York Times last year that Rosenstein's colleagues said he looked "shaken," "unsteady" and "overwhelmed," following Comey's ouster and expressed concerns that writing the memo had damaged his reputation.
A spokeswoman for the Justice Department last year dismissed claims that Rosenstein was upset with the White House, while adding that he was disturbed by Comey's decision to create memos detailing his interactions with President Trump.
"To be clear, he was upset not because knowledge of the existence of the memos would have changed the [deputy attorney general's] decision regarding Mr. Comey, but that Mr. McCabe chose not to tell him about their existence until only hours before someone shared them with The New York Times," Sarah Isgur Flores said.
The White House and Trump have offered differing explanations for Comey's firing in 2017, as Trump initially claimed that Comey's handling of the special counsel investigation into possible ties between his campaign and Russia motivated his decision.