Former FBI official feared Rosenstein gave Trump cover story to fire Comey over Russia probe: report

Former FBI official feared Rosenstein gave Trump cover story to fire Comey over Russia probe: report
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Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabeAndrew George McCabeMcCabe's 25th Amendment comments 'taken out of context,' spokeswoman says The Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by Kidney Care Partners — Trump escalates border fight with emergency declaration Ex-federal prosecutor: I would have 'owned' wearing a wire to record Trump MORE reportedly claimed in a memo he wrote last year that President TrumpDonald John TrumpGillibrand backs federal classification of third gender: report Former Carter pollster, Bannon ally Patrick Caddell dies at 68 Heather Nauert withdraws her name from consideration for UN Ambassador job MORE linked firing FBI Director James ComeyJames Brien ComeyMcCabe's 25th Amendment comments 'taken out of context,' spokeswoman says Ex-federal prosecutor: I would have 'owned' wearing a wire to record Trump Ex-federal prosecutor: 'Thank God' Whitaker is gone, Barr will bring 'integrity' back to DOJ MORE to the Russia investigation in a conversation he had with Deputy Attorney General Rod RosensteinRod Jay RosensteinEx-federal prosecutor: I would have 'owned' wearing a wire to record Trump The embarrassing return of Andrew McCabe The Hill's Morning Report — Presented by the American Academy of HIV Medicine — Trump, Congress prepare for new border wall fight MORE.

The New York Times reported Wednesday that McCabe described second-hand a conversation he heard about from Rosenstein, who spoke with Trump about firing Comey. According to McCabe, Trump asked Rosenstein to mention Russia in his memo recommending Comey’s termination.

However, Russia and the investigation of the country’s interference in the 2016 election were not mentioned in Rosenstein’s final document.

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McCabe, according to the Times, believed that Rosenstein may have provided a cover story for Trump to fire Comey over the Russia probe by writing, instead, about the former director’s handling of the probe into 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonSanders expected to announce exploratory committee next week Bernie Sanders records announcement video ahead of possible 2020 bid Overnight Defense: Trump declares border emergency | .6B in military construction funds to be used for wall | Trump believes Obama would have started war with North Korea | Pentagon delivers aid for Venezuelan migrants MORE’s use of a private email server.

But according to the Times's sources, Rosenstein in his recounting of the conversation with Trump said the president wanted Russia mentioned. One person familiar with what Rosenstein said reportedly thought Trump wanted his deputy attorney general to confirm that Trump was not under investigation in the Russia probe.

McCabe has turned over his memo about the conversation to special counsel Robert MuellerRobert Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE, according to the Times.

Spokespeople for McCabe and the Justice Department declined to comment to the Times.

Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsThe Hill's Morning Report — Presented by the American Academy of HIV Medicine — Trump, Congress prepare for new border wall fight The Memo: Trump and McCabe go to war McCabe book: Sessions once said FBI was better off when it 'only hired Irishmen' MORE fired McCabe earlier this year after an inspector general report found that he was not forthright with investigators and that he made an unauthorized disclosure to the media.

McCabe has disputed the report's findings.

Trump has given varied reasonings for firing Comey, linking the Russia probe to his decision to dismiss the FBI head in an NBC News interview last year. Trump's reasons for firing Comey are considered key to a possible obstruction of justice investigation.

However, he tweeted last month that Comey's firing was not related to the investigation.

Rosenstein is a key figure in Mueller's probe into Russia's election interference. He appointed Mueller to the position last year after Comey's firing, and it's believed that he has the authority to fire the special counsel.

It has also been reported that Trump has considered firing Rosenstein, and the FBI official has told friends that he is prepared for his imminent dismissal.

--Updated at 7:57 p.m.