- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 18, 2017

Two Democratic senators briefed Thursday by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said he knew former FBI Director James Comey would be fired prior to writing a memo cited by the White House as basis for the firing.

Mr. Rosenstein held a closed-door meeting Thursday with senators on Capitol Hill in wake of news that he appointed former FBI Director Robert Mueller to head the investigation of Russia’s interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election and the Trump campaign’s ties to the nation.

Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill said to reporters after the briefing that Mr. Rosenstein “knew that Comey was going to be removed prior to him writing the letter.”

Fellow Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin came away with the same conclusion.
“He knew the day before,” Mr. Durbin said. “He knew May 8.”

But Republican Sen. Marco Rubio pushed back on that assertion, saying the issue of when and how was not addressed to that extent.

Mr. Rubio said, “I’m not sure he addressed that with a level of clarity.”

The memo Mr. Rosenstein wrote was the reasoning given by the White House for why President Trump made the decision to fire Mr. Comey, saying his presence was hurting the morale of the FBI.

Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham said there was a lot of unclear information when he left the meeting, but that Mr. Rosenstein indicated the nature of the investigation may now be criminal.

“My takeaway from everything he said was you need to treat this investigation as if it may be a criminal investigation,” Mr. Graham said.

Mr. Rosenstein intends to brief House members Friday in a similar closed-door meeting.

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