Rosenstein, Sessions discussed firing Comey in late 2016 or early 2017: FBI notes

Source: The Hill | December 3, 2019 | Rachel Frazin

Former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein reportedly said that he discussed the firing of former FBI Director James Comey with former Attorney General Jeff Sessions in late 2016 or early 2017, according to a new batch of documents released in relation to former special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into election interference.

The documents, released due to a CNN and BuzzFeed lawsuit, totaled 295 pages of witness memoranda and notes from FBI interviews that were part of the special counsel’s probe.

President Trump fired Comey in 2017, saying that he was acting on recommendations from Sessions and Rosenstein. Mueller’s probe began in response to Comey’s dismissal.

Rosenstein said that he believed Comey’s statements on former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton went against Justice Department rules and said he had contacted “a few people” as possible candidates for Comey’s job, according to the documents.

He also reportedly told FBI interviewers that he was “angry, ashamed, horrified and embarrassed” by the White House’s handling of Comey’s firing. 

He said he appointed Mueller over concerns about public perception, according to the news outlets.

Rosenstein reportedly said he was surprised that the White House portrayed Comey’s firing as his idea. He added that the portrayal of the firing was “inconsistent with my experience and personal knowledge,” the news outlets reported. 

Mueller’s report, released earlier this year, said that Comey’s firing was one of 10 possible instances of obstruction of justice by President Trump. The president has denied wrongdoing and regularly referred to the special counsel investigation as a “witch hunt” and a “hoax.” 

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