I Would Have Fired Comey Without Rosenstein's Letter

Modesto Morganelli
Mag 12, 2017

In the reality show known as 2017 that we're collectively living, when the president axed FBI Director James Comey this week, the heroic background music and bipartisan approbation Trump expected were replaced by yelps of protest, from defenders of democratic norms and independent investigations, and from gobsmacked congressional Democrats and a few Republicans exhausted from defending Trump's high-handed hijinks. "The FBI has been in turmoil".

But Trump acknowledged during the interview that he'd considered the potential ramification of his decision on the inquiry. On Capitol Hill, acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe strongly disputed the White House's assertion that Comey had been fired in part because he had lost the confidence of the FBI's rank-and-file.

A congressional source with knowledge of the matter said on Wednesday that Comey told lawmakers within the past few days he had asked the Justice Department to make additional resources available - mainly more staffing - for the Russian Federation probe.

Trump also went on the attack against Comey, appearing to contradict recent reports that Trump had asked the Federal Bureau of Investigation head to pledge his loyalty during a private dinner in January. "I have the highest respect for his considerable abilities and integrity, and it has been greatest honor of my professional life to work with him". He's the director. He's receiving briefings, asking hard questions, assessing whether the investigative team in this or other important cases has the right resources.

Comey did not say he asked Justice for more money or FBI agents to expand the Russian Federation investigation, as one official told NBC News Wednesday - and as was reported by the New York Times, the Washington Post and others.

The president told NBC he had personally asked Comey whether he was under investigation - an admission that could expose the president to allegations of interfering with the ongoing FBI probe. "You know that, I know that". Trump said he queried of Comey. "You're fired!" he'd say, and he was met with silent gulps and accepting nods, nary a challenge to his authority to drop the guillotine.

Administration spokespeople Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Sean Spicer and Kellyanne Conway echoed similar sentiments earlier this week, stressing that Trump was taking Rosenstein's advice in firing Comey.

Senator Patrick Leahy, the senior Democrat on the Senate Appropriations Committee, and Senator Jeanne Shaheen, the senior Democrat on a panel overseeing the Justice Department, made the request in a letter. He added, in an interview, that the dismissal of Director Comey was "not a good thing for America". He meant, said the source, that he would always be honest with the president.

Democrats have accused the Republican President of trying to foil the FBI's probe into Moscow's actions, and many have called for a special prosecutor to look into the Russian Federation matter.

Republican chairman Burr asked McCabe whether he ever heard Comey tell Trump that the president was not the subject of investigation. They wanted Jeb Bush or perhaps Marco Rubio.

"There has been no effort to impede our investigation to date", McCabe responded.

"It is my opinion and belief that the FBI will continue to pursue this investigation vigorously and completely", McCabe told the senators.

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