Now-former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein helped President Donald Trump craft a letter firing now-former FBI Director James Comey. In the letter, several areas of alleged underperformance by Comey are cited, including his inability to stop the Bureau from leaking. However, there are now claims that these were not the real reasons Comey was fired, and Rosenstein allegedly knew it.
According to Murray Waas of the New York Book Review, Comey was fired by Trump for one reason and one reason only: his conduct with regards to the investigation into Donald Trump and his 2016 presidential campaign’s ties to Russia. This idea is not helped by the fact that Trump went on NBC News with Lester Holt and admitted as much:
That aside, though, Waas’s allegations are serious indeed. The Deputy Attorney General oversaw the investigation after then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself due to his own involvement in Trump’s 2016 campaign.
According to Waas:
“In May 2017, then Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein agreed to assist President Trump in an effort to fire James Comey as FBI director despite Rosenstein’s knowing beforehand that the president had devised a false cover story to conceal the fact that he was firing Comey for his oversight of the FBI’s Russia investigation, according to previously confidential White House records.
“In this previously unreported episode, President Trump gave Rosenstein a draft of a letter to then FBI Director Comey, in which the president justified his firing of Comey with a concocted story claiming that, at the beginning of his presidency, Trump had retained Comey on a probationary or trial period only, because of what he described as poor job performance by Comey.
“In these documents, President Trump claimed that Comey sought a private dinner with the president in an effort to keep his job. In one early account, Trump quoted Comey vowing to earn the president’s trust to retain his job, with the president concluding that Comey had underperformed in a number of ways, including failing to have the FBI more aggressively identify and prosecute leakers.”
According to records from the Mueller report, Trump claims Comey had “asked [the president] at dinner shortly after inauguration to let [Comey] stay on in the Director’s role, and [the president] said that [he] would consider it.” However, Trump later made a call that “concluded that [he had] no alternative but to find new leadership for the Bureau—a leader that restores confidence and trust.”
Waas alleges that he has seen all drafts of the letters regarding the Comey firing. According to his accounts, Trump alleges that Comey wanted to have dinner with Trump to discuss keeping his position as FBI Director. Further, Rosenstein was privy to all of this. Even more curiously, Trump has invoked executive privilege in order to keep all documents relating to the matter of these alleged drafts of this letter from the hands of Congressional investigators.
Perhaps it will be of interest to Congress to see just how much Rod Rosenstein knew about these proceedings and documents, all while presiding over the Mueller investigation and performing his role as Deputy Attorney General.
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Shannon Barber is a progressive queer feminist and budding political scientist. She is passionate about issues of social justice, including but not limited to racial equality, criminal justice reform, pro-Black politics, and LGBTQ equality. She hopes to change the world, one mind at a time.