Report: Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein Threatened To Quit After Team Trump Blamed Him For Firing Comey
According to The Washington Post, Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein warned that he would quit after President Trump publicly cited Rosenstein's recommendation for firing FBI Director James Comey as his reason for doing so. ABC News also reported the same news it had gotten from a Trump Administration official.
The Department of Justice has denied the report.
The Post writes that Trump had grown increasingly infuriated with Comey because Comey’s public testimony focused on Russia; Trump was so incensed last weekend, viewing Comey as someone who was using the Russia probe to become a martyr, that Trump unilaterally decided Comey should be fired.
The Post continues that after consulting Reince Priebus, Stephen K. Bannon and Donald McGahn, Trump consulted Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Rosenstein, to whom Comey reported directly. Several White House officials reportedly said Trump ordered Sessions and Rosenstein to write a directive explaining why Comey should be fired.
After those letters were written, Trump fired Comey.
The Post reported, “Rosenstein threatened to resign after the narrative emerging from the White House on Tuesday evening cast him as a prime mover of the decision to fire Comey and that the president acted only on his recommendation, said the person close to the White House, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter.”
Following Comey’s firing, principal deputy White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said hyperbolically that Comey had committed “atrocities” in overseeing the FBI’s probe into Hillary Clinton’s email scandal. When Sanders was asked whether Comey's firing was a result of Rosenstein's memo, Sanders stated, "That was, I think, the final piece that moved the president to make that quick and decisive action yesterday."
The Post said over 30 “officials at the White House, the Justice Department, the FBI and on Capitol Hill, as well as Trump confidants and other senior Republicans” stated that the real reason Comey was fired was Trump’s fury that Comey would not support his claim that President Barack Obama had his campaign offices wiretapped, Comey’s Senate testimony revealing the size of the counterintelligence investigation into Russia’s effort to sway the 2016 U.S. presidential election, and Comey’s statements that increased public attention on the Russia probe.