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Justice official says he stands by critical memo on former FBI director

By The Associated Press

This article was originally published May 19, 2017 at 11:00 a.m. Updated May 19, 2017 at 1:12 p.m.

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Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein arrives Thursday on Capitol Hill in Washington for a closed meeting with senators a day after appointing former FBI Director Robert Mueller to oversee the investigation into possible ties between Russia and President Donald Trump’s campaign.

WASHINGTON — Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein told Congress he stands by a memo he wrote that the White House has cited as a justification for the firing last week of FBI Director James Comey. But he said he had no intention of it being used that way.

In private meetings with lawmakers Thursday and Friday, Rosenstein said he wrote the memo after President Donald Trump told him one day before the May 9 firing that he wanted to dismiss Comey. He said that though he was personally fond of Comey, "I thought it was appropriate to seek a new leader."

The Justice Department on Friday issued a transcript of Rosenstein's remarks.

The White House has struggled since Comey's firing to explain the chain of events that led to it and who exactly made the decision. Trump said as recently as Thursday that he acted on a "very strong" recommendation from Rosenstein, but Rosenstein made it clear to Congress that he drafted his memo only after Trump told him of his plans to dismiss the FBI director.

He said he did not intend for the document to be a finding of misconduct or a "statement of reasons" to justify the firing, but he added: "I wrote it. I believe it. I stand by it."

Rosenstein, who Wednesday appointed a special counsel to investigate possible Russia-Trump campaign coordination during the 2016 presidential campaign, made his appearances before Congress as Trump was preparing to leave for his first foreign trip as president.

Trump has said he expected to nominate a new FBI director soon, and that had been expected before his departure Friday afternoon. However the White House said at midday that there would be no announcement Friday.

House members and senators said Rosenstein steered clear of specifics in answering questions about his appointment of former FBI director as special counsel but made clear that Mueller has wide latitude to pursue the investigation wherever it leads, potentially including criminal charges.

Read Saturday's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.

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Displaying 1 - 7 of 7 total comments

RBear says... May 19, 2017 at 11:28 a.m.

This is an administration in free fall that doesn't have a clue how to manage this issue. They almost lost Rosenstein when the White House tried to lay the blame on him for the firing. It's pretty evident that Trump tried to use Rosenstein's memo as cover for his pre-meditated actions, but had to own up after the backlash. The WH press staff couldn't keep up with who was supposed to be responsible for the firing.

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rback57 says... May 19, 2017 at 1:38 p.m.

It was reported Rosenstein threatened to resign. He was asked about the report and he denied he threatened to resign.

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RBear says... May 19, 2017 at 2:21 p.m.

rback, I stand with the report. In that situation, I would deny it also in the public space.

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rubythecat96gmailcom says... May 19, 2017 at 2:30 p.m.

hope the investigation leads to hillary's illegal home server and the destruction of all the 30 thousand emails she destroyed after they were subpoenaed and while he's at it please discover who unmasked general Flynn and then leaked to to the press an American's name.

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DontDrinkDatKoolAid says... May 19, 2017 at 3:23 p.m.

RBear, I don't think Rosenstein would be that shameful or shallow.

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RBear says... May 19, 2017 at 5:56 p.m.

DDDK, actually I do at this point. This was about his integrity and had Trump not came out with the facts, he was probably ready to jump ship. This is a graceful way to avoid a big dust up.

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mrcharles says... May 20, 2017 at 2:48 p.m.

Snakebite we sure need to check that out right after several Trump slugs go to jail.

Home server = bending over for Putin/Russia = not the same.

Dream up so more make believe.

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