Published: Fri, May 19, 2017
National | By Rosalie Gross

Sen. Whitehouse: Rosenstein's Memo May Be Part of Criminal Investigation

Sen. Whitehouse: Rosenstein's Memo May Be Part of Criminal Investigation

Rosenstein's briefing also comes after the decision he made earlier this week to appoint Mueller to be special counsel in the Justice Department's probe of Russian meddling in the United States election and any possible collusion between Moscow and Trump's presidential campaign past year.

The White House used Rosenstein's three-page memo as rationale to fire Comey. "This renewed my confidence that we should not have confidence in this administration".

"I wrote it. I believe it. I don't think (Rosenstein) did a lot to bolster our confidence in him today".

There was a least a hint of that being a factor when House Dems grilled him on Comey's firing Friday morning. Several senators had already disclosed that information after emerging from their briefing with him on Thursday, and he made the same points to House members. He emphasized that his memo was "not a legal brief" and "not a finding of official misconduct". "I believe it. I stand by it".

Rosenstein's opening statement did not mention a New York Times report, published on Tuesday, that Comey had written memos describing what he felt were inappropriate efforts by Trump to influence the FBI's Russian Federation investigation. Rosenstein denounced that as "profoundly wrong and unfair".

Now the Democrats have to rely on the results of former FBI director Robert Mueller's investigation to provide actual evidence of the left's repeated claims that there's a massive Trump/Russia conspiracy afoot.

Trump, at a combative and complaining press conference Thursday, he fell short in trying to resolve questions about investigations into his campaign and his first four months in office.

Israel Gave Trump the Classified Intelligence He Shared With Russia
The Post reported that Trump shared "code-word information" - one of the highest classification levels - about terror threats. In a statement, Israel's ambassador to the U.S., Ron Dermer, said the partnership between the U.S and Israel was solid.

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, in his first public remarks since James Comey was sacked as Federal Bureau of Investigation director, told members of the House of Representatives on Friday that Comey "was a role model".

In that memo - which the White House initially used as the justification for Comey's firing, before Trump later admitted he had made up his mind well before that - Rosenstein outlined reasons why Comey should be terminated, namely his handling of the investigation into Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton's private email server nearly a year ago.

Rosenstein, only recently installed as deputy attorney general, found himself immediately overseeing a federal investigation into Russian's election interference after Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from the matter.

"Former Department of Justice officials from both political parties have criticized Director Comey's decisions", Rosenstein said in an opening statement devoted largely to defending his memo. Sessions has recused himself from the Trump-Russia probe, citing his close involvement in the Trump campaign previous year.

Rep. Emanuel Cleaver told reporters he might be the only Democrat who feels better after the briefing and felt "higher level of comfort" after hearing that Rosenstein is giving Mueller wide latitude "including latitude to investigate him" on how he handled Comey's firing.

While it frustrated many Democrats, House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer said he understood why Rosenstein was guarded. Some still wanted a clearer understanding of why, exactly, he wrote his memo, but reported that despite being asked numerous times in various ways, Rosenstein would not elaborate. "His answer was everyone is free to characterize anything the way they wish", said Rep. Dave Trott, R-Mich.

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