Published: Sat, May 20, 2017
Money | By Armando Alvarado

Rod Rosenstein: Jeff Sessions, Donald Trump wanted James Comey gone

With the Justice Department throwing a bombshell on Thursday by appointing a special prosecutor to investigate the Trump campaign's ties to Russian Federation and U.S lawmakers lining up their own hearings and probes, the President is said to have convened his legal team, including his long-time attorney from New York Michael Cohen, to discuss how to face the challenges.

The Justice Department on Friday distributed prepared remarks that Rosenstein delivered to Congress in separate briefings.

Mr Comey had been investigating whether there was collusion between Russian Federation and anyone connected to the Trump campaign during last year's election.

In the remarks, Rosenstein said he learned a day before Comey's firing that Trump wanted to dismiss him.

The sources emphasized that investigators remain keenly interested in people who previously wielded influence in the Trump campaign and administration but are no longer part of it, including former national security adviser Michael Flynn and former campaign chairman Paul Manafort.

Speaking to NBC News' Lester Holt on May 11, Trump mentioned the Russian Federation investigation when explaining why he fired Comey, whom he called a "showboat" and a "grandstander".

"Mueller's a pro", Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., said Friday.

During his meeting with Russian officials last week, President Donald Trump said recently fired FBI Director James Comey was a "nut job" whose ouster relieved "great pressure" on him, according to a report today in The New York Times. He said that though he was personally fond of Comey, "I thought it was appropriate to seek a new leader".

Trump said firing Comey relieved 'great pressure'
News reports that Comey had written memos about his conversations with Trump since January have fueled that aspect of the probe. The appointment has drawn generally favourable comments from Democrats and from some Republicans as well.

A Justice Department spokeswoman told the Post that she "can't confirm or deny the existence or non-existence of investigations or targets of investigations". But lawmakers at both congressional sessions expressed frustration that Rosenstein would say little in answer to their questions about his actions - or others' - before Comey's firing.

Rosenstein briefed lawmakers on the events leading up to Comey's dismissal on May 9 as well as his decision on Wednesday to appoint a special counsel to lead the FBI's probe into Russia's election interference and whether Trump's campaign team was complicit. Sessions has recused himself from the Trump-Russia probe, citing his close involvement in the Trump campaign past year.

"I wrote it. I believe it".

"I chose the issues to include in my memorandum", he said, adding it was reviewed by a senior career attorney.

"Rosenstein testimony to Senate was profoundly disturbing", Sen. But some Democratic lawmakers have emerged troubled from the briefings, in which Rosenstein explained his decision to appoint the special counsel.

Earlier this week, investors dumped stocks in response to reports that Trump in February had asked Comey to stop investigating his former national security adviser, prompting accusations the president may have tried to hamper the probe.

Lawmakers, particularly Democrats, are determined to get to the bottom of the affair - not to speak of making political capital - of not just the Comey firing but also charges of the Trump campaign's ties to Russian Federation and its interference in an election that many believe cost Hillary Clinton the Presidency.

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