Rosenstein said he was ‘horrified’ at how Comey was fired

Then-Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein listens in 2017 at the Justice Department’s National Summit on Crime Reduction and Public Safety in Bethesda.

WASHINGTON — Former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein told the FBI he was “angry, ashamed, horrified and embarrassed” at the way James Comey was fired as FBI director, according to records released Monday.

Rosenstein was interviewed by FBI agents several weeks after Comey’s firing as part of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into ties between Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and Russia. An FBI summary of that interview was among roughly 300 pages of documents released as part of public records lawsuits brought by BuzzFeed News and CNN.

The records also include summaries of FBI interviews of key Trump associates, including Hope Hicks, Corey Lewandowski and Michael Cohen. They provide additional insight into Mueller’s two-year investigation, which shadowed the first part of Trump’s presidency and preceded an ongoing impeachment inquiry centered on his efforts to press Ukraine for investigations of political rival Joe Biden.

Hicks described efforts to prepare for media scrutiny of a 2016 Trump Tower meeting between Russians and the president’s oldest son. Lewandowski told investigators the president prodded him to tell then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions to make an announcement that the scope of the Russia investigation had been limited to future election interference.

And Cohen, who is now serving a three-year prison sentence for campaign finance violations and lying to Congress, told investigators he advised Trump’s personal lawyer that there was more detail about a proposed deal for a Trump Tower in Moscow than what he had shared with lawmakers.

Cohen said the lawyer, Jay Sekulow, told him that it was not necessary to elaborate or provide further details and to “stay on message” and to “not contradict Trump,” the FBI said.

Cohen also said he “vaguely recalled” telling Sekulow about a call he had “with a woman from the Kremlin,” and said Sekulow’s response was “in line with ‘so what’ and the deal never happened,” according to the FBI document.

Sekulow told The Associated Press on Monday night that Cohen’s statements were false and that Cohen never told him anything about any call with a woman from Russia.

Rosenstein, who left his Justice Department post last spring, was interviewed about his role in Comey’s May 2017 firing. Rosenstein wrote a memo harshly criticizing Comey for his handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation, a document held up by the White House as justification for his firing.

Rosenstein said he was asked during a White House meeting one day before Comey’s firing to produce a memo laying out his concerns with the FBI chief. He said he knew when he left the office that day that Comey would be fired, though he said he did not expect for his memo to be immediately released, and was surprised by the portrayal in the media that the termination was his idea instead of the White House’s, according to the FBI document. Rosenstein also said his goal in writing the memo was not to get Comey fired.

He said he expected Comey would be contacted by either Trump or Sessions so a meeting could be scheduled and he could be fired in person. Comey instead learned of his firing from television while speaking with agents in Los Angeles.

When he learned of how Comey was fired, he was “angry, ashamed, horrified and embarrassed. It was also humiliating for Comey,” an FBI agent wrote of Rosenstein’s reaction.

At one point during the interview, as Rosenstein was describing how he had “always liked Jim Comey” but disagreed with his decisions in the Clinton case, the deputy attorney general “paused a moment, appearing to have been overcome by emotion, but quickly recovered and apologized,” according to the FBI.

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(16) comments

Comment deleted.
threecents

Comey was literally fired because he refused to pledge loyalty to Trump, while investigating Russian ties to the Trump campaign. More obstruction of justice.

Russian

In America people with bad credit are often saddled with 29% interest payments so just imagine what the conditions and collateral requirements Russian oligarchs demanded from Trump.

Russian

The only Americans in US history who’s credit is so bad that they are forced to beg and borrow from Muslims and Communist are in the Trump sphere.

Russian

Like most crime bosses Trump had amassed dirt on all his high ranking administration “lieutenants” to ensure his political viability including Sessions and Rosentein which enabled him to fire investigators without consequences. The question is what did Trump have on Rosenstein and Sessions so damaging that they would abandon their oaths?

Obadiah Plainsmen

There is a column in the op-ed page about Alexander Hamilton, so lets make this Alexander Hamilton quote day:

Hamilton wrote in the Federalist Papers in 1787: “Why has government been instituted at all? Because the passions of men will not conform to the dictates of reason and justice, without constraint.”

Comment deleted.
Dwasserba

Omg I beg your pardon

Comment deleted.
richardlyons

and we thought you couldn't go an lower, yet you did. Sad Bunny.

Comment deleted.
DickD

[lol][lol] And you think Trump is great. Funny Bunny.

DickD

We all knew it was Trump that ordered Comey's firing. Now we have direct testimony, which the Republicans will deny. Protect your mobster, lying, gangster. Those of us that are not a member of the cult know the truth.

BunnyLou

Comey could be fired at any time for cause or for any other reason. He worked as a part or arm of the DOJ which in turn is a part of the Executive Branch. Who is in charge of the executive branch? Enuf said. Second, his handling of the Hillary e-mail issue was to say the least inappropriate. There is your cause, Dick.

jsklinelga

DickD

This is a prime example why people have lost respect for the media. If you just read the headline you would think President Trump fired Comey without reason and that RR did not support the firing. If you read the article you will see that RR felt the firing was justified but was upset on how it was handled.

phydeaux994

“Rosenstein said he was asked during a White House meeting one day before Comey’s firing to produce a memo laying out his concerns with the FBI chief. He said he knew when he left the office that day that Comey would be fired, though he said he did not expect for his memo to be immediately released, and was surprised by the portrayal in the media that the termination was his idea instead of the White House’s, according to the FBI document. Rosenstein also said his goal in writing the memo was not to get Comey fired.” You might want to review your reading of the first paragraph of the article jsk. These together sure do not support your contention that Rosenstein supported Comey’s firing. It’s you we’ve lost respect for, not the media.

jsklinelga

phy

You make a valid point about some of the facts.. BUT RR wasn't horrified at the firing as the headline suggested. Just the way it was handled. He did produce a memo, he did have concerns and he knew Comey was going to be fired

public-redux

The headline on your FNP must be different. Mine says that RR was horrified at "how" Comey was fired. What is the headline on your version?

Russian

In America today senior government officials who are unethical and morally compromised are usually rewarded with a promotion because they are great foot soldiers for crooked politicians. So why would a president hire the US Attorney from a place he called a rat and rodent infested mess to protect Americans? Why did comrade Sessions want a US Attorney from a crime infested liberal city to be his successor instead of a clean cut successful southern Christian? Maybe because crooked politicians are like fish they usually swim together.

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