James Comey's firing, explained in 500 words

Cheryl Sanders
May 11, 2017

US President Donald Trump has defended his dismissal of FBI Director James Comey, fighting a storm of criticism that the ouster was aimed at blunting a probe into his presidential campaign's possible collusion with Russian Federation to sway the 2016 election.

Mr Rosenstein said Mr Comey's conduct was "inappropriate" and "usurped" the then-attorney general.

Following the meeting, several Senate Democrats called for a special counsel to be appointed by a career Justice Department official-not Rosenstein, a political appointee-to take over the Russian Federation inquiry.

The revelations raise new questions about what prompted Trump's decision to fire Mr Comey. Last week, the tweeter-in-chief claimed that former Director Comey's action gave Clinton a "free pass" even though President Trump praised Comey's handling of the matter in October 2016.

Shortly after President Donald Trump's surprise dismissal of Mr. Comey on Tuesday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein began interviewing potential interim replacements. He announced weeks before the 2016 election that he'd reopened the FBI's investigation into Mrs. Clinton's use of private email as secretary of state.

The President met Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov at the White House on Wednesday, less than 24 hours after removing the man in charge of investigating alleged links between Trump presidential campaign officials and the Kremlin.

Earlier Wednesday, Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer of NY urged Attorney General Jeff Sessions and his deputy, Rosenstein, to appear before the Senate to answer questions about the circumstances surrounding Trump's action.

Her comments came as the US Senate Intelligence Committee invited Mr Comey to testify before the panel on Tuesday.

Other Democrats likened the firing to President Richard Nixon's "Saturday Night Massacre" and have also renewed calls for the appointment of a special prosecutor.

Asked about a special prosecutor on Wednesday, she said, "We don't think it's necessary".

North Dakota's Republican members of Congress, Sen. And he said that with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Senate intelligence committee already investigating Russian interference, nothing further was needed.

Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told Democrats not to get their hopes up. "The attorney general frames it to the president with a recommendation that Comey be fired". "The president's decision to remove the FBI Director only confirms the need and the urgency of such a committee". While there are grounds to criticize aspects of Rosenstein's memo, he makes reasonable and accurate judgments about the errors Comey made during that episode.

Experience with Special Prosecutors As a young Justice Department lawyer, Rosenstein was part of Kenneth Starr's Whitewater investigation into Bill and Hillary Clinton's real estate dealings, according to reports.

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