Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein arrived at an all-senators briefing Thursday afternoon where he was expected to be grilled on his role in the firing of FBI Director James Comey.
The briefing was announced on Monday — ahead of Tuesday’s explosive reports that Comey wrote memos detailing his meetings with President Donald Trump. And several senators in both parties said they expect the memos to be a major topic of the briefing.
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“That undoubtedly is going to come up,” said Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), a senior member of the Judiciary Committee. “We’re all interested in that.”
Democrats had demanded Thursday’s briefing in the wake of Comey’s firing and had originally planned to use the session to press Rosenstein to appoint a special prosecutor to oversee the FBI’s investigation into Russia’s election meddling. Rosenstein’s decision Wednesday to do exactly that is likely to take some of the heat off of him.
But Rosenstein is still expected to face tough questions over the three-page memo he wrote blasting Comey for what he described as unfair treatment of Hillary Clinton during the FBI’s investigation into her private email server. The White House pointed to that memo last week as the reason for Trump’s dismissal of Comey, but Trump undercut that argument when he told NBC News he planned to fire Comey regardless and that the FBI’s Russia probe was on his mind when he made the decision.
“I want to hear a timeline, who said what to whom about firing Comey, as well as any possible knowledge on [Rosenstein’s] part about the president discouraging Comey from pursuing the [Russia] investigation,” said Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.).