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‘I’m not going to talk about that,’ Rosenstein says of Comey letter

WASHINGTON — President Trump’s surprise firing of FBI Director James Comey threw the US Senate into a state of shock Wednesday, as most business ground to a halt and Democrats and even some Republicans pressed for answers about the sudden dismissal.
WASHINGTON — President Trump’s surprise firing of FBI Director James Comey threw the US Senate into a state of shock Wednesday, as most business ground to a halt and Democrats and even some Republicans pressed for answers about the sudden dismissal.

WASHINGTON — Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein declined to discuss the memo that he authored outlining a case to remove FBI director James Comey.

“I’m not going to talk about that,” said Rosenstein, reached on his cell phone Wednesday morning. “Are you surprised by that?”

Rosenstein, a long-time federal prosecutor, has a reputation as a straight-shooter and garnered bipartisan support from the Senate for his current position.

He submitted a three-page memo to his boss, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Tuesday that criticized Comey for his handling of the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s e-mails. The memo did not include a specific recommendation to remove Comey from office, but provided the rationale that the Trump administration used to fire him.

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“The FBI’s reputation and credibility have suffered substantial damage, and it has affected the entire Department of Justice,” Rosenstein wrote in the memo. “That is deeply troubling to many Department employees and veterans, legislators and citizens.”

He included criticism of Comey’s actions from prominent former Justice Department attorneys who’ve served Democratic and Republican administrations and added: “I agree with the near unanimous opinions for former Department officials.”

“The way the Director handled the conclusion of the e-mail investigation was wrong,” he wrote. “As a result the FBI is unlikely to regain public and congressional trust until it has a Director who understands the gravity of the mistakes and pledges never to repeat them.”


Annie Linskey can be reached at annie.linskey@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @annielinskey.